Val posted thirteen memories from school days and invited her readers to do the same. Here are mine:
1) I missed most of elementary school due to illness, and went to school by mail until grade 7, but I remember the first day in grade one. We had to tell everyone our names. I was sitting behind Betty P. and she somehow made me feel less awkward about speaking up. She became my best friend.
2) In grade 1, my first "boyfriend" was Leroy M. I don't remember much about that relationship when we were both six, but in grade 12, we dated a bit, still more like friends. He was a handsome guy, eventually became a fireman, and has since retired. I know this because my sister runs into him now and then and says he is still handsome, and that she feels good just standing and chatting with him. I've not seen him since grade 12.
3) In grade 7, the school bully decided to pick on me. I'd been sick and was not very big (100 lbs at most) but was a tomboy and not a wimp, so punched him in the face. His eye turned black and he never bothered me again.
4) Our school principal wore a snap brim hat and had a Russian name. We all thought he was Gestapo. One day in the foyer I took a playful kick at someone. My shoe flew off and went through a tiny window in the door, just the size of a shoe. I ran to the door and when I opened it, there was the Russian police standing there holding my shoe and with an amused look on his face. I liked him after that.
5) We had a teacher who looked like Miss Grundy in the Archie comics and was the typical prudent 'school marm' so the boys liked to make her blush. One day during a science experiment she was carrying a raw egg in both hands. A boy in the front row feigned a lunge toward her. Her hands flew up and the egg dropped on the floor. Everyone laughed, not the teacher. Why were we all so mean?
6) Our family lived close to town and we had a pool table. One Irish teacher loved playing pool so was often over for a game. On St. Patrick's Day, I mixed some water paints thick enough to stick and painted his Volkswagon green. He did everything in a hurry so when the game was over, he rushed out, jumped in his car and drove home without even noticing the change in his car. I never got blamed for that one.
7) That same teacher was so absent minded. One winter he lost his false teeth. He looked everywhere and even thought he might have swallowed them -- he had an x-ray just to be sure. The next spring they showed up when a snowbank in front of the school melted. He couldn't blame anyone for that either!
8) I did well in school but good grades are not as desirable as most people think. If I didn't ace a quiz, the other kids teased me without mercy. I'm sure peer pressure to excel is worse than peer pressure to wear designer jeans. I hated being "Miss smarty" but was too vain to purposely lower my grades.
9) One teacher talked to me about career choices. He said the oddest thing that stuck with me: "You can be a generalist if you learn a little bit about a lot of things, or you can be a specialist if you learn a whole lot about one thing. You have to decide one or the other." I've had a tough time with focus because I am interested in so many things. Did that teacher see it even then?
10) In grade 9, the prettiest and most popular girl in class passed me an unsigned note. It said, "I envy you and your sister because your parents love you. They won't let you do everything you want and discipline you. Mine are not like that." When I asked who wrote the note, she said, "I did." That note has had a great deal to do with how I think about myself now.
11) In grade 12, because of my interest and activity in painting and other art, I was nominated to go on a 'culture' trip to the Stratford Festival in ON. There were 13 from our province, and about that many from other provinces. We rode one train, picking up others as we traveled east. I have a photo of our female chaperone swinging like a monkey between the berths in the sleeping car. That trip didn't do a thing for my artistic abilities, but we sure had fun and it made a good memory.
12) One of my high school teachers was a stickler for proper note-taking (not the kind that got passed back and forth between students). She showed us how to distil an entire book into a few pages of clear notes. When I became a Christian, I valued that ability in Bible study. One day, long after graduation and my own kids were grown, I was able to tell her how much I valued her teaching. She was astounded.
13) I played basketball one year. I was sick most of the year and thought it was because of the increased exercise. Maybe that is why exercise is still a dreaded discipline instead of being fun. sigh.
Thanks for this memory challenge, Val!