Last fall my uncle sent this school photo of me, myself, and I. He had come across it when going through things and thought I might like it. Oddly, when I held it in my hands it felt like it was supposed to be there. Not that it had not been lost, no …but that it had been in the wrong place for more than a few decades and needed to come home.
The Daughters thought it was Hilarious with a capital H: “Well, it really looks like you, Mom.”
Thanks. *rolls eyes*
I always find it amazing how something like simple school portrait can unexpectedly bring back the strongest memories. Not quite as strong as a long forgotten scent in my opinion, but it’s a close second. The yellow top with lacey edges, the glasses, the “shag” haircut, my Mum’s familiar handwriting on the back, this particular classroom and where it was situated in the building, my view from my desk, and the fact that I disliked my fifth grade teacher. Not only did I not like her, I didn’t like her teaching style. She was dull, rote, and perfunctory. Rumor had it on the playground she was an ex-nun who got kicked out which — even at ten— I found implausible. In my fifth grade opinion she was just way too uptight and boring. I remember how our class could hear Mr. Conte’s class (you know, the LUCKY fifth graders with the COOL teacher) across the hall laughing and carrying on while they were learning. Our class was expected to be quiet as church mice while we were learning. If the Lucky Fifth Graders were too loud and having too much fun Miss Inez would get up, neatly cross the room, and close our door. After that all we heard was the clock on the wall going tick, tick, tick, tick, tick... Time seemed to stand still and it was one long ass day in her classroom. I remember chewing my pencils up and my head prostrate on my desk a lot.
Still, she did her job. She was a good teacher. In retrospect I did not suffer from not learning the material. Only as an adult do we see the things our squirmy fifth grade selves could not. It was my good fortune at that elementary school that I loved the six other teachers I was assigned but it’s curious how quickly, and to what detail, we remember a whole year of suffering with one.
The next year was with Mr. Ernest Ramella. He was the teacher that saw a spark and pushed my sixth grade self toward a creative vocation. He was a game changer.