Holiday Layering

Time.  Time passes so fast and the one thing that often happens is fighting for the moments to appreciate what happens in those seconds, minutes,hours, days, week, months, and years that fly by.  The biggest crime is not being able to pull moments out of all those time periods – and to do that you simply have to fight for the right (No not Beastie Boys) to have those moments not simply be added up – but remembered.

SO much has happened in 2020, and I think as holidays approach, it is more important to celebrate the people, the moments, the bitter and the sweet, that have slipped under the radar that change us- in all respects.

In the past year – wow.  I have experienced losses that have ached my heart to its core and at times, left me feeling like an empty house, not just one room, but a whole house.  Yet, it reminded me about my life oddly enough. I do agree in our saddest moments, we have alot to reflect on who we are, and how that sadness defines us.  I see a history of the following in some of the most painful moments I experience in 2019-

My fondest memories of individuals I went to school with in a small country school in Fenelton, PA – individuals I would graduate with and the day I left that school for a city school in Butler, PA, and yet the letters they wrote me even after I had moved.

Junior High, Senior High, the Golden Tornados, and now seeing so many at the upcoming 30th, yes THIRTIETH Reunion in 2020, and grateful for the memories that led me from those crazy times in high school that led me to returning to PA for such a great moment

The amazing support system I have in PA for individuals that let me crash (Thank you Rachelle and and Joe) – an amazing family that instilled in me so many personal strengths I never knew I had – with the losses of my brother, Dad, sister, you also realize the strength you have in family whether next door or another country)

Speaking of another country – the amazing network family I had believe in me and launch me in realize what is important and what is not, the amazing ASF librarians, staff, students, and colleagues that still are with me wherever I go today.  Mexico changed me thanks to every one of the individuals that believed in crazy ideas I wanted to make happen, and they made them happen! Working with Greenwood Public Library with our school library – priceless 🙂

Butler County Community College, Edinboro University, Slippery Rock University, Mansfield University, University of Colorado at Boulder, Florida State University, interning with the 1990 Pittsburgh Pirates led by Kimberly Miller before me, all that amazing opportunity to study and never leave the theory behind and being able to apply these ideas and morph them into real life .  The conference I have had with Natalie Dorfeld, it makes me realize how lucky our group has become and successful that year we graduated from Slippery Rock University.

Working my first job as a paper route carrier (The Butler Eagle) in Butler, Cranberry Banquet Dining Hall in Cranberry, Hardees, Kirks at the Butler Mall, Friedman’s/Bilos, Butler County Community College Counseling Center, The PA Turnpike, The Pittsburgh Pirates, US Investigations in Grove City, Southern Middle School in Lusby, MD, Glade Run in Zelienople, Penn Hills High School, Coudersport, to Delaware at Seaford, then Mexico and now Woodbridge High– not one of these amazing opportunities in education have failed to support and motivate me to see new ways of challenging the hardest of days and turn it around to make it a best day.

The amazing insightful moments to volunteer and work at the PA Turnpike, Pittsburgh Pirate, Baltimore Aquarium (YO Andrea! (sorry not Adrian, but that Rocky quote came to mind!)  to name a few and the amazing relationships that have evolved from these moments and the cool things I have been able to do from the amazing people that have come into my life, the past has become a part of my present.  

Organizations I have been involved with and actually created with so many amazing peopleNRWC, PAVE, Repentino., The Riff,DASL, NCTE, Library of Congress, Festival of Words, and so much more!

I find myself finding the hardships that feel as an empty house, a full one again with the moments you need to truly stop at times and celebrate – recently having moved into a house from Felton, DE, back to Seaford, DE thanks to the WHS Cross Country Team, that event having the WHS team involved set the tone of what a house should be, maybe at times feeling empty, but always filled with individuals that make it be full, every room.  My cousins not hesitating one moment to make this happen, the XC team that did not hesitate to what seemed as moving the earth, friends from when I worked in Seaford that own the house and allowed this to happen, one reminder evolves and appears:

Everything from our past is connected, if we allow it to resurface.  There is bad, and bad days, yes, but those bad days can open to reveal even better days than you imagined if you let yourself see ahead of time, you have an obligation to hold out for the better days thanks for the time your family and friends have out into seeing you reach those better day.  The truth, I promise.

Lately, I had some amazing dips in students pushing me at times to ask, “Is education really for me?  This STRESS– it feels as it is is going to close every door in “My house” and not allow any more to open! and yet, thanks to some amazing students known as Diane, Syerra, Anjolie, Regan, Alastornia, Indya, Shania, and more, so many more – they allow me to realize that their expertise, their talents, their promise of how they can indeed change the world, it allows those same doors to reopen and realize, the days of bad are not permanent, they are temporary. 

You just need to allow yourself time, time to take all these moments in and be grateful for both the good and the bad that have the power to change you, as well as change others around you.

Layering the holidays with what counts, and less with what costs, will make holidays even more worth memorable and valuable.  I resolve to get the highlights of some amazing people that have lifted me past some pretty hard moments that have come my way in the remaining days I have to post- and I appreciate all of you allowing me to have these memories to reflect and celebrate- As I open my house on December 20th to invite friends and family to come and celebrate the holiday – I look forward to seeing more opportunities of this and the next to take more time to do the same I advise other to do 🙂   






About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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