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Knatz.com / Personal / Stories / Themes / Stupid Stories /
@ K. 2005 06 18
The fourth grade started very weird for my class at Morris School. On the first day we recognized the young woman standing before us to be the wife of the gym teacher. He was young and good looking, she was younger and very cute. We all had loved her, in silence, from our distance: I’m sure I speak for the group no matter how silent we were. Her first words were of apology: she was no teacher, she had no idea what to “teach” us. That was fine with us; we didn’t want to be taught anything: if we couldn’t be home with our mothers, then sitting here looking at this cute gal, markedly younger than our mothers, was the best we could wish for.
Our heroine sang camp songs for us. We learned them at her example and sang them with her. We were in heaven.
It didn’t last. We knew it couldn’t. The Morris school produced for us a “real” teacher: one Miss Brown.
Poor Miss Brown tried very hard; but she had no personality, she wasn’t married to the athletic good looking gym teacher. Worst, Miss Brown was homely. She too was young but that wasn’t enough.
Fourth grade was a chore for the rest of the year.
Seventh grade was exciting. We no longer fit in the Morris Grade School. We were moved to the South Side High School: the Morris School’s seventh grade alone: Rockville Centre’s other grade schools kept their seventh graders that year.
But we were doubly in love. Not only did we get to go to the big high school, from whence the parades issued, where the football games were played, where our older siblings attended, with all our heroes, and heroines, and role models; but for the first time, Ever! we were assigned a male teacher: an actual man! We were flabbergasted. It had never occurred to us that a male teacher was possible. Kindergarten, grade school had been exclusively female: from teachers to principal.
For the seventh grade we would have two teachers. We would switch class rooms every hour, just like the high schoolers.
Imagine our horror when we learned that our other seventh grade teacher, complement to Mr. Bell whom we adored from the first instant, would be our woe-begone Miss Brown!
We protested. Dick Brayshaw stood as our leader. He proposed that we strike! like laborers in a union! Seventh graders!
Poor Miss Brown. She knew how we hated her.
Well, we didn’t grin, but in the end we did bear it.
OK, that’s just background, necessary to my story: brief once the background is painted in:
At some point back in the fourth grade Miss Brown, at days end, had said something to me that made me say something about my mother.
No, wait, one more word of background is necessary: my mother was young, a red head, universally thought beautiful …
Miss Brown assured me that my mother was a very lucky young woman. “Oh,” I said, not knowing how to understand her comment. “Do you think my mother is beautiful.”
Tears sprang to Miss Brown’s eyes. “Yes, Paul. Your mother is very beautiful.”
So why was Miss Brown weeping?
It was enough of a mystery that I remembered the incident. Years passed before I could solve it: Miss Brown had been paying a compliment not to my mother but to me! And I turned it into an insult of her! I wasn’t embarrassed at the time however much I should have been. Boy, have I been embarrassed since.
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