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January 25, 2016

breakfast club . . . the beginning

It felt like a scene from a movie.  How could I be cast with this bunch of weirdos, misfits, losers, thugs?  I drive a minivan.  I am a mom.  I pay my bills on time.  I bake cookies as thank yous for people.  I teach religious ed to my son's 4th grade class.  I tried to take it all in.  There was just so much.  I jotted down some notes in my trusty notebook, so I wouldn't forget.  The teacher admonished me, and I quickly tucked my constant companion back into my purse.

I had opened the letter November 14th from the State of Illinois.  My driver's license was going to be suspended on January 4th.  I broke out in a sweat.  I tried to grasp the details of the letter, but ended up having to read it several time before I understood.  I could still drive on a suspended license so long as I took an 8 hour class hosted by the National Safety Council.  A 1-800 number in bold face was printed in the center of the page.  It read, 'Call soon, classes fill up.'  My hands shook as I shared the letter with Coach.

First thing Monday morning, I called the number.  The upcoming classes were offered locally on Dec. 5th and Dec. 19th.  Tetenka's and Curly's birthdays respectively.   How could I miss my kids birthdays?  I had no plans to tell them about the four speeding tickets I had received in the last six months.  I called the number again and learned that there was a class further away in Joliet on Nov. 21st.  Done.  Well, registering was done.  Surviving the ordeal would be another story.

Right from the start it reminded me of the movie, 'The Breakfast Club.'  Different personalities, issues, walks of life, all gathered for a long day of torture class.  The forecast was terrible for that day, so I woke early to allow myself loads of extra time to get to the class in the predicted blizzard.  When I paid for the class, I was warned that if I was even one minute tardy I would be locked out of the room.  No reimbursement.  I envisioned a retake date landing on Curly's birthday.  No way was I going to miss this class.

I stuffed several panels of the sheer curtains in a large shopping bag and lugged them with me.  I intended to hang them in the living room by Thanksgiving, and I hoped to snag some time during our breaks to finish basting the ruffle headers into place.  Because the heavy, decorative curtain panels that I had recently made for the living and dining rooms had no header, I preferred eliminating the visible ruffle on the store bought sheers.  Arriving about 30 minutes early, I stitched up one panel while I stayed cozy in my car.  Eventually it was time to face the reality of the day.  I got out of the car and trekked thru the snow trying to find the best entrance to the junior college.  A black man who had been dozing in the running car next to me headed in the same direction.  I assumed he and I were about to become classmates because the campus was almost void of people.

I wondered how the class would be structured.  Would we sit and listen to lectures?  How many other people had gotten themselves into a similar situation and were now trying to dig themselves out of it during an 8 hour course?  I was anxious for the whole experience to be over, but it had yet to begin.  

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