November 7, 2008
“Helloooo,” I croon into the phone, my voice ending in a singing hoot because Devore’s message indicated that her final GED, Science, went well. “So, you didn’t think the test was too hard?”
“No, it was okay. I had to use the process of elimination and all, but I think it went fine.”
“So, we have to wait a month to get the results?”
“Yeah, ‘bout that.”
“That’s going to feel like a long wait,” I say.
“I know, but my birthday is next week and that makes me happy. You know I always dress up in a skirt for my birthday.”
“Omigod. That’s something I want to see. I can’t even imagine you in skirt.”
Devore laughs. “Well, you come to the center on Monday and I’ll be dressed up.”
“I’ll be there! We haven’t spoken since Tuesday,” I crow, “Not since Obama was elected president!”
Devore and I have spoken often of Barack Obama’s historic campaign. In fact, we used his speech on race in America as the basis for several lessons.
“I waited two hours to vote,” she said. “The lines were so long.”
“It must have been quite a scene.”
“Oh yeah. It was a scene, alright. Kids on their cell phones, textin’ or talkin’. The old people had their chairs; they were sittin’ there with their arms folded across their chests. We were all glad to be there. In fact, folks’d see someone they knew waitin’ in line who’d offer to let ‘em cut in. But, they’d always say no. Everyone wanted to wait. There was pride in the waitin'.” I could picture Devore on the other end of the line nodding reflectively as she said this. She repeated, “There was pride in the waitin’.”
“I can see that,” I said. “In waiting, there must have been a sense that you were giving to the cause – giving your time.”
“Yeah. That’s it. Givin’ your time. You know what? I’ve been keepin’ all kinds of Obama stuff since this campaign began. I’ll bring it in so you can see it on Monday. Oh! And you won’t believe this. When I got home after my Science GED on Thursday, there was a piece of paper stuck to my boot. I thought it was litter or somethin'. Anyway. I pulled it off and it was a sticker. It said, ‘You did it.’”
Goosebumps course up my arms. “You’re kidding.”
“No. Honest to God, Lea. It said, ‘You did it.’”
“Wow. That’s a message from the Universe!”
“I know! Of course I kept it. I’m gonna bring it in to show you. I put it right in my scrapbook, with a picture of Obama. ‘You did it.’”
And she did do it.
On November 17, Devore received her test results. She passed the GED. She is now attending Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport to pursue a career as a juvenile counselor.