Linda and I taught at Elizabeth Seawell Elementary school for nearly 22 years together. Obviously, I have many memories of Linda. One of my fondest ones happened between 1985-1990. Linda and I got together with 4 other special needs teachers to conduct a unit on the Northwest American Indians. We estimated there were 50 students in all who came in to a large room each day for one hour. Despite the best of intentions, it became chaotic.
We thought we had a good plan, good ideas and that our students would benefit. Our teaching unit included a concept that the Northwest Indians called “potlatch”. Potlatch, we explained, was the idea that on a given person’s birthday, instead of giving presents to the birthday person, that birthday person was expected to give presents of their own goods to all assembled at their party. Needless to say, our students did not think highly of “potlatch”. After the 6 weeks’ unit was over, each of us 6 teachers vowed never to try combining big groups together like that again. However, the word “potlatch” stayed with Linda and me as a signal word for “not so good, disaster, chaos”. When we might see each other in passing at school after all of this, and if we asked “How’s it going?” either Linda or I would just say “potlatch” to the other and we knew exactly what we meant.
There will NEVER be another Linda Palladino. She was beloved by students, faculty and staff. I miss her dearly.