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An Ocean of Dreams

by Marian MacPherson, Assistant Principal – Oak Ridge School

While growing up in Arlington, Massachusetts, there were two things I loved above all else. The first, actually a neighborhood interest, was playing school. My well-populated street provided numbers of “students” and “teachers”, and the student-to-teacher ratio was constantly being adjusted. I am still proud of our creativity in inventing materials and supplies. (Acorns make excellent math manipulatives.)

Every summer, six neighborhood families headed to the same vacation destination, Green Harbor Beach in Marshfield. (The actual Arlington-based pronunciation has a limited emphasis on consonant sounds.) This leads to my second favorite childhood phenomenon. Surrounded by beachfront and marshes, we shared water games, built elaborate sand sculptures, cook-outs on the beach, flashlight tag, ocean exploration (including a shark sighting), and riding rented tandem bikes. Each summer I loved being near the ocean more, and appreciated living in a vibrant sea-side community.

Life in the Boston suburbs provided opportunities for exploration and enrichment. Visits to museums and theatres opened new interests. The location of my dad’s office, which backed up to Fenway Park, meant easy access to Red Sox tickets. I was able to witness some of the final Ted Williams homeruns before his retirement from the game.

When my family announced that we were moving to the next town, Belmont, I am sure I received the news with some dramatic teenage protests. I actually grew to love my new town and school. My graduation from Belmont High School was meaningful in the company of my new and wonderful friends.

More enduring friendships developed during my transition to college. I extended my family’s Boston College tradition and earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education. My educational opportunities expanded when I earned a Master of Education degree in special education from Framingham State University. Additionally I completed a Continuing Advanced Graduate Studies degree in educational leadership from Bridgewater State University.

As an adult, I have had the great fortune to see both of my childhood dreams come true. My husband of forty years shares my love of the ocean. We are thankful each day that we live in the very special town of Sandwich, where it has been a joy to our son, Stephen, and our daughter, Monica. I could have never imagined while playing school with acorn math manipulatives, how much I would treasure my career as a teacher in Sandwich. It continues to bring wonderful people of all ages into my life.

My dreams continue to come true as our family has expanded to include my amazing daughter-in-law, Billie Jo, and son-in-law, Matt. We are now experiencing the joy of being grandparents to our precious granddaughter, Madelyn, and grandson, Chase. I feel gratitude each day for the wonders that life has brought, and look forward to the new dreams ahead in the future.