Saturday, May 2, 2020

A Style All Her Own

A Style All Her Own

"I was not born to be forced. I breathe after my own fashion."~Henry David Thoreau, American author and a fellow Transcendentalist 

We thought about making up tee shirts. Mine would say: I'm Jessica Harris, not Evans, and hers would say: I'm Jessica Evans, not Harris. We both had the same coordinating teacher when we student taught. We are both from Toms River. We both taught Writing Lab for several excruciating  years. We both taught in room A203. We are both, Jessica. While we never truly minded people mixing us up, I'd imagine that the confusion didn't sit well with Jessica Monroe (maiden name Evans) because she is the very definition of unique. There is no one else with Jess's style. She's a mixture of cupcakes, robots, tattoos, yarn, fine wine, and owls-with-glasses. She is an amazing teacher and coach; she is an amazing mother; she is my amazing friend. 

I have known Jessica Monroe since 2005. We shared a classroom and immediately connected. She always downplayed major life issues and at first I found that habit odd, but now I know it's because she always views all problems as surmountable and she proves that perspective right on a daily basis. I often say, whatever Jess Monroe touches turns to gold. She never does anything half way, and I think she is made of 90% caffeine and 10% water because otherwise I have no idea how she accomplishes half of what she does in a 24 hour period. 

I can provide you with her impressive resume, including her inspiring teaching methods and workshops, her thoughtful parenting, her talented crafting skills, her ridiculous baking, and the list goes on. But, since this is a thank you note and I'm not her agent, I will stick to why I'm specifically grateful to Jessica. 

The English Department (each member of which will be featured on this blog at some point) all pitched in money to try to lift my spirits. They left Jessica in charge (because she is the obvious woman for the job) and Jessica has sent me several gifts over the past few weeks. She sent me a box filled with a great-smelling candle, a mug, soap, and a bracelet. She sent me fancy tea. She is actually the person (I just found out) who ordered the "That's What She Said" cross-stitch kit. These gifts are from the entire English Department, but they clearly have Jess's style and I love them all. I can only ever hope to be so entirely myself in the way that Jess Monroe is. Each of these gifts inspires me to be true to my voice, be creative, and be as kind as she is. 

Thanks for the baked goods, Jess. Love you. 

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