Montessori High School
Chapter 2

Copyright© 2012 by Cor

Labor Day Weekend ... Traditionally, it is Summer's 'Last Gasp', the week-end when students abandon the freedom of summer for the grind of going back to school, the week-end kids suddenly remember they need a new lunch box...

("Are you sure you don't want this nice Hannah Montana one?")

("Mo ... om... ! I'll be laughed right out of school ... No, it HAS to be Justin Beiber!")

For me, Labor Day Week-end is the time when the 'week-end residents' close down their campers, their trailers and their mobile homes for the season, the week-end I can start to relax a bit, put my feet up ... well ... not quite. It's the weekend when I start thinking about doing some much needed maintenance and upgrades to my installation before the Snowbirds invade the place around the end of October and the beginning of November. However, it IS a period of calm ... No more daily trips to the BreadBasket, the Farmers' Market AND Paco's Fish Market. Chef Jacques is still as intransigent about the freshness of his ingredients as ever but his fall menu offers less choice so I can relax a bit. Hopefully, it will be quieter than last year.

Last year, we had that big to-do with the kids needing to be bussed here for swim lessons ... and then there was the fire that burnt Willow Lane Elementary to the ground ... I'm surprised that things went as well as they did but then, we nudists have always been a cooperative lot.

I had already talked with Janet Brooks last week ... We might just barely be able to add another classroom module to Barracuda Bay Elementary; Janet told me that, if anything, last month's riot had increased the number of inscriptions. More and more parents who would not want to be caught dead here at the resort seem to be willing to let their precious babykins run loose in their skins, as long as they get educated in the meanwhile.

In any case, none of the adults of Manatee Bay with school-aged kids have any choice in the matter; the State's drown-proofing program is still in full force ... and I have the only decent swimming pool. The Board will start bussing the kids in two weeks. That reminds me, I hope that Harry can order that pump valve for me ... I'd rather not have to drive all the way to the city to get one. It's much too crowded out that way and the people drive like maniacs.

"Paul... ? Paul!"

"Yes, Hon?" Rose's belly was coming along nicely ... I still couldn't get over how beautiful she looks when she's pregnant.

"I've got Roger Hollingsworth on the phone ... Apparently, he's got a new teacher for 'Cuda Beach Elementary who's hoping to rent a cabin for the school year."

"I'm coming..."

"Labor Day Week-end! The school year will be starting this Tuesday and I'm not ready! What am I going to do, Beth?"

Beth and Lisa were having a coffee on the patio at the Bare Pit, Sunny Acres' full service restaurant and bar. It was late Friday afternoon; Beth was waiting for her husband, Joe, to come pick her up, her and their son, five year old Jeremy ... Jeremy was off playing in the jungle gym, off in the distance, with some of the other day care kids who were waiting for their parents to come pick them up. Harold, Lisa's husband, had called in earlier; he would be late ... he had some clients to see at his office, downtown.

"I checked with the Montessori Society ... they have almost nothing for High School students. It's almost as if it's too much for them. They have all these pious phrases about letting kids of different ages rub shoulders together, giving the kids a free rein for their curiosity but there's nothing concrete. When Maria Montessori died, she had every intention of preparing a school program for teens but she didn't get to it in time and nobody, either in Europe or here in the States has taken up the mantle to complete her work ... It's frustrating as all Hell!"

She waved to the blonde girl behind the counter. "Mandy, may I have another coffee, please?"

"Do you have any ideas," asked Beth?

"Well ... Natasha seems to have a bent for biology. I used to enjoy that when I was in high school so I can give her a hand but Paul and Greg are still weak in geometry, while Jimmy still has some difficulty with his verb tenses. I can guide Jimmy with his grammar but geometry is beyond me; I couldn't recognize a straight line if I tripped over it. But all that is secondary ... At the rate they're progressing, if I had the stuff I need, they'd be teaching ME within six months. The way things stand now ... in six months, they'll be bored out of their skulls."

A car drove into the parking lot. "There's Venera ... I guess she's here for the week-end," said Beth. "Sometimes I regret not being able to move here, the way you, Cathy and Joy did."

After Venera had left her clothes in the Clubhouse change room, Lisa waved her over.

"Hi ... I'm glad to see you. Can I buy you a drink?"

"Great idea ... Mandy, a gin and ginger ale, please ... easy on the ice. Thanks."

Turning back to Lisa, she asked "So ... why are you glad to see me?"

"I was just telling Beth that I'm starving for some decent pedagogical support for my high school."

"Oh ... what have you got and what do you need?"

"What I've got is nothing and what I need is everything."

"My, my ... what a greedy Gerta. I'm serious ... Think about it..."

"Well ... I've got six high school level students ... for the moment. I'm sure that Joseph will find me some more in short order. And I've got nothing to teach them, no reference material, no pedagogical support, nothing."

"Nonsense! A classroom is a log with a student at one end and a teacher at the other. You've already identified two thirds of your environment. You've got your problem all but solved. What are you missing?"

"Well ... if I reduce it to your definition, I'm missing the teacher. I can do some of it but certainly not all..."

"Who asked you to ... you've already done more than any half dozen people I could name. Just look around you ... what do you see?"

" ... I don't understand you ... I see a restaurant, a playground ... Beyond those trees, there is a series of cabins for the resort residents ... I really don't see what you're getting at."

"You've already named it ... this place is a resort, a NATURIST resort. Remember the study I showed you last year... ? Naturists are almost by definition in the upper percentile on the intelligence scale. Warner is an ex-airline pilot ... there's little about navigation he doesn't know and what is navigation... ? Geometry! Dee is a nurse ... there's biology. And didn't you hire Helen Turpin as a teacher? Well, her father is a pharmacist ... there's chemistry locked down. What else do you need?"

"Venera ... I could kiss you!"

"Easy! Girl ... I'd rather have another gin and ginger ale ... I'm getting old and my bones get cold..."

After having watched the exchange without saying a word, Beth spoke up. "There's the end of season barbecue, tomorrow evening ... Why don't you give out a public announcement saying you'd like to hold a recruitment meeting on Sunday for teaching consultants ... no, that's not the right word ... Mentors! That's it! ... A recruitment meeting for mentors on Sunday here at the clubhouse. You could explain the situation and ask whoever might be interested to give a few hours a week."

"That's a good idea, Beth," said Venera. "I could go around in the meantime and drum up support ... I know where the dirty laundry is buried."

"You're kidding, right? You're not really going to blackmail the residents into giving me a hand, are you?"

"No, no ... but I've got a good idea of who would be the best mentors ... I'll work on their better natures."

"So that's the situation, people," Lisa was saying. She was standing up in front of the group, facing them. Before her were about twenty people sitting at six bridge tables in the clubhouse community room. Most of them were older, full-time residents but there were exceptions ... Jake Calloway was there, Elena Kirkova, Natasha and Anatoly Asimov's mother, was there and so was Harold.

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