Thursday, November 10, 2016


Just yesterday, I was telling my math class about this kid. About how, when he went to the middle school, he had a teacher who taught him a different way of adding fractions. I stole it, and as a result, I teach that to my students as a possible way to add and subtract fractions.

Of course, this got me a little off topic. I tutored Eric twice a week for I can't even remember how many years. Any time he got a problem wrong (because he would try to solve them in his head), he would have to do push-ups. Any time he got them right, I would have to do push-ups. At the end of every session, we would sit there and pump out push-ups. He would always end up on the floor laughing because he said I made a wheezing sound when I did them. (By the way, we were the only two members of an organization called Pump-A.--the Push-Up Math Problem Association; a name created by Eric. You see his smile up in the picture? When he laughed, it was a lot like that, only much squintier.)

There are many stories I could tell, but one of the better ones is when I walked in to tutor, and a bird flew into their house. We spent about the next forty-five minutes trying to catch it and get it out. The solution involved a blanket.

Anyway, during reading time this morning, I received a text that Eric had died early this morning in a car crash. He was 20.

Words fail.

I can still picture his handwriting.

There is nothing harder for a "fixer" to be in a situation like this--when the problem is impossible to fix. I know it's not about me, but it's all I have right now.


Henry said...

Always hard to lose one of your students. My thoughts are with you. Mr. Carter.
Julie Saam

Jeff said...

Thanks, Mrs. Saam. This one has hit me pretty hard. It's so surreal.