Calling a person by his or her correct name is quite important, especially if they are students in one's class. I mastered this ability.
In one case though, and this case occurred during my bus driving days, I would never have sorted two little girls into the correct nomenclature bins, had I not had some help from one of them. At my Wallingford stop there awaited the bus seven-year old second graders, Corrina and Katrina by name. Recall that this was the Fifties, and mothers were still in the dress-my-identical-twins-alike fad. These girls were always dressed alike, same shoes, same hairdo, even to the ribbon in the hair, should they be wearing one. After watching them for a week, I realized that I was never going to be able to tell them apart, their mannerisms were so like one another.
One day while we were waiting the mandatory two minutes at the Lake City stop, I said to the girls who were seated in the front seat, "How am I ever going to tell you apart?"
"Oh," replied one of them, "you're not. No one can tell us apart except Mama and Nana. Even Daddy gets us confused sometimes." How encouraging. And how challenging.
Two days later at the same stop, one of the girls slipped over to me and whispered in my ear, "I'm Corrina, and I'll help you tell us apart."
"How do I know you are not Katrina trying to pull my leg?"
The girl got an offended look on her face and said, "I'm a Christian girl. I would never lie to you."
"Would your sister lie to me?"
"Oh, my, yes. She is a big fibber."
So I called over to the girl who was still seated and said, "You wouldn't lie to me, would you?"
Tinkling laughter, like the first notes from a music box. "I might. Or I might not. You will never know will you?"
"Your sister says you would."
"How do you know she's not lying?"
When I dropped them off that afternoon, the second girl out the door said, "Goodnight, Mr. Lacy. Remember, I'm Corrina and I will help you." The mother was standing at the door, so I ventured to ask her if this girl was, indeed, Corinna. She affirmed that she was.
When the girls boarded the bus the next morning, one of them gave me an exaggerated wink as she passed me. I noticed a mark above her right eye which looked like this: ). She had used her mother's eyebrow pencil to brand herself with what she imagined was a "C" I think. Each morning the rest of the week, when the girls boarded, the mark was visible, and I got a big wink.
Monday, though, was different. Mondays are somehow always different. I drove up to the bus stop at Wallingford, opened the door, and two little girls, primly dressed in sailor outfits, even to the hat, stepped aboard. There was a ) over the right eye of each girl.
But only one of them gave me a big ol' wink!
From our front step, July 1, 2014. 9:16 p.m. EDT