Friday, October 23, 2009
Visiting the Cemetery in October
I’m so excited that Ashley is going to the cemetery today for her class’s CBI (Community Based Instruction) trip. I know that sounds strange, but stick with me for a moment and I promise it will make more sense.
I’ve always had a problem with the types of CBI trips set up by Ashley’s special education teachers. The trips were usually of two types – bowling or a trip to the mall. Both those trips could have been structured in such a way that they could be educational, but usually they were not. Especially around the holidays – teachers loved the mall trips so they could get their Christmas shopping done.
However, today’s CBI was to Hollywood Cemetery, a beautiful, very historic place overlooking the James River in Richmond. Hollywood Cemetery is like a living history book. Well, I guess ‘living’ is not quite the right word, but hopefully you get my point.
In 1700, the first person was buried in Hollywood Cemetery. Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler are buried there as are a host of people who played primary roles in the shaping of Virginia and the Southern States. There is a monument to soldiers who died in the Civil War and who are buried nearby. Edgar Allen Poe’s teacher, family dynasties such as the Valentines (patrons of art and music) and the Haxalls (the world’s leading flour millers), philanthropist James Thomas, and university presidents Robert Ryland and George Modlin are all buried in Hollywood Cemetery. Scholars, iron makers, Antebellum editors, Governors and Confederate officers round out some of the historical people buried there.
When Ashley’s IEP team and I were finalizing her IEP for this school year, I remember a statement from one of the school staff when I proposed some history goals for Ashley – “We’re not doing history this year. This is a science year.” I’m not reminding anyone of that statement, but today’s CBI sure seems like a history lesson to me!
Today I am thankful that things don't always turn out as badly as you think they will.