DEATH Comes to Life
Posted October 9, 2009on:
I asked a little neighbor girl what she plans ‘to be’ for Halloween.
She wants to be ‘The Grim Creaker’.
It reminded me of another wee one who once wished to be DEATH.
Long ago, when I taught preschool in Hawaii, I had so many adorable wee ones.
My favorite was a squirrely little guy named Vinny.
He was a sour, pickled little fella; an old soul trapped in a tiny three-year-old body.
No matter what the task or the treat, Vinny would wrinkle up his little face in utter anguish and growl-whine,
(as if we dipped him in boiling water on a regular basis)
He had to be prodded and cajoled and finally forced into participating in every exercise — even lunch.
Vinny hated everything.
I ADORED HIM.
One October morning I had ‘lanai’ duty (porch watch).
Coming up the ramp to school was a walking hooded sweatshirt.
(It could only be my buddy Vinny.)
No part of his body could be seen under his teenaged brother’s chocolate brown hoodie.
Ever Vinny, his hooded head was hanging to his chest as he moped along the walkway, dragging several inches of sleeve along the cement.
No clue how he was able to navigate; somehow he ended up in front of me, still hood-down, just waiting for me to engage him.
“Good morning, Vincent,” said I.
(At this point, I realized that today Vinny was refusing to be himself — which is common in preschool.)
Finally, he tilted back his head, and I could see part of his scrunched-up face under the hood.
I waited for it….
“I’m The Grim Creeep-er!“
“It’s ‘Reaper’, Vinny. The Grim Reaper.
You’re the Grim RRREEEAAAPPP-ER.”
Then he dropped his hood to his chest and lope-dragged his wicked little butt into the classroom and promptly prostrated himself in the middle of the circle-time rug, a mangled ‘kiddie-version’ of The Vitruvian Man.
DEATH came to life only when I offered to let him make a bumfodder-roll-and-tinfoil scythe.
After all, it was a Catholic Montessori Preschool; I was simply allowing The Grim Creeep-er to investigate, to create and to explore his chosen path for the day.
(hhmmm….let me think: medieval weaponry…or lacing Dressie Bessie’s shoes?…hhhmmmm….)
Vinny spent the rest of the day scaring the shit out of the other wee folk.
I think The Grim Creeep-er actually smiled that day.