Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dreams (along with another autumn photo)

I took this photo on the river last weekend. It’s the reflection of a sycamore in the water. I was looking at my calendar today and realized that I’ve only had a day and a half off in the last three weeks. I’ve been going to the gym regularly, at least four times a week, which helps me keep my sanity. Thankfully, the next two weeks look a little less stressful! We’ll see.

I found myself as an adult, back in school. Teaching the class was Mr. Briggs, my fifth grade teacher. Mark, a friend of mine from the 5th grade, was also taking the class. When the first class was over, I went up to talk to Mr. Briggs while Mark waited at the door. I was shocked that he was the splitting image of JJ, a friend of mine. I wanted to show Mr. Briggs an article that I’d published about my 5th Grade experience, but I decided it would be better to wait till the class was over. I then remembered that my parents had brought his house when we moved to the Wilmington area. I asked if he remembered me and he said he did. I told them about my parents and that they still own that house, even though they brought lot next door and over the decades, it has grown considerably. Mr. Briggs then asked me about my brother (who was a grade behind). He said he felt my brother would go into banking or finance. I told him that he was an engineer and whom he worked for and Mr. Briggs seemed happy to know that he has done well. I never knew that he knew my brother and felt slighted, like he was more interested in what my brother had done than me (but then, I was probably one of his worst students). Then he said something about the group of boys, which included me, who came to him from Mrs. Forbes 4th grade class, who had driven him crazy and out of elementary school teaching. I corrected him saying that it was Ms. Freeman, not Mrs. Forbes. He insisted he was right, even though admitting he don’t always remember everything. I told him that I’d recently found my 4th grade class photo and I knew that I was right. I then woke up. It was 5:30 A.M.

After nearly a month of not dreaming regularly, it seems that I’m back in the pattern of regular dreams. I’ve woken up the last three mornings thinking about dreams I’d had. This morning, I had three dreams. I didn’t write down the dream that woke me at 4:30 AM, but I remember this one and another brief dream that I was having right before I got up. This dream was interesting in that I haven’t seen Mr. Briggs since I was a student at Bradley Creek Elementary School. After the 7th Grade, Mark and I didn’t hang out much with each other and, if I remember correctly, he graduated from high school on the extended plan. The last I’d heard about him, which was a few decades ago, he was working as an operator at the same plant that my brother works at. Although I haven’t written an article about my 5th grade experiences, I wrote several blog posts about that traumatic year (I was in his class the spring of ’68). However, several years ago when I was writing a newspaper opinion column while out living out West, I wrote about a friend who’d died, who had survived Bataan and the Philippine campaign. As Mr. Briggs had been a survivor of the same campaign and had been a Japanese POW for three years, I tried to find him. (He quit teaching elementary school the next year, after which those of us who hung out together began bragging that although the Japanese couldn’t break him, we could!) I was unable to locate him and assume he may no longer be with us. I’m not sure what the Forbes/Freeman exchange was about—except that I’d recently been thinking about Forbes Field (which is where the Pirates played before Three Rivers Stadium).

Follow the links for my 5th grade stories: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
For my picture of Ms. Freeman’s class, click here.


  1. I want to read your school stories, but as it is nearly midnight, I have to go to bed soon. I'll be back. Did you see the reference to you in the post before the one you commented on today?

  2. I too have been dreaming a lot lately. The most recent one that I remember most vividly can't be shared. :-)

    How about those Spartans? I was torn while occasionally watching the game. I was raised to despise both teams. :-)

  3. My dreams have been the exhausting type of repetitious nature. I think I'm in need of a mental vacation from stress.

  4. I've been away and am trying to catch up. I really enjoy this series although you're soon to run out of fifth grade teachers -- unless of course you had to repeat fifth grade.


  5. I am here because of your nice comment on Scarlet's blog about my artwork. I have seen your comments for a long time and now I am feasting on your tremendous photography and writing skill. What a pleasurable discovery.

  6. I love your beautiful autumnal pictures -I scrolled down to see the rest-.

    In the past I had nightmares about my last years at the university -there was always a test i had missed or a book i hadn't bought-. But never about school. Those were happy days.

    But I prefer to daydream. ;))

  7. I haven't been dreaming much lately and when I do I can only remember bits and pieces. What is the stat on dream remembering? I think we forget over 50% within just a few minutes of waking up.

    Love the pic!

  8. This kind of made me want to email my high school english teacher. Hmm, maybe I will. I used to try and make it by the school when I would go home and see a few of them, but it's been a long time now.

  9. Very interesting dream. I used to read a lot about dream theory--took classes in it, and love the newest theory where what we remember might not be the actual dream. Though I'm convinced I remember or not my dreams that theory makes sense in the figuring out problems in your subconcious spectrum

  10. Ah, Sage, you are "everyman" or "everywoman" in my case. I STILL find my third grade year too painful to write about! As a teacher I just pray there aren't too many students I've left such a nightmarish mark on.And if I have, I hope they never write about it! HA!

  11. I hope my students have good dreams about me. I teach grade 6 to 10!

    After taking part in 24 hour readathon, I am zapped. I don't want to even dream!

  12. That picture looks like a painting! Its beautiful.

    You have such a clear recollection of your dreams. I, too, have been having some really vivid dreams lately. Last night, in fact. Its so strange because it takes you quite a bit to come back to "reality", after you've technically awakened.

  13. Kenju, I went back and found that reference, thanks, but I don't think I'll go out like "into the wild"

    Murf, the Spartans? Were they defeated by the Persians? I'm not the one that bleeds green blood

    Ed, mine are all different--I think I need a stress break too

    Sherman, nah, didn't have to repeat any grades, 5th grade would not have been a good one to repeat

    Granny Annie, thanks for stopping by and come back! You're a talented artist.

    Leni, I love to daydream, but haven't been having the time

    Kontan, the ones I remember, I write down right after waking up

    TC, I was so glad to be done with school, I didn't visit it again till my 10th graduation reunion. The second time 15 years later to see my nephew play baseball and my niece play basketball

    Pia, should I be worried with your dream training?

    Susie, some of Jr. High was too painful to write about

    Gautami, I bet your students have lovely dreams about their teachers!

    Epiphany, Thanks, I try to write my dreams down which is why I remember them.

  14. Ah, dreams! I've been having lots and lots of dreams about my old workplace. It's been six weeks since I was employed there, but I can't seem to get the place out of my head. So interesting. . . I hope I get a new job soon so I can stop dreaming about it and move on to something more fun to dream about.

  15. I love old school stories, and hearing about your dreams made me remember my 5th grade year, which was my favorite year. It's when I came out of my shell. I should blog about it.

    Btw, the photo is beautiful. The tree makes a beautiful reflection on the water.

  16. You have it worse. You have to live with someone who bleeds green.

  17. I'm with Karen - your recent fall photos have been especially spectacular. I'd love to frame a bunch and hang them in my home.

  18. Diane, let me know if you want copies... Since I shot these with a decent camera, the originals are about 4.5 megs, which would allow you to blow them up if you want larger prints.

  19. Here's my interpretation. Or more accurately, my advice.

    This is a scavenger hunt type dream. You must search for its meaning.

    First, get that picture of your 4th grade class and meditate on it for a few hours. Do any of the students stand out? As soon as one does, you must contact this person. Not by phone, but by singing telegram or candygram.

    Then go to the former location of Forbes Field and wait for further instructions.

  20. Bone, I've been at the former Forbers Field location many times--the old home place can still be seen--it's the last place Babe Ruth hit a home run and it is under glass/beneath the floor of the main library at the University of Pittsburgh (near the check out counters--or at least it was 20 years ago)