What is the Pre-Departure Lounge? For now, I will liken it to the lounge at the airport where you are sent to wait for your flight. In the case of this story, I will liken it to the ancient souls waiting in semi darkness all day long in holding pens across the planet. They are sent to these places to await the Lord’s call to begin the trek to St. Peter’s gates for admittance.

It is a dreamlike state where you wait and identify that you are in a state of waiting, for the next level of departure. Where does it take place? You wait in your mind of course. Why are you in this state? You want to make some last minute decisions? Not really, you have done all of that in black and white, but this is a place to wait in semi-comfort and analyze all that you are, have been, and are to become.

You sit and wait. No one comes to tell you anything. No one comes to give you the kindness of a wink, a pat, a kindly touch; nothing comes your way but occasionally a small swift breeze circles around to assure you and your blank stare that you are still waiting. Your stare is not blank, don’t they know? You are still there. You are telling them, but they act as if they do not hear. You have been many things to many people in your lifetime. You have created wonders on God’s green and blue earth. You have suffered humanities elations and ills. You really want someone to look into your fading eyes and say hello. How are you today? That would be enough. That would give you confidence to hope for the next passage. You were on the bestseller list with┬áReader’s Views for 10 days with your silly little New Age Novel. You re-wrote an enchanted gifted program. You had no idea you were doing it by living it, but they give you the credit. No one knows anything about you in this dank hallway as you sit head dropped nearly to your knees and drool on your thighs. Where are you anyway? Again, remember, my friend Xavier said it is the Pre Departure Lounge. He said it is where you sit and wait. Are you taking a delightful flight over the pond to see friends you have made over the years? Not at all, you wait here for the final departure of your living, breathing, thinking, and physical days on this planet. They are all gone, and if not gone, still considered gone. That is enough whining. You’ll go if you were good or if you were bad. Nothing you can do, but imagine yourself elsewhere.

Will you have an after life, you cannot say. No one who has promised to come back and let you know how it is over there, have come. You wait and are left wondering. You have had dreams of what a heavenly place will be and how it will feel. You hope to meet others, especially hoping to meet those who have preceded you.

You hear laughter. It reminds of you of the raucous family parties with children and grandchildren running, hopping, skipping, and jumping. You imagine you hear them squealing and your mind is seeing smiles forever on their faces. They are lodged deeply in the recesses of your memory mind which is still left for you to ponder, or is it? You try and remember the name of the park where four generations of your stock met, exchanged wishes, told lies, shared visions and aspirations, then tarried long after the sun went to the other side of the earth. When it was all said and done, the memory in bits and pieces remain, but where are they now? They could be on the moon for all you know, but what you do know is that here you sit in the Pre-departure lounge saving seats for them.

Dear Monica, Thank You for Tooting My Horn


I received this letter from Monica and I just have to let her toot my horn.

Every time I look back to my childhood, in one of those random reminiscent thoughts we get from time to time, I’m always reminded of my favorite teacher. And so, I was intrigued to look her up! What else is the World Wide Web good for anyway?

My 5th grade teacher at Calvert Street Elementary school in the little city of Woodland Hills, California was the best, and one of the only teachers from grade school I can ever remember clearly. Not only did she teach the normal 5th grade agenda in a fun, insightful way, she also taught me how to use and express my creativity, how to be accepting of others with Tolerance, and how earthworms help turn pencil shavings and food scraps into useful dirt. With her encouragement, and tenacity for creativity, she would assign my peers and I projects such as entering county art contests and making our own books. SERIOUSLY, she showed us how to write them, how to bind them and do everything ourselves…I even made mine into a pop up book. I also won 2nd place and a $500 savings bond in a county art contest. But, best of all, she taught me about life without me even realizing it.

Mrs. Clapkin, I was only 10 years old at the time I was in YOUR class. And now at 25, I can say whole-heartedly that I am so grateful for the experiences shared in your classroom. Because of your enthusiasm for knowledge and discovery, you shaped my perception of this world and our country in an enlightening way.

A fond memory I have is seeing my mother’s reaction to the Holocaust exhibit during a field trip to the Museum of Tolerance. Even my mother was taught something about history that day that I am sure she wouldn’t have ever known otherwise. She emigrated from Mexico when she was just 9 years old. After the field trip, she said that she had not ever seen anything like that when she was in school and that she really liked you as my teacher.

There are no words to express my appreciation for all you did for me and hopefully still do for others today. I think children in this generation would greatly benefit from more teachers like you, although I don’t believe there are any out there that can compare to you, Mrs. Clapkin. I hope you have had a blessed life and continue to do so.

Your former student,


Dear Monica,

Your letter wins all prizes. Thank you.

Please contact me with your phone or email.

I want to take you and your family out to dinner.

I forgot to tell you something.

Love and respect,

Mrs. Clapkin, but you can call me Sheila now.