About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Going Up?

   I teach at a relatively small school.  We have one main building and one elevator that requires a key.  You only get a key when you need the elevator because of medical reasons.

   Unfortunately, I need the elevator.  

   And this school year, the elevator hasn’t been fully functioning.  For several weeks, the elevator ran without lights.  I resorted to carrying a flashlight with me while riding the elevator each day.  Then, the lights were repaired, the elevator worked, and all was good.  

   It didn’t last.

   For a month, the elevator didn’t work at all.  I was told the problem was something electrical in nature, and the first repair-person called out wasn’t able to fix the problem.  A new work order was placed.  When we’re dealing with Los Angeles Unified School District, any school employee will tell you that repairs don’t happen in a timely, efficient manner.  Finally, I received word that the elevator was working again.  And for one afternoon, it did.

   The following morning, I got to work, stepped inside the elevator and didn’t step out again until the fire department got me out.  Being trapped in an elevator has always been one of my fears.  Initially, I panicked, yelling, hoping someone would hear me.  Most of my co-workers weren’t at work yet, and I wondered how long I would be trapped until someone found me.  For the first time in my life, I attempted to send a text message.  (I am a person who has always shunned texting, but with a weak signal, I couldn’t make or receive phone calls.  Of course, my inexperience didn’t help; I couldn’t figure out how to put spaces between words, so my co-worker/good friend and husband each received messages that read: “stuckinelevator.”)  Luckily, the emergency call box worked which allowed me to get in touch with someone who did contact my school’s office.

   I felt infinitely better once people knew I was in there.  Then there was just the small detail of getting me out.  As more teachers arrived, word of my predicament spread.  Teachers would greet me as they walked by the hallway, and for the most part, continue on with their morning business.  Minutes passed and those doors remained closed.  Thankfully, a good friend of mine had the common sense to call the fire department and ask for assistance.

   The elevator hadn’t moved since I’d been trapped inside.  The doors had simply closed and locked me in.  For forty-five to fifty minutes.

   By the time I got out, my hands were shaky and I felt sick to my stomach.  I desperately hadn’t wanted to vomit in the elevator and feared I would.  

   Ten minutes after I was rescued, I began to teach.

   Fifty minutes of quiet solitude, something I usually desperately crave, and I couldn’t even enjoy it.  I sat on my jacket, leaned my head against the wall, and hoped that I would be helped sooner, rather than later.

   Most of the time all I could think of was each moment.  Will the power go out?  Will I get sick?  What if I have to use the restroom?  What if I get an asthma attack?  The “What if’s” weren’t helping so I had to stop that train of thought.

   My emotions fluctuated - fear and panic (What’s going to happen to me?  How long can I safely stay in here?), then anger and frustration (I have so many other things I should be doing right now).  Later that night, safely home, I thought of the scene in a favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail, when Tom Hanks’s character is trapped in an elevator with three other people.  They began sharing life-altering “If I ever get out of here...” statements.  His life changed that night.  

   I keep thinking I wasted the opportunity.  Was being trapped in the elevator supposed to be a sign for something?  Was I supposed to have left the experience with a newfound sense of knowledge or wisdom about my life, or life in general?  

   I didn’t.  Instead, I’m back to walking, slowly, up the stairs each day because although the elevator has supposedly been repaired, I don't want to be the guinea pig to to test it.  

   And, I’m contemplating getting a newer cell phone.


  1. Your writing is wonderful,but I am so sorry you had to have this happen to you.That elevator should be working all the time,and considering there are some teachers that have conditions that require them to use the elevator it should be working at all times.If at any time it goes on the blink then it should be repaired right away.My heart went out to you when I learned you were stuck in the elevator.I love you and I am very proud of you.

  2. I have never experience being alone and stuck in an elevator. You Mother taught me that everything happens for a reason. I hope this is the wrost thing that ever happens to you. Your Mother and I are proud of you.

    Love, Dad

  3. Honey,
    I was once stuck in an elevator back when I was in 7th grade. It was a horrible feeling and I couldn't wait to get out. I am so sorry you had to deal with this at your work. Your writing and blog is amazing and truthful.
    I Love You!

  4. Ayy yi yiiii! Wendy! This is one of my fears too! So sorry to hear you had to go through this...and alone at that.

    We had a patient get stuck in one of our elevators about 6 months ago. I heard her calling for help and ringing the bell as I was walking by. I stoppeed, called security who in turn called the Otis Elevator people. Otis was on site but unfortunatley could not get this young lady out. We had to call the Fire Dept as well. But you know, I stayed with this young lady the entire time. We talked to each other through the elevator doors until she was out. Amongst some other conversation, I assured her that she would be fine and she WOULD get out. She later told me she was very thankful for the "company."

    I'm sorry no one did that for you. :( Then to hear that you were teaching 10 minutes later? Ummm, sub please!?!? Haha!

    On another note - FANTASTIC writing! I was excited when I remembered it was Thursday and I would probably find another entry in your blog.