Saturday, June 11, 2011

Move It, Lad

In celebration with thousands of seven-year-olds who just finished with first grade, we present unabashedly, nay proudly, a rerun. I am entitled to do this. It is my blog. I like the story; I hope you enjoy it. Again.

It was another beautiful fall morning, but it was a Tuesday. The small boy wore a scowl on his little face as he put on his shoes. Tying the laces carefully, he was muttering all the while, "I'm not going to school today." He went into the kitchen where Mama was just finishing the cooking of the oatmeal on the wood-burning range. The boy sat at the table with Daddy and Little Sister as Mama ladled the oats into their bowls. A dollop of cream from the top of the jar and a spoonful of sugar made the breakfast quite palatable.

"Boy," Dad said, "You need to hustle a bit. That pan under the icebox has to be emptied and you need to bring in a dozen chunks of wood before you head off to school."
"I'll take care of my chores," said the child. "But I'm not going to school today."
Dad chuckled a second, then let his face turn to a scowl, a reflection of his son's visage. "I've heard that every day since the first week you were in school. I'm a little tired of it. Now scoot."
The boy carefully removed the pan and emptied the water into the sink, knowing full well that if he spilled any he'd have to mop the floor. But all the while he was muttering, "I am not going to school."
And after the wood was inside in its box, he went out the door still vowing he was not going to school. But that, of course, was exactly where he was going.

It was just after 10:30 and Miss Gibbs had told Sandra twice to face the front of the room and to stop talking. As the child turned her head yet again toward her classmate behind her, the teacher swiftly negotiated the distance between the blackboard and the girl's seat. The children sat agape, stunned at the quickness the Old Lady displayed.
The Boy, two rows over, was stunned when the teacher grasped the girl's face between her hands and rudely faced her toward the front of the room. As Miss Gibbs swung on her heel and started back toward her desk, Sandra stuck out her tongue at the retreating back. The teacher immediately spun around, returned to the girl's place, and swung her hand smartly across the child's face, literally knocking her from her seat. There were 29 first grade children who would believe for the rest of their lives that that teacher had "eyes in the back of her head."

The rest of the day, nay, the rest of that school year, is lost in the mists of that boy's memory. Except for the coloring book incident. Perhaps another time.

Names have not been changed to protect the innocent, as there is no innocent in this tale. Except maybe Little Sister, who only got to sit at the table. In our six-year old cleverness, our chant, when not in her presence, was "Old Lady Gibbs has lost her ribs."

© 2010 David W. Lacy


Vee said...

Lucky me,I had a teacher whom I loved. I was excited to go to school each day, always happy that I would be in her classrrom for the whole day.

Anonymous said...

Today, Miss Gibbs would have been on the evening news and in jail because of the eyes in the back of her head.

My 1st grade teacher was Mrs. Fishburn. Virginia, her first name was. They don't issue first names like Virginia anymore. She thought I was the cutest little boy she'd ever seen, and therefore let me get away with whatever I wanted in her class.

Anonymous said...

A sweet story...

vanilla said...

Vee, lucky indeed. Every child should have a first teacher who is worthy of the child's love and respect.

Jim, so ultimately, was being the teacher's pet a good thing for the development of your character? ;-)

Grace, nostalgia.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Yup... teachers used to command respect... with the word "command" being important.

vanilla said...

Shark, yes, "command" had something to do with it!

Ilene said...

Frequently my high school students would ask me how I knew when they were doing something they should not be doing. I answered that a pre-requisite to being a teacher is having eyes in the back of the head. One day a student argued that this was not true. I said, "Yes it is. I will turn my back, and you do something." I did, and he did. Then I turned back around and accused him of the worst.
"How dare you flip me the bird?" I said.
Looking aghast he asked, "How did you know?"
"Eyes in the back of my head," I answered. He never doubted me again.

vanilla said...

Ilene, outstanding! I would not have the nerve. But it is easy to see why those great big hulks didn't give their little bitty teacher any trouble!