#SOL15: Day 28, Riverside Church and Patricia Polacco

Today I’m in New York, slicing day 28 with Two Writing Teachers.

I left Los Angeles yesterday. Problems, worries, exhaustion, questions came with me on the plane. Can I do this?

I land in New York, 12:40 am, greeted with texts from my classroom.  Can I do this?

Saturday I find myself in church with Patricia Polacco.

She spoke of her struggles as a reader. How the words moved and why she felt stupid. How she firmly believes a teacher saved her because he saw her. He didn’t know what to do, but he knew someone could help her. How he found a way to help her learn to read. How when you think you can’t you must.

I don’t know exactly what he did. But when I got the aha moment I saw it.

For you (reading) is elementary, but I had just climbed Mount Everest.

My life had changed.

George Felker had pulled me out of the darkness.

None of those books would have existed if (he) hadn’t helped me.

You changed my life.

To this day when I think I can’t face something, George Felker’s hand is on the center of my back

I’m crying. I’ve been crying. On my flight here. In my bed last night.

We kids, we mean to thank you.

You give us the wind and we fly.

I believe you do it routinely.

If you feel like leaving. You need to stay.

You are offering light. Always remember that no matter how tough it gets.

Let me thank you no matter how tough it gets.

I leave Riverside Church with my teacher soul filled.  Words spoken by a master storyteller and passionate human being.

18 thoughts on “#SOL15: Day 28, Riverside Church and Patricia Polacco

  1. Sounds like an emotional evening and day. There’s a good Mexican restaurant btw 103rd and 104th streets on Amsterdam Avenue if you need a rest… Casa Mexicana

  2. Inspiring start to the day. Even though there there was stress around getting here, you will leave refreshed and ready for Monday. Glad you came!

  3. Truly inspirational! Several of my colleagues are with you at Teacher’s College, hearing Patricia Polacco – but you are giving me immediate insight! What an incredible story. Beautiful.

  4. I am following the tweets coming out of there and of the MRA conference today. Lots and lots of learning! But your post captures not the learning, but the inspiration. The hope. Thank you for sharing it. Enjoy your time there!

  5. Wow! Would love to have been there, but you placed me there crying with you and filling up my heart. Thanks.

  6. I saw that you were there from Tara’s photos on FB, Julieanne. So happy that you loved this part, & I’m sure others. I saw Patricia Polacco at a luncheon 2 years ago & as you wrote, she is marvelous.

  7. Just sitting in Riverside Church is inspiring (and I’m not even Christian!). Listening to someone speak in that inspiring place really does fill one’s bucket.

    Saw pics of you with Tara on FB. Glad it was a great day!

  8. Patricia Polacco came to our school a few years ago with the Keeping Quilt and the meteor. She was amazing and I have my own special story about her that I think I must write.

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