We will leave poor little Lorraine at Mac’s shack, up to her elbows in Mr. Clean as she attempts to clean up the mess. She has a lot of work to do, so we will leave her to it! We’ll come back to her later.
My friend Ellen told me the other night at dinner at Sake Sushi that I should change the focus of my newsletter. The on-going saga of Mac and Lorraine is entertaining, but people tell me that if you are joining relatively recently or if you miss some episodes, it’s hard to catch up. If you are one of these readers, please accept my apologies! She suggested that I relate some true stories. I have a trove of crazy true stories, so I will take her advice. Please let me know what you think!
This story just popped into my head. I will not change names to protect anyone! When I taught at Country Day, I was not known for rigid classroom management. I was not a lecturer or a person who wrote stuff on the chalkboard. Actually I never went near the blackboard because I was in terror of making that awful squealing sound with the chalk. (I am covered in goose bumps this minute just thinking about that sound!) I had the students move the desks into a rough circle and I used the imposing wood podium in front only to take attendance before I too moved into a desk to begin a discussion about literature.
Usually when I entered the classroom I had to struggle to get the students to quiet down so we could begin. On this particular hot summer day, everyone was quiet and watching me intently. I attributed the subdued mood to the heat and humidity (this was before the buildings at CD were air conditioned).) Even Dee Rankin was in his seat and not talking to everyone around him. (Dee still lives in Charlotte and is active politically, and running for Board of Education.) I walked up to the podium and took out my attendance book. I looked around and saw that everyone was there except Mitch Scharf, a known maniac.
I asked the class if anyone knew where Mitch was. They all remained strangely silent. Finally Dwayne said, “Mitch is a pain in the ass, isn’t he?”
“Well….” I began, not wanting to condemn him, but also not wanting to lie. “He can be a handful.”
“You really don’t like him, do you?” Ashley asked.
“I like him!” I protested. “He’s just very spirited!”
“I’ll bet you are relieved he’s not here today, aren’t you?” Hunter asked.
“I’m not relieved, but class will certainly be different with him absent.”
Just then something strong grabbed my ankle from within the narrow walls of the wooden podium. I screamed and jumped about three feet in the air, held down by the strong arm. The students did not rush to my aid, as I shrieked for help, but instead, they exploded in laughter. I looked into the podium and there was Mitch, folded up like a contortionist, his hand around my ankle.
It took him a while to get out of the tight space dripping sweat, and even longer to straighten up his cramped body. The whole class enjoyed the trick he had played, but no one enjoyed it more than Mitch. They were all hoping I would admit that Mitch was annoying and to announce that I didn’t like him, but he was too clever and funny to dislike. It’s strange that I often remember the trouble makers more clearly than the good kids!