Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Contestant #6

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.

Young People
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.


Annie said...

Ah, these are so good...I am so enjoying them all..and becos I live in Australia, and becos CBW posts very late at night...I get to be one of the very first to read them...(that is if Grandma J isn't having a late night )!

Keep up the good work everyone...


Anonymous said...

I have two or three stories to go back and read (I've been out, sorry) but this was SO GOOD! I'm gonna sign in as ANONYMOUS because I really don't want any connection to what I'm about to write, but y'all know me as the weird chick from California . . .

I had a high school teacher who used to throw her leg up on a stool when she taught, in her above-the-knee skirts and great legs. It was the feeling of most of the students that she turned to face the best-looking guys when she lectured. Since I was neither the best-looking nor a guy, I couldn't be sure what they saw. But I think she could have used a friendly chat with Mrs. Thomas.

: )

Unknown said...

Back when I was in school we weren't allowed to wear anything that could possibly expose our goodies unless we stood on our head and swung our legs around.

That Annie, always trying to take "cuts" in the comment section! :)

Bayman said...

Back when we rode dinosaurs to school and wrote on stone tablets, I had Mrs. Thomas for home room in that little classroom by the parking lot. FOUR YEARS IN A ROW. I am sure there are rules preventing this from happening today. Not that I didn't like Mrs. Thomas, but four years is cruel and unusual. I have blocked most of it out, or maybe it was just so long ago it has faded, along with math and science.

Ann Marie said...

today. we. will. be. discussing. SeC!

As much as she discussed it you would think she could have at least pronounced it!

Thank you dear unknown person for sending me back to high school days of teachers with irrelevant pauses!!!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

I'm home from work today with a sick daughter (she'll be fine), so I have the unusual privilege of being able to get on here earlier than NIGHTTIME on a Tuesday...

Annie - Glad you are enjoying these, I know I sure am. I hope everyone is safe in your neck of the woods and the fires have steered clear of your friends/family.

Anonymous - You're not weird, or rather if you are you're in very good company here. Mrs. T. would have been happy to set your Young Lady straight.

GJ - I had to wear shorts under my dress when I went to Day School in Gloucester, but in Mathews they didn't seem to care too much (at the time). By the time I got to high school, though, I would just as soon wear a clown suit as a dress or a skirt, especially to school...hated them, and rarely wear them to this day unless forced to.

Bayman - I had her all 4 years, too, in that same classroom. Was Big Mamma one of the dinosaur keepers back in your day?

Ann Marie - Good job for remember her pronunciation of that particular topic, I'd completely forgotten about the sec education.

Happy Tuesday, all.

Mental P Mama said...

God love her. We need more of Mrs. Thomases now. Wonder what she'd think of all the goodies the boys can find on FaceBook....?

Icey said...

I am having flashbacks of Miss Givens and Miss Snyder, our gym teachers and also the horrible gym suits we were required to wear. Don't know if you had the pleasure in Mathews, but ours were a one piece thing with a zipper in front. Light blue and white striped sleeveless top attached to light blue hot pants -- straight out of roller derby. Also having a long torso, the thing was always jammed all the way up my crack making it that much more attractive. Just the memory is enough to make me get up and adjust my underwear Hope CBD feels better - if she is bored have her call Christina, also home with some sort of malaise.

BOSSY said...

Bossy is with Bayman. The dinosaurs and stone tablets make it hard to remember the stories. Bossy can't remember yesterday's lunch.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

MPM - Mrs. T. would be horrified, and nevermind what else there is besides Facebook..

Icey - We had those same gym uniforms, but I think we got rid of them by high school. That whole wedgie thing was very, very troublesome indeed. I would, however, be THRILLED to wear them if only I could get on a roller derby team. Somebody out there PLEASE RECRUIT ME FOR ROLLER DERBY YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.

Bossy - You're the best.

Anonymous said...

I know quite a few "Young Ladies" whoe could use the "Goodies Talk"!! Perhaps I will morph into the one-eyebrowed-witch, and pass that knowledge along....Bwahahaha!

Anonymous said...

Nasty gym outfits that thankfully were gone the year before I had to possibly wear them.

Big Mama used to stop in front of my house and we'd eat strawberries while she caught up on the latest with my Mom.

4 years of Mrs. Thomas? what did you do wrong? Although I think she's a character for sure!

