Thursday, October 28, 2010


I have that "threw a party, people came and had a great time, now comes the clean up, where's my bed" happy/tired feeling.

Yesterday after school, two kids helped me transform an ordinary bungalow into a classy, artsy space. Well as classy and artsy as simulated wood desks and plastic chairs and ugly metal blinds and acoustic tile ceiling would permit. Oh, and my budget--I went to IKEA and bought rolls of sheer panels in a tasteful array of IKEA's customary weird colors (what is up with their color palette, anyway?); a ladder, a dozen prints from American artists, four blue tablecloths and handfuls of push pins later.... they trooped, all wearing black like we agreed to. It was gratifying to hear their cries of delight, I've gotta admit.

Up the ramp came our computer delivery for those with power point projects. Our cool tech chick helped set them up.

All but one had their books ready, and all but one had their art projects ready. Pretty good, no?

Two sainted parents arrived, one with fudge, one with a chocolate fountain, both with willing hands to set up and serve as the kids brought a ton of high fat, low nutrient refreshments.

A little Segovia and bossa nova for background music helped us set up, and in ten minutes, we had our salon going!

My biggest fear was that kids would be so food-frenzied that, piranha-like, nothing would be visible but a haze of chocolate and Fritos, that the carpet would be a sticky ant trap and their books and art would be ignored. And I am thrilled to record that my biggest fear did SO NOT come true! Just the opposite! (Well, there was a chocolate haze around some--the boys, especially, were prone to strange asymmetrical moustaches, and one had what looked like brown fangs after multiple trips to the chocolate fountain.)

They sat and read. They looked at the collages and paintings. Little cries of, "You've gotta see T's project!" and "Have you seen J's pictures?" sounded for nearly two hours. A handful of parents came--one cried actual tears as she read a student's story about getting beat up at a previous school--the principal took a tour as well as the library tech and her monitors...

Now one reason I hate cooking is my doubt. I figure people are just being polite when they say they like something, because I lose my appetite when cooking and it tastes weird to me. But today was different. When adults said they enjoyed the event, I believed them. When I got an email from the cool tech chick about how it was a pleasure and she was impressed and she wants to help next time, I believed her.

When we debriefed at the end, I asked what they'd add, subtract, or change, or keep. "Keep the music and decorations!" "Keep the food!" "We need a bigger space!" "Invite more people!" There was nothing they'd subtract!

The cool thing is I hope to host another salon, and I know they will be up for it and even more into it. So I am thinking of having them come as Americans we are studying, having them produce a magazine of that era as the written piece, and as the art piece, maybe the person's photo album. They would dress in character and their conversations would be in character. What would John Brown say to Honest Abe? How would Andy Jackson get along with Abigail Adams? We already know how Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr got on...

For now, I will sleep the sleep of the bone-tired, heart-happy, anxiety-relieved hostess. The taxpayers got waaaay more than their money's worth today. We all did.

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