Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Tuesdays at Two Writing Teachers!
Giggles echoed through the parking lot as little boys with shiny mohawks ran circles around girls with bright barrettes. Through the open doors, cheerful rhythms of corridos and cumbia drifted on the warm breeze.

"My first quince!" I scampered ahead, pulling Husband along. "Too bad Amit's wedding ran so late, or we could have been here for more of it!"

It was just before 9, and we hadn't been home since 10 a.m. From C.'s quinceañera mass to several fascinating stages of our college friend's Hindu wedding, and now back to catch part of the reception for the quince... we were running on pure adrenaline.

"Thank goodness!" As soon as we walked into the reception hall, we could tell that C. and her chambelanes (honor court boys) were getting ready to start their carefully choreographed dances. "We made it just in time!"

Relief turned to frozen apprehension as we turned to look for seats. Feeling like the new kid in an overcrowded cafeteria, I dizzily gazed out onto a vast expanse of unfamiliar Hispanic faces. Carefree kids dodged tables, chairs, and outstretched arms. Aunts, uncles, and neighbors chattered as they sipped their drinks. Where were the guidance counselor and social worker who were supposed to be here? Were those chairs open, or just waiting for someone who was in the restroom? Umm, I saw those people at mass this morning... they got there almost as early as we did! They seemed nice...

 Perdón... I started rehearsing in my head... ¿Alguien se sienta aquí? Was that even how someone would actually say it? Everyone was going to wonder what on earth we were doing there!

"Mrs. M!" Suddenly, one of my students was bounding up to us.
"Hi, D!" How nice of him to come up and say hi! He's one of my more timid kids.

"Um, do you want to sit with us?!" His grin seemed to light up the whole room.
"Thanks, D! We'd love to!" It was all I could do not to let out an audible sigh of relief as the high-school-cafeteria-feeling evaporated. We wove through tables behind him, melting into the crowd and settling into a table of students right beside the dance floor.

"Mrs. M, guess what!" M. leaned over as soon as we sat down. "Me and D. are dating now!" D. grinned sheepishly and they both chattered away as we waited for the dancing to start. "When did you and Mr. M start dating?" "How many quinces have you been to?" "Do you want something to drink?" (Even though we said we were fine, M. grabbed a bottle of water for each of us, shooting us nearly-maternal "I'm taking care of you" looks.)

Sitting back, we marveled at the graceful twirls and careful steps of C. and her chambelanes. White gloves and her purple dress swirled elegantly like echoes from another time, and I breathed in the privilege of being welcome at such a special night.


  1. Loved tagging along a bit for your very busy day! Love the line - her purple dress swirled elegantly like echoes from another time.

  2. You wove your feelings of excitement and apprehension, then relief so beautifully into this "story", Jennifer. I've been to quite a few Bar & Bat Mitzvah services, then parties, but never a quinceanera. So happy you had a good time, and were so cared for!

  3. You live such a culturally diverse life! How cool to be invited to these special events! I love that you write about them with such clarity, that puts me right there too. Thanks for sharing the experience.

  4. Wow, you are lucky indeed! And yes, you should feel special that your students love you so much that they feel comfortable sitting with you!


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