I was looking through a box of stuff, I’d squirreled away in a closet. It was filled with old notebooks and loose notebook pages filled with my juvenile handwriting. At the very bottom of the box, there was this manila folder that was old and stained.
I opened it and emptied the contents on the floor. Out came memories. It contained some of my work from first and second grade. I sat there, staring at some of my old tests, drawings and homework and this overwhelming feeling of nostalgia overcame me.
Was I ever this young?
Then, as I studied the papers, something occurred to me: I didn’t have very supportive teachers.
At least, not during the important “formative” years.
For example, the drawing below is one I submitted in art class back in first grade. I thought it was rather progressive considering it was 1967 and I was just shy of my seventh birthday. But my teacher, mean old Miss Calder didn’t think so.
She was tough on her pupils and never let our naivte or youth stand in the way of her projecting her absolute rage on us.
And boy, was she angry!!! She never held back. Kind of weird too, since she didn’t have kids of her own. We thought not being encumbered by motherhood would’ve made her nicer.
Years later, I used to hear my mother refer to as being “frank”.
I thought that meant “brutally honest”.
Turns out, that’s the name she used after her her sex change operation in 1970.
And then, my tender, fragile juvenile self-esteem was further stunted by my second grade reading comprehension teacher, Mrs. Roberts.
In retrospect, she sure was a bitch!!
Then, I found an old classmate’s drawing that somehow got mixed in with my stuff. I vaguely remember Laura Lee Hobbs. Her family moved in third grade, but we were never very close friends. My rather elitist mother didn’t want me playing with her because as she put it (and all you Southerners will know what this means) her mother and father were “no account”.
In this drawing, Laura Lee paid tribute to her mother’s night job.
Our teacher, Mr. Peterson gave her an A-plus.
Gee, wonder why?
If memory serves, Laura Lee shared a desk with Junior Salzberry, whose father was a fireman. I remember thinking what were the odds that I’d have two classmates with parents that both worked with poles.
Of course, this excluded Jimmy Ray McCaskill whose father was a janitor at the Polish embassy.