I woke up early and took my time getting ready this morning. I am at a conference in, of all places, Normal. That’s right, I ‘m in Normal, Normal Illinois. It’s about 140 miles southwest of Chicago on the road to St. Louis. I came to the same conference last year and walked away with a few ideas on how I could improve my teacher association’s website. I implemented a few and this year I’m back for more.
It is hard to believe there are really only twenty days left in my summer vacation. Monday morning before I drove to the conference, I met with my teaching partner and we organized our copies for the first part of the year – really the first twenty days of our year. Just as the last twenty days of summer are critical, so are the first twenty days of the school year. I am looking forward to getting started again, but I am enjoying summer.
To get ready for the end, I started to reflect on summer and looked back in the blog to the last days of school and the first days of summer. I re-read my summer letter to the students and I’ve been keeping up with my goals, except for the teacher reading. That’s the hardest part of summer letting go of the fun stuff and getting serious about a few projects that are important.
I am not really sure what normal is but I am here. I don’t know how Normal, Illinois got it’s name but naming a town ‘Normal’ has to have some funny side effects. Maybe, like a blog post. Fortunately, summer has been normal. It has been hot and humid like a summer should be. We’ve been to scout camp (that’s normal), to the cottage, and most of our families are healthy. Grandma is on the mend and it is great to hear her voice when I call to check in or she calls the cottage. My mom sounds like she is mending as well. The past two summers have worn on me and made the summer abnormal with my dad passing and my Paris trip last year. Normal is home, cottage, and family. With school starting soon, it’s time to get back to normal: a regular schedule, sports activities, weekend chores, and whatever is normal.
After the conference is over this afternoon, I leave Normal and head back home, and then Thursday I am driving back to the cottage for a last weekend and the canoe race. I am planning to take my time driving this afternoon, to stop, to look, and snap a few pictures. The road parallels old Route 66 and the railroad to St. Louis and is almost a straight shot through cornfields and flat prairie back home to Wheaton. The clouds rolling across the Midwest are amazing and I plan to enjoy the ride. Making the Days Count, one normal day after another.
Have you ever lived or visited a town whose name could be a joke, a giggle, or even slightly embarrassing?