Church: Nursery Leader
…previous Church assignment: Branch President
Dear musical friend Paul Dredge replaced me at the helm of the Asian Branch. He’d had extensive Asian experience—Korean, in his case—and so this calling didn’t represent nearly so wrenching a transition for him as mine had for me. No Eliot quotes cropped up in this calling interview, I presume.

Under his administration, the Church built a new chapel in Revere, where many branch members resided, and my beloved Asians now had a normal, local, Church-owned place of worship that didn’t require any yellow school buses to get them there.
Our bishop decided, kindly and mercifully, that after the stresses* of the last couple of years, it was time to take off some of the pressure (both for me and for Valerie) and let me re-establish my bona fides as a member of the One True Ward. Or at least so I infer from my next assignment: Assistant Nursery Leader in the Arlington Ward.

Aside from 28 years’ experience as a peripatetic (and too-often absentee) parent—during which, I must confess, Valerie bore the bulk of the burdens—my résumé didn’t reveal any particular qualifications, but I did develop a lot of affection for this particular group of kids of other people. Some of them may still recall that I was pretty good at taking them on my lap and reciting, bouncingly:
Trot, trot to Boston
Trot, trot to Lynn
Look out, [insert squirt’s name],
You might fall i-i-i-i-in!
A bunch of years later, one beneficiary(?) of this profound bit of pedagogical interaction, by then several inches taller than I and decked out in a Marine uniform, did indeed recall it, with what I interpreted as pleasure.
*Including the catastrophic discovery that Erik had been abusing our younger children for years. Consequently, we had become definitively estranged from him, and Valerie and I had both become emotional basket cases.
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