Craigslist and Me (for Free)

I love Craigslist, especially when I am giving things away for free. This month it is historical clothing for 3rd/4th grade teachers. Last year I got scammed by a “teacher”, so this year I make them prove that they are one.

I mailed a box this morning to Redwood City, about 40 miles from my town. The teacher requested that I send nothing red. Red is a gang color.  The kids in my town don’t know how lucky they have it.

I posted a box of college logo shirts this morning. I picked them up for a buck of two and saved them until I had about twenty. Then I put them on Craigslist for a teacher of 5th graders. It’s to get kids thinking about college at an early age when they still have time to earn their way there. This is not my idea. I stole it from a young man collecting shirts last year in Napa.

Several people want the shirts, but few can prove that they are teachers. I am still waiting for proof from the 2nd person. The first person admitted that she is a parent. The 3rd and 4th people are waiting in the wings.

Why do I give stuff away to teachers? I used to be one, and I was always scrounging for stuff to make my class more enjoyable. I rode my bike all over Omaha to garage sales to buy paperback books so my kids and my study hall kids would have books to read – joke books, racy books, fun books, sports books. I learned all about Judy Blume, Paula Danziger, S.E. Hinton, and others back in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

It started in Venezuela. After student-teaching in Spanish all day, my brain was fried. I didn’t want to watch Venezuelan TV. I didn’t want to read Venezuelan newspapers. I wanted plain old English. I found the YA (young adult) section in the school library and checked them out and read them all in the three months that I was in Caracas. The names Blume. Hinton, Lowry and Danziger were new to me. I carried those names with me to my early teaching gigs.

The towns and neighborhoods surrounding San Francisco in 2019 are all over the place – hoity toity rich, down and dirty poor, everything in between — immigrants galore (Little India, Little Afghanistan, Little You Name It), white enclaves, ghettos filled with gangs, towns of business execs and their well-to-do families.

I was a business exec’s wife for a lot of years. I didn’t have the right clothes or attitude. It never quite worked for me.

But a teacher — I can always relate to that. I still teach, one on one, the ten year old who doesn’t know her multiplication tables, the book reader who wants to learn a little bit of Spanish, the fellow collaborators who want to break into publishing.

There’s a whole lot to learn out there. I read today that most older adults afraid of developing dementia do crossword puzzles to stay sharp. The article said they would be better off learning a new skill, reading up on a new subject, or learning a new language. Sounds like work, doesn’t it? Because it is.

The brain is a muscle. We have to use it or we lose it. With a little luck we can keep our brains working for years to come.

I wish I had more college logo shirts to give away. But I just have the twenty for now. Who will the lucky recipient be? It’s hard to say on a Saturday night with everyone busy with something else.

Come morning, I will have my proof and my answer. Then I can take down the post until I collect twenty more.




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