"You would have never known it was the sixties to look at me," agrees the teacher.
However this teacher has hidden depths and told Iris and me, in a discussion about what the sixties were about, that she lived "briefly on a commune. How brief I won't tell you."
I suspect she regrets greatly having let this slip, because Iris is like a dog with a bone. "Can you believe she was in a commune? Why won't she tell me how long?"
"Maybe she was just there for a few hours before she freaked out and left."
"Maaaaaaybe.... Why won't she tell me?"
This isn't the first person I've met in the Bay Area who did something of a communal nature in the seventies or sixties which she doesn't care to discuss. I used to have a friend and colleague who let slip that she used to live in one of the More House sex communes but declined to discuss the matter any further. I realized my friend was embarrassed and let the matter slide, but Iris is unlikely to do that. She wrote a speech down to try to persuade her teacher to be forthcoming:
"If I wasn't nosy, I wouldn't know half of the things I know now. It's not immoral to want to know something, it's human nature.This speech got Iris nowhere with her teacher, although her mother roared with laughter at the line comparing opening a school in Africa to telling a ten year-old a secret. We'll see how what happens next, as "I lied when I said I would ask 'only one last time,'" Iris said sassily.
It is your duty, especially as a teacher, as a human being, to fulfill my knowledge to the extent possible.
Since I was not there at that commune in the sixties or seventies, it is not possible for me to know this.
Every single person on the planet deserves a right to a fair education. No matter how you approach it, from opening a school in Africa like Oprah to telling a ten year-old a secret from your hidden past, you are still making a change.
Maybe you say it is wrong to take this any further, but I strive to disagree.
I ask you only one last time, how long were you in that commune?"