Jenna Power (JP) and Erik Booker (EB)
JP: What was the hardest thing that happened to you in Iraq?
EB: Being separated from my family for that long–You can’t even begin to explain that to someone who hasn’t experienced something like that.
Were you ever afraid when your dad was deployed?
JP: Oh, yeah. I was pretty young but I had nightmares about it. And when he missed my birthday, like, that just–it got me.
EB: I’m sure he knows exactly how you felt about that because for him it was a drag too.
JP: What was your job in the army?
EB: I was an intelligence officer, so that kind of helps me in the classroom because I was trained on how to read body language and understand where people are maybe not telling me the whole truth. That comes in really helpful as a teacher.
JP: Why did you decide to become a teacher?
EB: Because I wanted to continue to serve.
JP: I think it was a great decision that you chose to be a teacher.
EB: Well, I appreciate that, Jenna, thank you. But it was a transition to think about things in different ways.
I remember walking into the first school dance with flashing lights, loud music, and I found myself flashing right back. It was almost too much for me.
EB: So how did you know I was a veteran?
JP: Right away I kind of knew, I guess, because my dad does things a certain way and you had like the same mannerisms and stuff like that. You know, even the way you walked. It was really weird.
EB: (Laughs) Well it’s funny you say that though because I purposely didn’t mention it…
JP: I knew.
EB: …but you knew. That’s good.
JP: Do you have any advice for me?
EB: My advice to you is be brave. You know, let’s face it, there are some students who sit in my class and they do what I tell them to do, but you were never satisfied with that. You always said, ”But wait?” That was my favorite phrase from you, ”But wait?” I want you to ask those questions, Why is it that way? Why do we do things that way? And to me that’s what sets people apart, is that desire to know more, and you do that.
JP: Well you definitely made a difference in me, so thank you.
You look like you’re about to cry. Are you okay?
EB: I am about to cry.
EB: That’s ok. Real men cry.