Our Green Chair, September 2018

Upon arriving at school last Monday, students and teachers were informed that our building had been vandalized. Badly. We sat in the cafeteria and wondered what had happened. Within an hour we’d all gone home and police were investigating. During the next few days, a professional clean-up crew and our district’s custodial staff were working on restoring our building, seemingly round-the-clock. There had been damage throughout the building–different kinds in different classrooms. We heard that three fire extinguishers had been discharged in Project Lab, covering everything with a Pompeii-like layer of, well, that powdery stuff that comes out of fire extinguishers. As things turned out, our bean bag chair; our green, faux-leather wing chair; our handmade Moroccan poufs; one of our trees; loose papers, and a many other items were too saturated by dust to be cleaned, and so were cleared out for disposal. When students returned to school on Thursday, many were sad to see these items gone. One student sat down and wrote what turned out to be “Lament for My Green Chair.” 

Greenie was the best chair I ever had and now it’s gone. I meet Greenie when I was in 8th grade at Normandy 7th & 8th Grade Center. Greenie wasn’t the best looking chair, but he was okay. He might have had a couple of rips and tears, he even had cotton coming out of him, but he was okay. Greenie was very comfortable, which is why I was always so particular about sitting in that chair. I used to hate sitting in the other chairs because they made my back hurt. I used to always want to sit in this chair but Dr. Schaenen always wanted me to sit at the table with the whole group. Still, I always managed to end up right back in the chair. One time I lost my lip gloss; it must have fallen out of my pocket. Then I realized my lip gloss was inside of Greenie. Yes, Greenie was very sneaky but he was also sweet. Greenie and I have some really good memories, like all the naps I took, which were very comfortable. When I used to come in class and see someone sitting in my chair I used to get really upset. Eventually they got up because they knew I always sat in that particular chair every day. Even when Greenie followed me to high school he was always there. He always satisfied my back up until his very last day. Greenie left us on September 26, 2018. Greenie’s loss didn't just affect me hard but other students who used to sit on him. Greenie will always be in our hearts.

Another student wrote this:

 The green chair had some of the best memories out of 2 ½ years with Dr. Schaenen. With the green chair, she would tell the birthday kid to sit in it and everyone would say all the nice things about them. With the bean bag we could read and do our work on it and everyone would run in the class and jump on it. 

Things, of course, are just things. They come and go. But memories and stories do attach to certain things, and so it was with our green chair and the big navy blue bean bag. These things helped make students feel good in school.  

Inda Schaenen