Hathaway Brown School
Instructor: Scott Parsons
from down here,
you look about the same
as you did up there,
which is not what you expected me to say, but what did you really
expect from me
when you peeled off the warning label
like a bandaid that doesn't stick anymore. go on and step on me again,
but that relief is temporary
just like the head rush
you get every time you
inhale the sweetness of
the full-bodied me.
and the damp ground may
put out my fire,
but i know you;
you'll just light another.
you'll take another piece of me
hoping for some sort of temporary pleasure, but when the ashes fall
and the base dwindles, you'll
feel the ache in your chest
that i warned you about.
i warned you.
i warmed you
for a split second,
but that fire is gone,
and the smell left on your jacket
is not the same.
the chemicals in your veins
and they're no good for you,
but i'm pretty sure you knew.
i cringe everytime the rain drops hit
my fragile skin,
and at least
you can't burn me
when it rains,
but he can,
and i warned you he could,
but you didn't listen.
so take one;
i'm just like you
we'll always be
in the back pocket of his jeans.
my dad used to tear drawers apart
and rifle through trash cans.
he would inhale until the butt
singed the tips of his fingers,
and the back of his
he was always so sure
there was a half smoked marlboro gold
in the back corner
of the dresser.
i gave you a year;
a year in a cobweb filled dresser
that lives in the back of my mind.
tucked into a fake book
with my initials engraved into the spine.
i let your words ruminate on the page
taking my love along with it.
promises of cigarettes on roofs
and 24 hour calls
were plastered to the plywood walls
of every drawer.
i don't know who let you into the creaky wood stained door
or who allowed you to budge the dresser from the back
of my mind.
but all i know is that
if I had been there to watch
as you dragged the old wooden furniture
across the uneven floors,
i would have stopped you.
i never wanted the memory
of your fogged up glasses
and three squeezes in the thick summer air.
i never wanted to care
because i care too much.
smoke still lingers in the air,
and it's hard to make out
exactly what i see.
but i know that you're there
from the 2 dollar, aquarius lighter
i bought at the speedway this morning
and the notes with you're
postmarked from two seats over
that still sit
in a box,
in a drawer.
and the phone call i let ring
until i could imagine the disappointment
ringing through your ears
from the other end of the broken line.
the regret burning in your throat.
and the burning in my throat
may sting, but the back of my throat
stung more that day.
the day your arms no longer felt safe,
and i begged you to walk away.
clawing at the locked drawer
scraping away the shiny polish,
you sit slumped in front of the oak drawers,
your knees pressed into the uneven floor.
and i had had every intention
of sending you the key, but
it broke in the lock.
i finally smoked the cigarette
i used to keep in that fake book.
the smoke still lingers in the air,
and for a second i am sure
i have a spare.
I am sure
that you left your last marlboro gold in the
back corner of that drawer.
but the key broke in the lock,
and at first even you couldn't get in.
like father like daughter,
I'll always let you win.
What's Mr. Morse Got to Do With It?
What's Mr. Morse Got to Do With It?
Picture sun streaming through glass panes, pollen fluttering through the slightly humid, September air, and a small radio in the corner of room 261 in the Adelaide Cobb Ward '51 Classic Building. The creative spirit of Mr. Morse's class radiates through the room the same way the notes of Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It?" does. In a rigorous environment like Hathaway Brown, the art studio at the end of the infamous second floor hallway is almost like the light at the end of a tunnel, but that doesn't mean that it boasts no challenges. For literally decades, Jamie Morse has strived to cultivate a haven for the next generation's brightest thinkers, makers, and dreamers. An environment where they challenge themselves to discover new possibilities, establish their voice, and finally recognize that there is not always a right or wrong. What's fascinating is Mr. Morse's reluctance to ever begin teaching in the first place.
Describing himself as a lacking student, "JMo" geared his efforts towards the skills that he did hone, drawing and painting. From the time he was in middle school, Mr. Morse can remember his own teachers pushing him to consider a career behind the easel. After attending Cleveland Institute of Art for a year, Mr. Morse transferred to Philadelphia College of Art now known as the University of the Arts. It was there that he discovered the same love of painting he is known for now. In fact, he decided to major in painting at the last minute and graduated at the top of his class. Crediting hard work as the factor that pushed him to excel, Mr. Morse took that dedication with him when graduating from college and immediately started student teaching. Almost unluckily for the students of Hathway Brown, JMo actually hated everything about it. After his student teaching experience, Mr. Morse determined that he would never teach again, thus beginning his career in business and antiques that helped to formulate many of the vivid stories he now recalls in the classroom. Although Mr. Morse gained some lively tales and precious life experience from the antique business, Mr. Morse explains that he wasn't cut out for it, and when a friend called to inform him that HB desperately needed an art teacher, he decided to give it another try.
The Arts department at Hathaway Brown has been home to published photographers, celebrated artists, and some of the most brilliant visionaries of our time, but it is clear to many that they wouldn't have made it anywhere without Mr. Morse. When speaking to him, I diverged from my laid out questions for just a moment to ask what I had always wondered. How did he create such meaningful connections with students in and out of the classroom? There are many things that make JMo unique, but what makes him special is his dedication to his students. Not only does he know his own students sometimes better than they know themselves, but he makes an effort to be there for those that he never actually had the chance to teach. A familiar face in the halls, he may be a significant figure to his mentees, to his art students, and to his history students, but even more importantly, he means something to each and every student at Hathaway Brown because they mean so very much to him. "Learning for life" is the motto that every member of the HB community wears proudly, but Mr. Morse seems to exude that attitude in his everyday energy better than anyone else does. He explained to me, "I find I learn from students as much as they learn from me." This very statement is exactly what makes Mr. Morse's teaching so successful. In his ability to be open minded to his students, he evolves with them, catering his lessons to have the impact he is so known for.
"The best teachers are the teachers who literally believe in their students. Kids know that, they pick up on that," Mr. Morse says. He strives to lead by example. He is himself everyday knowing that it will inspire his students to do the same, he is vulnerable to making mistakes knowing that it will give his students courage to do the same, and he is invested in everything they do, hoping that they will be invested in themselves. Mr. Morse's experiences with teachers who did the opposite lends evidence to the fact that he desires more than anything to be what his students need even if they don't know what that is themselves. His art students may need his advice on which paper to use or how to mix the perfect shade, but sometimes they need a teacher to be more than that. Mr. Morse continues to show that he is the center of HB's celebrated community through his true care for each girl that walks the halls.
When asked what his favorite memory at HB was, Mr. Morse relayed a memory that he actually had no recollection of at all. Rather, it was the memory of a past student who had never forgotten exactly what Mr. Morse had said. On a slightly humid day, a group of students sat working in the art studio as Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It?" played on the radio. Jamie Morse walked over, placed his hand on the dial, and turned the volume down. Looking at all of his students, he revealed a message that still rings true decades later, "Girls, I want you to know that love has everything to do with it," and it is most positively true that love has everything to do with the relationship Jamie Morse has established with the students of Hathaway Brown.