Feel Good Friday September 6, 2013
Our daughter Emily is teaching theater arts at a middle school in Texas. I saw this morning on FB that a student brought her an apple. Too cute. My little girl. A teacher. I’m so proud, and it reminds me of a true story from my school experience.
Years ago when I was in the 8th grade, in Junior High School, (that’s what they called it back then), we welcomed a new math teacher to the school system in Middletown, Ohio, and I was one of her new students.
Those who knew me back in the early 60’s understood I was a class clown. Those who know me now shouldn’t have any difficulty believing that. It was an interesting time; boys wearing horseshoe taps on their shoes, so when they walked down the hall it sounded like Gregory Hines auditioning for a part in A Chorus Line. The Beatles were happening and boys were beginning to wear their hair longer. The new math teacher didn’t embrace change and she used to take hair ribbons and pin up the boy’s hair.
Me and my big mouth were in trouble with her immediately and she moved me to a desk in the back of the room where I continued to be a constant nuisance.
I was always a fairly intelligent guy but not necessarily a good student. If I liked a teacher or the subject, I got “A’s”. If I wasn’t so crazy about the teacher or subject I tended to get by by the skin of my teeth.
By the end of the semester the lines were drawn and I was not doing well in her math class. By midterm exams, it was getting ugly. I decided I would bring her flowers. It was totally out of character but I had hopes it might help my cause.
Now, because of my rep as class clown, I told all my friends, I put sneezing powder in the flowers. Truth is… I did not. Well it seems my esteemed educator had an allergic reaction to the flowers and the rumor surfaced that I had doctored the gift.
Like it was yesterday, I can hear the voice of the dean of boys on the morning announcement. “This is Jesse Mayabb. I’d like to see the following boy in my office, immediately… Durrell House.” I knew the end was near. Entering the school office, he met me at the door and took me back to his “inner” office, where he brought out the BIG paddle and proceeded to beat my ass unmercifully. The worst part was I couldn’t admit I didn’t do it. I had a reputation to uphold, so I had to take the punishment; just grin and bear it.
It was not one of my prouder educational moments, although all these years later, the lesson remains… lying is not a good thing.
It’s been nearly 50 years since this occurred. I don’t think I ever told the teacher I was innocent or apologized for what happened. So allow me to take this moment on Feel Good Friday and say to Ms. Joyce Easter, formerly of Washington Courthouse, Ohio, 8th grade math teacher at Roosevelt Junior High School, I am sorry. Please forgive me. I was a stupid kid. There. That’s off my chest. I feel better.