Several years ago when Cheryl and I were none too thrilled with the school district’s continuing obsession with the FCAT (the standardized test lesser known as the Florida Comprehensive Test Assessment but mostly known as the ultimate waste of students’ and teachers’ time and taxpayers’ dollars) we decided to pull Sadie out of school for the week of testing. She wasn’t going to miss the tests. She’d just take them over two days during the make-up period rather than be part of the week-long follies that invariably attend regular test-taking, from idiotic pep rallies to artery-clogging feedlot breakfasts to angst-inducing testing sessions. It’s a wonder half the students don’t volunteer to be Baker Acted.
Instead Sadie and me would trip it up I-95 and spend the week in Philadelphia, Washington and New York City, paying our respects to two very important kinsd of national monuments: national monuments and parents. So we did.
It was then that I discovered why Sadie suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It all came out when we took our walk around the Vietnam Monument. She didn’t react especially when we walked along the Wall and its 57,000-some names of the dead. They were just names to her, or endless carvings in cool-looking granite in which she could see a brownish approximation of herself. But when we happened by the more recent addition of the monument to the women of Vietnam, the truth came out. She still hasn’t recovered. Nor have I.
It all explains why her teen-age years have been such an infernal reenactment of nightmares and napalm.