Last night I drove for one and one half hours from San Jose to Monterey, to say goodbye to my friend, Susan Horcajo. She gave a little going away party at the Crown and Anchor restaurant/bar and several of my writer friends were there, as well.
It was a crowded, noisy place where you couldn’t hear each other speak, but most of us know each other well enough to be happy just to be together.
I met Susan during one of our ‘critique club’ meetings at Juice and Java in Pacific Grove, where each writer shares his/her writing and then it gets critiqued. Susan is an expert in bilingual education, with strong opinions, is brilliant and an amazing self-motivated power pusher.
She is going back to Zimbabwe in Southern Africa where she did her desertation research on bilingual education and also where she left behind a library for the citizens’ children. For the past year, she has been buying books, receiving gifts of books, packing them up and shipping them to where she lived back ten years ago. And that is where she’s headed again.
“Do you think the books will still be there after all these years?” I asked.
“They better be,” she laughed, but meant it.
She doesn’t know how long she will stay there, but it sounds like a permanent place for the rest of her life. However, she does have items that will continue to be stored away in the Bay Area. So, that may motivate her to come back to the U.S. Who knows?
Susan knows, however, when my ten months will be over with Americorps and, when that happens, she has invited me to stay with her for awhile in Zimbabwe. That sounds like fun, but??? Hmmm, I leave that in the back burner of my brain.
What is amazing about Susan is that she quit high school but was self-motivated enough later, to earn a high school diploma and then a master’s degree and then a doctorate of education. She has taught in every realm of education, almost that there is including college level courses. And she helped me through my book, Too Close to the Sun, by asking me questions and helping me clear up my conflicted thoughts.
I’m certain Susan will be greeted with enthusiasm where she’s headed and many of the youngsters back then are now adults: those who have been influenced by her strong leadership.