©2015, Mirror Image Edutainment, update 8/23/2018, A Boy Alone.
Alan John Mayer
When I was twenty-four, my ability to communicate in Spanish led to me being drawn into the teaching profession. Still new to Southern California in 1981, I had just been released from my six month position at Pacific Bell, my first employment to provide me a severance package. That was after two weeks in the mail room at Gulf Oil. I was looking for ‘security’, a steady paycheck, and more than two weeks a year to myself. I had not yet graduated from the University of California Irvine, where I was working on a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities, Theater and Television Production. Without having yet completed my B.A., the California Credentialing Committee in Sacramento gave me an “Emergency” credential. Actually, they sold it to me with numerous stipulations.
But with what is going on in Washington these days, that was easy.
For the next four years, the California Credentialing Committee harassed me by mail to take classes in Spanish language, culture, history, and methodology, to fulfill what they thought I needed to be allowed to keep the credential they sold me. I accepted they are a government organization. They know no better. They are ignorant as to the abilities and needs of each of their clients, the millions of California teachers they oversee. They had me tied to the classroom, and a car payment. In my individual case, with my own individual personal history, it was the pressure they applied that bothered me more than anything. It was always impersonal, with absolutely no concern for my individual situation. For years, I had taken a double load.
Why so many Spanish speakers prefer to hold onto the language of the madmen who slaughtered their ancestors, stole from them everything, including their language, raped their wives and children, and destroyed their culture can only be attributed to ignorance. I am not assigning this label to any individual race or color, but to the entire race as One Whole. At one time, the English may have ruled over seventy percent of the globe, but they did not do so with the brutal tyranny the Spaniards imposed upon the peoples of South America.
The Spaniards were particularly fierce. They still are, but they have been recently declawed with consciousness toward cruelty to animals in their bullfighting becoming a debate. Bullfighting is not noble. The British, on the other hand, gave the world the English language, the international language of commerce. As a former English Language Development instructor at Glendale College in Glendale, California, I believe Spanish speakers, in particular Mexicans and Catholics, feel unworthy of the wealth opportunities the English language offers.
I was born as an American citizen on Noisseur French Air Force Base in Casablanca, Morocco. My skin is pink, my eyes are blue, my hair is light brown. I am an African American. I was raised, among other places, around Muslims along the North African Mediterranean rim. My father, an American Diplomat, was paid in American dollars, and paid out in French Francs, one Dollar to seven Franks. That is a more than excellent ratio. I had a fatima, (a Moroccan woman who changes Madam’s diapers) who spoke to me in Arabic. Because my mother was so occupied being a mother to her six year-old daughter, Aisha, my fatima, fed me and changed every diaper for nine months. Aisha spoke French with my parents. Among themselves, my parents spoke German and English, or, when they did not want us to understand; Italian. From birth on, my ears have been tuned to hearing multiple languages spoken in and around the crib from which I saw the world.
The next six years I grew up, I want to say was raised, but I grew up, primarily throughout my mother’s home country, Germany in the shadow of a father sixty-one years my senior, henpecked and pussy whipped by a wife who thought only of herself,
her entourage of German sisters,
the source of all,
and when it came to her husband husband, her Savior, George James Mayer, it was all about her anyhow.
There was room for one star in the Mayer household, Christina. Her daughter was permitted to shine, even encouraged, but as to a boy, — How do I get rid of him? I traveled with my parents through Spain, as a child. Later, at fifteen, I spent three weeks in Spain, — on my own. Six months after graduating from high school, I flew to Medellín, Colombia to spend a semester studying and traveling, where I learned Castellano, pure Spanish. I thank little five foot Doña Josephina for sitting down with me, and explaining to me the difference between
por y para
ser y estar
and when and when not to place a tilde, such as the ones in Doña Josephína, meaning Lady Josephine.
Upon returning to Colorado in 1975, I taught at Berlitz School of Languages private lessons in German and Spanish. Clients were charged $25 an hour, and I was paid five, nearly double minimum wage. What annoyed me about the California Credentialing Commission is having administrators sitting behind desks and conference tables, pressuring me into taking Spanish language classes when upon hiring me, the district put a label on me “A level Spanish proficiency”.
I did not like the sound of the word emergency used in conjunction with the education of your youth. They put me on an Emergency credential. What the heck does that mean? Our entire education system is in a state of emergency. Why not just call it “Special” the way our schools now label slow learners previously labled retarded?
THI EDIT 8/24/2018 STOPS HERE. COMPUTER TOO HOT TO CONTINUE.
As a teacher, I held two jobs (and subbed) just to (try to) make ends meet. It was quite a job; not a profession, sadly. One day I took on a stupid job calling single people on the phone because my “emergency” had expired, and the district would not sell me a new label until I re-enrolled in Spanish language classes. My new part time job was trying to convince young single people to join IDS, International Diversion for Singles. There I met an effervescent girl named Cindy Cottle. Cindy was a few years older than I, and we clicked immediately.
“I have bigger hopes than this” Cindy said one day, holding the receiver to her chest as she punched a number onto the phone’s faceplate. “I used to clean houses” she said “big houses, in Newport Beach, and Laguna Niguel.”
“Why’dja quit?” I asked.
“I got bored doing it alone. I needed some interaction with people. That’s why I took on this job. I made good money — fifteen dollars an hour.”
“No. I’ve still got the connections. I just don’t have the drive.”
“For fifteen dollars an hour, I’ll clean houses with you” I said.
And I did.
As the district would allow me to sub (for some reason they thought I was capable of ‘teaching’ in a substitute position, but not worthy of being placed back on contract), I jumped on the opportunity to let go of my fifteen dollar an hour teaching position (before taxes), teaching other peoples’ little brown babies.
I have several happy memories cleaning three or four regular clients with Cindy. We were a good team. Among my memories, Mrs. Cochran, the bored housewife who had us take down her twenty foot long drapes every two weeks to send them to the cleaners. Every week we moved all the furniture and the hardwood floors were shined. When that was clean, she sent me outside with a bottle of turpentine and a wire brush to remove the specs of tar that had fallen onto the drive.
“Mrs. Clean” we called her. Obsessive is more correct.
Cindy and I cleaned houses together for about a year. Then she met a guy who was eight years younger than she. He fell in love with her, she fell in love with him, and they married. But that is another story. One memory that has never left me all these years later, is the embroidered pillow I saw on the bed in another house we cleaned.
There are only two things you can give your children, it read — roots and wings.
That thought never left my mind, part of the reason why I never had children. Providing roots and wings is a tough calling to fill. Having moved sixteen times before graduating from high school, I knew little about roots. After my foster home experiences, early on, I learned something about wings.
Mine were clipped. I am still determined to set down roots (just long enough to not stay here for good) and wings, that I may fly in the right direction, up, when I am called.
The biggest mistake of my life, my one biggest regret, is after Mother’s foster care experiences, I returned to live in her love-ly Home. I worked until I could travel. Then I left, but insecure as I am, I returned several times, only being pulled away by the loving arms of Lori Ann Wollard at twenty-two.
Returning to live under the fascist control of one living with undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D., my mother) was my biggest downfall. Dad had no voice. He almost never spoke up. When he did, he was ignored, and brushed aside as an “Old fogie”. Link onto “Are you gay?” to find out how it went the day Mummy outed me.
And now to prayer.
There is one life.
This life is God.
This life is perfect.
This life is my life now, when I claim it,
I give thanks for the countless blessings in my life. I go one step further, I am grateful.
I accept, knowing my word is Divine Cause.
I release, knowing my words return to me multiplied.
And so it is.