The end of an era

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My youngest graduated last month. There was actually a normal graduation ceremony this year, not a drive-through event like the class of 2020 had to have because of COVID. It was held outside, our local high school usually does it that way, and it was mostly the same as every other graduation I’ve been to: miserably hot, crowded, and obnoxious people who won’t stop talking. But I was there to see my child graduate so I focused on that while trying not to think about how much my skin was burning in the sun. …

They won’t be here forever.

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I recently saw a friend’s post on Facebook about talking to your grandparents, learning about their pasts, their histories, their lives before they were grandparents, before it was too late to ask them.

That stuck with me. I loved my grandparents very much. I still do. They’ve been gone for years now, but it still seems like yesterday. My first grandfather crossed over in 1996, my last grandmother most recently in 2016, each loss leaving a giant hole in my heart. …

A good decision was made.

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Seven weeks ago I left my secure teaching position and started a new job adventure. I had a really good spot in a district, did fairly well at the actual teaching part, and loved the people I worked with. I had a great administrator.

The problem? A lot of things that I won’t dwell on too much, because then it becomes whinging and whining, and that’s not what I want this to be.

Working 60+ hours a week sucks, especially when you don’t get paid for that time. I know many teachers who have a…

Or, The Chameleon Effect

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Social media can be both a blessing and a curse, but for me, it’s mainly a way to keep in touch with people, especially those who I don’t get to see very often. In the past ten months of COVID, that’s almost everyone I know, so it has definitely come in handy. I learn new things all the time.

A few weeks ago, one of my cousins posted something about having accent mimicry and something clicked in my head. For many years, whenever I have been around someone with a different accent than me, I would subconsciously begin to pronounce…

How open is your mind?

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Almost everyone loves a good ghost story. Sitting around a campfire while swapping tales or under blankets with a flashlight at a sleepover, jumping at mystery noises are a rite of passage for many kids. Those memories remind us of spine-tingling stories about phantom hitchhikers, mysteriously vanishing prom dates that turn out to be actually dead, or any manner of things that go bump in the night.

When we’re young, those stories are exciting and scary in a safe way. The chances of encountering any of these things are remote but spooky enough to give some harmless, delicious shivers.


A time of reminiscing.

Author’s collection

I fell in love with horses when I was quite small, I don’t remember exactly when. One Christmas, I received two families of Breyer toy horses, Arabians, I think. Each set was composed of a mare, a stallion, and a foal and I played with them constantly. I remember admiring how very real they were as opposed to the other sparkly toy ponies that I had. I preferred the realistic Breyers, even if they didn’t have tails that I could brush. …

Life lessons in a pandemic year.

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I think almost everyone agrees that 2020 has been pretty craptastic. It didn’t start off that way, though. Back in February, (it seems so long ago now) I took a short-but-sweet solo trip to Salem, Massachusetts to do some family research. I had a great experience in January, performing in Laughing Stock, and then had some intense and awesome rehearsals for The Glass Menagerie, playing one of my bucket list roles. My family was doing well, and my husband and I were planning a summer vacation in NYC. It would have been my first…

Think before you speak.

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I’m a middle school teacher. I’ve been a teacher for more than a decade now, including student teaching and two years of subbing. I’ve taught 3rd-8th grade as a full-time teacher, but all grade levels as a sub. I prefer teaching the older kids. (Kindergarten is not my thing. At all.) I’ve tied shoes, wiped tears, cleaned up vomit, and given more hugs than I can count. I’ve learned a lot in that time, lessons that I wanted and needed to learn and also some things that I would rather not know. …

It’s the little things.

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Every November, for the past several years, I’ve posted daily about something that I’m thankful for. Up until now, with little variation, I’ve posted about my husband, my kids, my theatre, church, and other groups that I’m involved in. I’m given to writing syrupy musings about what I love about everyone and everything, and while those posts are written from the heart, I understand that it can get a little, or a lot, repetitive. And old.

I still wanted to participate this year, but decided to change it up a little. COVID has really done a…

Julie Ballantyne Brown

Future London resident. Follow Julie on Twitter: @BrownBallantyne or on FB and Instagram: @JulieBallantyneBrown

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