Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Today is Teacher Appreciation Day

I'm sure it's one of the manufactured holidays, but I have to say, as a young girl, I really loved school, loved playing school, loved going to school, loved being teacher's pet. Here's a rundown of my memories:

Junior Kindergarten (we had two years of it): Mrs. Brubaker -- remember her as very lovely and "stout" -- which is a word you don't hear anymore. When we had a fire drill, since this class was in the basement, the kids crawled out a window and Mrs. B took a different route. I can appreciate that these days!

Senior Kindergarten: Mrs. Donahue -- no memory other than she was pretty and wore these big full skirts.

First Grade: Mrs. McKercher -- was only in first grade for a few weeks, so I just remember her white hair. I also have this memory of her writing something on the blackboard and asking us what it said. If it said "Spot runs" kids were yelling out all sorts of things and I'd cock my head like WTF? I had already learned to read based, I really believe, on years of playing school with my older sister who always insisted on being the teacher since she was older so she probably taught me how to read.

Second grade: Mrs. Haber -- another kindly older woman -- there was a piano in the room and when the kiddies were supposed to quiet down, she'd play these same three notes. That's all it took for us to instantly calm down and sit with our hands folded at our desks.

Third grade: Miss Downing -- she was a bit mean, a bit strict. However, when I left school a few weeks early in June due to a medical condition -- I had this bad ear infection/ear drum problem/tonsil thing going and I had to go into the hospital, she gave me a rose and was teary about me. I remember being stunned that she liked me as she didn't really show it during the year.

Fourth grade: Mr. Mintz. I effing loved Mr. Mintz. Oh my God, I loved that man. I had no idea how short he was until I later saw him as an adult and he came up to my shoulder. He was the nicest man. He was also the first Jewish person I knew -- I'm not sure how I knew he was Jewish, but I had learned in Sunday School... well, you know what we were taught, and my mother caught me sobbing because I believed Mr. Mintz was going to go to hell. I'm embarrassed and laughing at myself, but I believed it -- poor Mr. Mintz shoveling coal into the fiery furnace as his butt got poked by a pitchfork. Luckily, my mother told me that wasn't going to happen, that Mr. Mintz would no doubt go to heaven. My three other siblings also had Mr. Mintz and equally loved him.
Fifth grade: Mrs. Byrnes: Another lovely, older woman.

Sixth grade: Mr. Prato: Um, don't remember too much about him.

Then it was on to junior high.

Oh we also had this very manly girl's gym teacher named Miss McGaw. She was probably the first gay person I knew, but of course no one even thought of that back then, despite her wearing men's clothes. She lived alone, and apparently didn't have many friends. Although maybe she had a wild social life that was private, but I doubt it. I remember one year a girl giving her a Christmas card and wanting her to open it, but Miss McGaw says she lives alone,spends Christmas alone and so she opens all her cards on Christmas. I remember being stunned by this -- she's ALONE on Christmas?? I couldn't imagine it. I have to say I liked her -- I can't explain this, but she always treated us respectfully.

So thanks to all my teachers, literal and otherwise!

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