Labels. Nick-names. Memories. Selective Memory. Telling it like it was. The good ole days.
We received a truly honest and heart-felt Thank-You note from a recent guest this week. It was from a teacher who had recently stayed with us at Fiddler On The Creek Cottage. She politely thanked us for our MTLC (Mermaids Tender Loving Care) and told us how wonderful her cottage had been. Then, she added a little tidbit that started me to thinking. She said she had really needed the break from teaching and her students and that the experience had helped her make a mental adjustment so that she could return to her teaching duties and make it the rest of the year.
Poor thing. She sounded as if she had had a challenging year, but you could tell she was a wonderful teacher and was really dedicated to her students. It got me thinking and ya’ll know how dangerous that is! Times sure are different. I remembered being good in school when I was a little boy. Polite. Obedient. Respectful. I can remember my mother saying, “Ya’ll act like a bunch of wild animals around here, but don’t let me catch you cutting up out in public. Ya’ll know right from wrong and you better remember your manners. If you get in trouble at school I hope the teacher wears your bottom out and just know you’ll get it twice as bad when you get home!”
My mother. I loved her dearly. The most honest, sincere, funny, loving, gracious, well-mannered and conscientious person I ever knew. She wasn’t kidding just a little bit! It was well known in all circles that if any adult saw one of her children misbehaving in church or school or anywhere in public they had her permission to tear us up and then let her know about it. When we got home we’d get double whupped for showing out in public and for casting aspersions about her ability to raise well behaved children. Would you believe she had spies everywhere and they did not hesitate to follow her instructions to the letter?
Yes, times were different when I was a boy in grade school. I had never given my teachers a rooster hair’s worth of stress. Funny thing about memories. They’re kind of like the old timey news reels. If you revisit them often enough you sometimes remember things you had all but forgotten.
You see. I had been a good boy, alright. Except in first grade. We didn’t have kindergarten when we lived, so I had never been away from my mother until I went to school. I was always so quiet and content to play right by myself at home. Who knew that a new environment would bring out the most god awful, throw down in the floor, holy terror of a demon child that ever walked the face of this earth. Yes sirree, bob-tailed, Louie! They called me The Runner!
My poor mother could not even volunteer at my school for fear that I’d see her and have a complete melt-down. If I ever caught sight of my mother or her car in the school parking lot I would go off like someone had lit the fuse to a stick of dynamite! I could have easily replaced Linda Blair in THE EXORCIST. It didn’t matter if the door was locked, the windows closed or what size the person standing between my mother and me. If I couldn’t get to her I’d head straight for her car and slide up under it. It would take 3 or 4 adults grabbing at me from all sides to pull me from under the car. I’d be growling and hissing and gnashing my teeth. I seem to now recall my teacher seeming just a tad frazzled a few times.
I don’t think my first grade teacher had a relaxing beach cottage to get away to after my “episodes”. Come to think of it she retired shortly after I left first grade. Sorry, Mrs. Williams.
Maybe if she had had a retreat to regain her sanity and to heal from the shin bruises and bite marks I gave her she’d have lasted a little longer. What do ya’ll think?
It’s about owning up to our faults and short-comings. It’s about apologizing no matter how much time has lapsed since we erred. It’s about giving yourself permission for a time-out when you need it. It’s about expressing yourself even if you know there just might be consquences. It’s how we learn.
It’s COTTAGE CHEESE!