|A few of our cherubs.|
"We'll take 'em to Chatham! All we need is us and a bus."
"Okay, when you just said 'us and a bus,' I started to get choked up. That's perfect."
Five years ago we wondered if the administration would let us take our readers to see a movie. This year, we sought permission to take 58 middle-schoolers to Chatham, Massachusetts.
And they said yes.
Chatham, a quaint, touristy beach town nestled on the Atlantic coast was the setting for The Finest Hours, the real-life story of the most daring rescue in US Coast Guard history...and it is less than a two-hour drive from our middle school. Sometimes life hands you a gift and you need to smile and accept it with gratitude. We Crazy Reading Ladies knew what we had to do.
|One of the best days, period.|
|Waiting to climb the lighthouse.|
Though the trip itself was a surprise, the kids knew something big was coming. In our school "Three-Peat" is part of the kids' vernacular. Bestowed on the 8th graders who have gone All In! each year of middle school, it's a title which many strive to attain - some even set it as a personal goal from the time they enter our building and step into the midst of our crazy. Occasionally, when we walk the halls of our neighboring elementary school, kids will stop us and say things like, "I can't wait to go All In!" or "My brother is a Three-Peat! And I'm gonna be just like him!" Our kids deserved this.
The weather was picture-perfect summer-gorgeous. We visited the Atwood House and Chatham Historical Society where we became the very first to view the Rescue of the Pendelton exhibit, made especially to commemorate the events surrounding The Finest Hours.
We marveled at a three-hundred year-old house, viewed collections of seashells and pottery, and fingered shoes and dresses worn centuries ago - by obscenely tiny women.
We picnicked on the beach, where the sight of 58 teens tossing their shoes aside and racing to the ocean made tears fall silently behind our CRL sunglasses. We watched kids skip rocks, turn cartwheels, and play football. We saw them take selfies and examine crab shells and write "All In!" in the sand.
|Three-Peats hit the beach in Chatham.|
|"36500 this is station Chatham, do you read me?"|
|Don St. Pierre - keeper of CG36500 - came to meet our kids.|
We visited the US Coast Guard station and touched the walls and walked the floors where the real heroes had lived and breathed and worked. We climbed the lighthouse steps, conquering fears and feeling - if only for a moment - like we were at the top of the world.
|There she is! CG36500.|
|To our Three-Peats: we love you.|
After a year filled with so much change, it was beautiful to know that some things stay the same. We wiggled our toes in the sand and looked around. The Crazy Reading Ladies aren't going anywhere. We'll always have each other. As long as we have our kids and a good book - as long as we have us and a bus - we'll all be okay.