February 9, 2007
There is a newly hopeful atmosphere at the Marietta Johnson School these days. The new director is working out extremely well. She has demonstrated capability, patience, and a real feel for the mission and meaning of the school. Students, teachers and parents are responding by participating in school life and creating an inviting environment.
I have put in almost all I can in the way of being the President of the Board. My term as President expires in May of this year, and my term on the board itself is officially over in May 2008.
The question I get asked sometimes is, “Why?” Why do I do it -- make cookies, make pancakes, make press releases, make phone calls, make board meetings, make Christmas presentations, make other people the director, constantly make the effort that yields so little in the way of visible results?
Is it not clear to me, say the constructively carping critics, that there are other things I could do better – that the world is waiting for me to write a real book, not another Fairhope memoir? Am I missing the point that a more aggressive, dynamic person would be better at this job? Don’t I realize that my many talents could be utilized in a way that made me famous, and maybe even rich?
Well, yes. I do realize some of these things.Then why I am the one on whose shoulders the future of Marietta Johnson’s school and vision for the world rests? I wish I really knew. But what I think is this: I am here with some little tasks in front of me. The school may have just escaped the most serious danger of closing in its history – and I may even have had something to do with both the danger and the escape. What we on the board did was clear out the people who thought only of their own agendas and had no commitment to the Fairhope Organic School (see our website – I wrote most of it, by the way), and we paid for our commitment with our reputations, smeared with the brush of unfounded, irrational accusations, resulting in an unwholesome and toxic atmosphere that frightened away the many innocent victims – the children who might benefit by an “organic” education.
Now it is time to fill the school up again, this time with bright, sincere children with committed, caring parents, a capable, creative faculty; and secure its future once and for all. I’ve thought I had the handle before; I think I have it now. I do know when needed I’ve got a platter full of delicious cookies, and that always a heart full of good intentions, and that they’re waiting for me right now up there on the campus to take charge of the day, troubleshoot if there is a problem, run an errand if something is needed.
I do it all because it’s worth doing. I do it because nobody else is. I do it because I think it will change this little piece of the world for the better.
The tide is beginning to turn. It’s spring in Fairhope, where brutal winter bashes other areas of the country. We are in the midst of planning the Centennial celebrations of the school, which will include a huge all-class reunion and a pizza party for all the teenagers who are now in other schools in the area. The enrollment numbers are rising every day, and phone calls come in from people who want sign up their kids for next year.
At last I can relax and allow the school to grow at its own pace, while I follow my own advice and enjoy myself while I still can. I have a book in a New York agent’s hands, and it doesn’t have anything to do with Fairhope. And my life is taking off in all directions. I am planning to give the cat away – and before you know it I will have an announcement of major importance to make.