Tuesday, February 10, 2009
This picture will look very familiar, but I can assure you I am not reposting the same one. This one's just a sister to the other 12 that look identical. I took this on a calm morning when the day was very young.
Speaking of young, this is a story about a former Mathews High School teacher, Mrs. Thomas, who was well known for dispensing nuggets of life lessons to her "young people" as she also juggled the responsibilities of teaching gym, health, driver's ed and any number of other subjects to some very unruly high school students. Her favorite way to begin the dispensing of her wisdom or to call the class to attention was always with the phrase, "Young People!" and usually included a well-timed, methodical shaking of her head or a dramatic rubbing of her temples or her eyes (*cough*) as she conveyed with minimal effort how much pain and distress we, the Young People, were causing her. She had her work cut out for her, I'm here to tell ya.
We have now arrived at the sixth contestant in my little story contest. I was wrong yesterday when I said we had only 3 left; we actually have 4 (3 after today's), so we ought to have the last one up by Friday and can start voting then. Because Chesapeake Bay Woman is so good with numbers, details and facts/figures, there's a very good chance that she has under- or over-estimated the number of entries left along with how many days until we can vote, but let's just use her terminology and say this: We are getting close to the end of our contest, and we have several more stories remaining. I anticipate voting will be possible in the very near future."
Thanks again to all participants, and to Contestant #6 for bringing back such fond memories of my favorite gym teacher, Mrs. Thomas.
By Contestant #6
We were lucky enough to have her for two years. It was really one year because we alternated health with gym. I’m not sure any of us could have handled her for back to back weeks. It wasn’t until after I left school, I realized she really passed on some great wisdom mingled in with the craziness. One particular piece of wisdom came in rather handy when I was exiting a limo in college. She saved me from having my own little a “Brittany moment”. Or at the time I guess it would have been more along the lines of a “Basic Instinct” moment. Only this Young Lady wears her drawers with skirts!
The first year I had Mrs. Thomas, her room over looked the parking lot. It was early in the year and still warm. We all entered the classroom and you could tell it was going to be one of those days. She was sitting at the desk, her head in her hands. We all took our seats and begin to wonder what she had seen in the parking lot. So far, we had learned that “Young Men should never giggle”, “Young Ladies should have more respect for themselves than to walk up and kiss a Young Man” and when your pencil on your eyebrows, you really should be very careful rubbing your face.
With a flip of her hand, she signaled someone to shut the door. As the door clicked shut, she slowly lifted her head, rubbing her mouth with her thumb and forefinger. A move we’d come to learn that would mean, “Young people, I’m distressed, I’ve seen something today . . . .” And so she started with a dramatic pause right there. Looking around at all of us captivated but near giggles, to afraid to look at anyone else in the room but her for fear of completely losing it.
“Young Men! Out.” And so they scampered (all elbows and knees at 14!) out the door of the classroom and promptly out the school door to listen at the window. Lucky them! They could now laugh out loud.
A few of us girls steal a look at one another as she gets up, goes to her high bar stool and places both hands on the seat staring us down. With a big sigh and another rub around her mouth she starts again, “Young Ladies! It distresses me so. I see you in the parking lot.” Pause. “You wear those skirts.” Pause. “Young Ladies, you must take more care. You simply must!”
We steal more glances at each other wondering where is this going? Another lecture about the too short cheering skirts? Personal hygiene? What?
“Young Ladies, don’t show your goodies!” Too stunned to laugh, we sit and stare at her. Huh?
“I see you in the parking lot, you do no know how to get in and out of a car without showing your goodies. And that, Young Ladies . . .” Pause and rubs her face. A larger circle and off goes the right eyebrow. This is serious.
She proceeds to show us on the stool the WRONG way to exit a car. (Thankfully, she always wore pants.) She says to us, “Young Ladies, Young Men will be looking and looking hard. They want to see your goodies.” As she stares very intently at one particular Young Lady!
Mrs T says, “Listen! Close your legs together at the knees and swing both legs out the door at the same time.” And very gracefully mimics the movement on her high bar stool. “Young Ladies, keep your goodies hidden. The Young Men try to look but they really don’t think well of Young Ladies who show the world!”
She beams a great smile at us all, making us feel a bit like we were now in on a great secret of womanhood. With a nod of her head, one of us motions for the Young Men to come back in the room.
As I slid across the leather seat of the limo almost 3 years later, with a Young Man waiting at the door, hand extended, I remembered her advice and the gracefulness of her move even on that high bar stool, 1 eyebrow and all! I turned and watched the other Young Ladies exiting and cringed. They needed a crazy Health teacher with one eyebrow and honest advice.
The next year they moved her classroom behind the school and into a trailer. I am curious if the upcoming Young Ladies got a lesson in properly getting into and out of a car.