Story behind Michelle
The story of Show and Tell Michelle came about while I was
working as the janitor of L.E.Shaw Elementary School in Avonport, NS.
Hi. My name is Kevin Cameron. It was some time between 1992 and 1994 and my wife and I were living just on the outskirts of Avonport in a little place called Lockhartville. Our two boys were there with us too. Our daughter came along just as we were leaving to move to New Minas.
Although the story is fiction it is based of course on some real life facts. The characters themselves were developed from people that I knew personally as well as staff members of the school. I guess you could say they are caricatures in some sense. For example there was a bus driver named Mr. Rhodes (get it, Roads!) But the actual character looks more like a good family friend of ours who was also a bus driver in another part of Nova Scotia. We really did have a cat named 'Rumbles' too!
Michelle in the same fashion is a mix of all the special children I was privileged to work for ( i.e. clean up after!). However there really was a girl named Michelle who especially stands out in my memory. She was in grade 2 or 3, I think. Often at recess or lunch bell she would make a point of pausing at my janitor’s closet door. Anyway, Michelle would always have a kind word to say. She always seemed to really appreciate you as a person. It so refreshing when you can talk to someone who doesn’t see stereotypes.
The purpose behind Show and Tell Michelle is to see through ‘Michelle’s’ eyes the people and world around us. It is to show that we really are individuals and disrobed of educational and economic stereotypes we are just as special as everyone else. We are just as capable. The bus driver may or may not be as learned as the teacher but they are just as smart and important to our community. Also, the teacher may not know how to go “fishing or camping” but it doesn’t make them any less special either.
When we have a problem we can rely on our own skills and those around us to help solve that problem.
So Michelle is all the good qualities of that child within us. Especially the kind which takes the time to see the worth and potential in all of us no matter what station of life we are in. the lesson is. 'We all have value!'
I hope you enjoy the book and find some meaning in the story.