I am experiencing what I had always dreamed of doing as a teacher: read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton to my students. I first read this book in 6th grade in Mr. Farley's English class. It was the first time I had ever really read a book that changed something in me. I met the characters and we were instantly best friends. This is a book with layers and action and unforgettable moments that began to teach me that life is bigger than me. And here I am now 25ish (cough, cough) years later reading it to my students.
It was also the first book that was turned into a movie (which was 1983, btw...!!!!!!!!!) that I became addicted to. I mean, Patrick Swayze! Matt Dillon! Rob Lowe! come on!!! They were ever so dreamy! Then, after about a year (!!) the movie came out on video and I probably rented it every other week for a year. THEN! it went to made for TV on channel 2 and I taped it. I know every line of the movie and I know exactly when to pause on Matt Dillon's smirk at the church on Jay Mountain.
One of the central themes of the book is that 'it's rough all over'. Cherry and Ponyboy agree that they saw the same sunset...this was (and is) profound to me. The idea that we can share something so magnificent as a sunset with someone totally opposite of us is, well, a miracle!
As I am reading this amazing story to my 7th graders I see Ponyboy, Sodapop, Dallas, Johnny, Two-Bit and a few Cherry Valances in my classes. I see the struggles, triumphs and the choices that they are making that could change their life. And, as I leave each day, I know that we can all see the same sunset.
There has to be some hope in that. At least, that is what I am counting on.