Get connected! Get happy! Get going!

Tomorrow is the first board meeting for the Out Twin Cities Film Festival, I am looking forward to the new and exciting things we are going to do this year.  June marked out fourth annual film festival and it was an amazing event.  We were able to bring in some amazing talent, had interesting Q&A's and most importantly helped to strengthen and unite our community. I had the honor of being the volunteer coordinator and had the opportunity to meet some amazing individuals.

Giving back to the community we live in is one of the most rewarding experiences we as humans can have, at least in my opinion.  One of my favorite quotes is: A rising tide, lifts all ships.  When we are helping our fellow man, we embrace humanity.  I think the world seems happy when we unite and work toward a common goal. 

I learned what community really means when I moved from Minneapolis, MN to a small town in Wisconsin called, Clayton.  Good old Clayton, Wisconsin.  A town so small, you really will miss it if you blink.  A town made up mostly of farmers, teachers, factory workers and such.  A town without glitz, more churches than bars and a feed mill that was still the epicenter of town.

I wasn't too jazzed about this transition.  On the first day, I came home from the school to announce to my mom that there were no black people.  None.  No where.  Nada.  No one of any color for that fact, just cream filled faces every where you turned.  This seemed strange, alien like, a place where everyone is the same.  Weird.  At this time, I should inform you that up to this point, I was raised by two very well intentioned hippies (my parents) who were constantly surrounding themselves and there for myself, with colorful, artsy, free love and anti establishment friends.  This place seemed like a trap,  I wasn't going to drink their kool aid.

Yeah right.  Fast forward to graduation, I was crying with the rest of them.  School was everything to that town.  People that didn't even have children in school anymore, still came and followed all the sports games.  The twenty three other young, hyper colored cloaked, young graduating Claytonites, all seemed like brothers and sisters to me.  The community, the ever watchful eye of your elders, like a great old auntie, constantly keeping her eye on you.  Many times in my life, I said no, to shenanigans, that could possibly give me a bad name in town.

Clayton was also where I had the opportunity to meet one of the most influential women of my childhood.  That woman was Elaine Norberg, the school secretary, the scariest woman I ever met.  Elaine was a no nonsense kind of lady.  Her hair always worn in the same styled bun/up do, that seemed magically held together by a large clip/barrette.  I would always stare at it's construction when she wasn't looking, it looked so stately, so beautiful, so put together.  Mrs. Norberg did it all.  She was the secretary, the "swish fluoride" treater, the lunch ticket teller, the ticket taker at the sporting events and the only one, in the whole school, that could get a child to shut up and pay attention, with just a look.

She had a look that you just didn't mess with.  You would have to be foolish to think you could get anything past her.  Few tried, no one succeeded.  Now, she wasn't mean, she was just stern.  Which meant when you got a smile form her it was like hitting the lottery.  The woman also had the patience of a saint. 

In our elementary school, we had this closet that all the colored paper was kept, neatly stacked and organized on tidy shelves.  We could go into the office, wait our turn and buy paper, if we should so choose.  I loved this ritual, she would take you to the closet, which was like a big pantry and walk in front of you and ask you what you wanted.  The paper was 5 cents a piece.  I would go in with my change and make very difficult choices.  Should I get three red pieces, two pink and one black or maybe two pink, one yellow, and three blues?  I would stand in there debating, sometimes asking her to put back a few and change them out for others.  Never once did she rush me.  Never once did she sigh or acted bothered.  She patiently waited and before she left to go back to the office, she always gave you a little smile, then,back to task.  Always working, always organizing, always order.  I knew that the principal may act like he was in charge, but everyone knew was really the gate keeper.

So thankful for the community I live in.  Minneapolis is a great big, little town. Thankful for the communities I've been a apart of.  They have all taught me that the world is a small place, so make sure your remembered well.  And don't run in the hall way, ever, don't even think about it, Elaine is watching, she will always be watching.

 4th Grade-- Mrs. Meyer.  I'm on the left.
 Again, there's me on the left as a cheerleader?



 Finally I'm on the middle.  Out Twin Cites Film Festival.