Saturday, June 5, 2010

The lookout elf

I recently did a series of school visits in Simsbury, Connecticut, which is one town over from Avon, which is where I went to kindergarten and first grade.

I mentioned this to some of the Simsbury library media specialists, and one, Diane, asked who my first grade teacher was. I do somehow remember her name (Mrs. Caldwell), but nothing else about her…except one thing.

There was an elf in her classroom.

And, as I remember, he moved before our eyes.

Which was because, as Mrs. Caldwell told us, he was real.

I remember him sitting on a ledge above the alcove where we hung our coats and kicked off our boots. Turning his head. Waving maybe.

Diane knew Mrs. Caldwell years ago, and knew that she had not been well recently. Fascinated by my elf recollection, Diane volunteered to ask another teacher who’d worked with Mrs. Caldwell if she remembered this. I was suddenly excited.

That teacher said the elf did indeed sound familiar, but she didn’t know specifics. She speculated that Mrs. Caldwell would’ve told us that the elf was watching us for good behavior. And Diane confirmed that Mrs. Caldwell’s room did have a high cabinet next to the coat alcove. Diane figured that the elf sat atop that, even though I remembered him on a ledge.

Because this was not a mystery I expected to be investigating, I felt satisfied with this partial confirmation. Besides, a memory like this is sugar-magic, and why spoil that with the reality?

In a somewhat eerie coincidence, Diane learned that Mrs. Caldwell had passed away only a few weeks before my time in Simsbury.

Perhaps her elf is still on duty somewhere out there, honoring her memory...inspiring new generations of children to behave…and to imagine…

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