Sunday, June 7, 2009

Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks (Part Two)

Sixth grade:  We had two teachers: Mrs. Weingart and Mrs. Langdon.    

Alas, once again I was in the older, more strict teacher's homeroom.  Mrs. Langdon was not amused by any of our actions, thoughts or deeds.  We were pretty much under lockdown in her classroom and, like all prisoners, we sought ways to relieve our stress.  One day she ventured out of the classroom and we started throwing wads of paper at each other.  It was glorious and we all knew we would have to pay for our five minutes of wanton fun but it was SO worth it. 

Two times a day, we lined up outside our classroom and then marched into the classroom across the hall, leaving the warden and going to Mrs. Weingart's classroom.  She was no pushover, and had her own tough exterior, but she let us express ourselves more fully in her classroom and brought in new ideas.  Before our class ventured to the movie theater twenty miles away to see Fiddler on the Roof, she brought in a guest who was Jewish to talk to us and and answer our questions.  This was something new for our homogeneous little group.

Mrs. Weingart was the first teacher to encourage my writing and, indeed to share it.  I had written an article about "My Home Town" which was, I thought, fairly witty.  I had observations concerning the drug store being the center of gossip, and the little card shack back of the bank being conveniently located.  (I thought when the men needed money they could go withdraw some from their own back accounts.)  I went on to comment on various other parts of the town.  Absolutely none of it was mean-spirited in any way.

Mrs. Weingart sent my essay to the local paper where it was published and , alas, it created a firestorm in the town.   People were apparently hungry to be offended and had a big feast that week.  My best friend came running into tell me she had heard talk that they were planning to run my family out of town.  I went into the drug store for a Coke, but no one would serve me.  Things were icy at the bank since some had thought I was hinting that the banker was betting on the card games.  

People wrote to the paper to protest running my essay.  Mrs. Weingart wrote in to say the piece was innocent and she had just wanted to support a budding author.  The editor of the paper wrote a piece artfully telling everyone to calm down.  Oh My.  I learned about the power of words that year.  

Sixth grade passed by slowly.  We were more than ready to hit junior high, even though it meant just moving to a group of classrooms just down the hall.  We were ready to say goodbye to elementary school and all that connoted.

And we did.

2 comments:

Roberto said...

Hey there, Bossy Betty, it's Rob from SCWriP. Now that my dissertation is finished I'm getting caught up on your writing, and – get this – doing some of my own. A return to Garrett may be in the cards at some point in the future. Feel free to check out my own blog, which I've just gotten off the ground in the last couple days:

http://fakempr.blogspot.com

It was good seeing you at the renewal meeting!

Rob

Bossy Betty said...

Rob-

Congrats on finishing your dissertation!

I will check out your blog and no doubt become a drooling sycophant as well.

I remember now I promised you a cats/moving entry. I'll get to work on that!

--BB