CBW, I'm loving your blog! making me a bit homesick but also bringing back lots of happy memories. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

My good friend, K*** A***, (whom I met in Mrs. Thomas's health class about a hundred years after her daddy and my daddy were best friends at MHS) once told Mrs. Thomas that she only had one eyebrow.....after a long, scary, dramatic pause, Mrs. Thomas replied, "which one is gone, young person?"
By this time we were all sitting on the edge of our seats waiting to see what happened next, and "K*** politely replied, "The left one, Mrs. Thomas."

And she rubbed the right one off.


mmm said...

As a contest story this one seems to have legs...

By the way, is Mrs. Thomas the one who used to say, "Boys, boys, boys".

Ann Marie said...

OH dear.. AMN.. your class was MUCH better than ours.. we would have never waited we would have been in the floor laughing ..

Anonymous said...

OMG! I'm still laughing so hard I'm crying. THAT is pure Mathews County. Of course, we at Gloucester High had a Health teacher who fought in Vietnam AND played professional football. If you don't think we got some life experience out of that, you're crazy!
On a separate note, or maybe right in there with the Mrs Thomas agenda, my verification word is gyntima. I think it requires antibiotics.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

BHE - I know several myself who could usea good talkin' to. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone showing their goodies these days....(No cats were harmed in the writing of that last statement and I do not advocate swinging dead cats, it's just something I say for reasons that are unclear to me.)

Phyl - Can you imagine a bus driver stopping long enough to talk to someone now? There'd be people honking and hollering, and I guarantee you there'd be no strawberry eating. Glad to help you down Memory Lane, it's really everyone else's contribution that makes it entertaining.

AMN - OMG that is downright hilarious. Hilarious.

MMM - I thought that was Mr. Richardson over at the intermediate school, but it could have been Mrs. T. If she was *cough* rubbing something *cough* while saying it, that was her.

Ann Marie - I'm with you on that one. No way I could have held that laughter in. I would have gladly risked a trip to the office because I'd bust wide open trying to stifle it.

Breezeway - If only you could have witnessed it first hand, it is even funnier if that is possible. Yeah, sounds like antibiotics are definitely in order, or at least a good dose of sec education.

I feel slightly bad laughing at Mrs. T's expense, because I really did love her, but my glory she was one funny lady. She meant well.

mmm said...

Nine contestants; that's pretty good CBW.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

MMM - Don't quote me on this, but it may go up by one yet.

Lucy said...

i had a teacher "Mrs Gross" that we thought used a hershey bar to color her eye brows. We were in Fl and it did tend to get hot and none of the schools had a/c BACK then so you can just imagine what happened to her brows left and right I believe. She also had us weave mats and sit cross legged and drink tea (we were studying China). I sure hope no goodies were showing. That is where my home ec teacher would rush in clapping her hands.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Lucy, we didn't have a/c either. It hadn't been invented yet. It would get hotter than blue blazes in that gym of ours..yet Mrs. T. woul dstill have the heat on in her office....Your image of the Hershey Bar eyebrow is priceless.

Come to think of it, I had a Great Aunt who drew her eyebrows in. Boy did she ever. The highest arc on an eyebrow I've ever seen.

Why would somebody pluck all their existing eyebrows out only to draw fake clown ones in?

Unibrow who has never plucked an eyebrow. Ever.

Ann Marie said...

ya know I have often wondered the same thing.. why,, just why would someone shave them off!! Especially when it is soooo obvious they do!

Anonymous said...

So now the 'Men's Club' knows who to blame for a generation of ladies not showing their goodies!

It's obvious, based on todays ladies, that Mrs.T has retired.

Yeah - for the return of cheap thrills!!


Anonymous said...

LMAO - I can't stop laughing:) You have given a spot-on description of the character we had the pleasure of knowing, Mrs. Thomas. Great job and thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Anonymous said...

auMy husband is NOT from Mathews, or VA or even the East coast and has no idea what it was like in Mathews. I haven't been back in YEARS!! But I told him about Mrs. T. ONCE and to this day he STILL will rub his chin and stare off to the the side and slowly and deliberately say, "young people". Honestly he does it as well as anyone who ever lived it!! I LOVE it when he reminds me of her, because SOOO many memories come flooding back.

Great Blog and great entry.

Anonymous said...

I had Mrs. Thomas many years ago. I was a 1986 grad. She taught me drivers ed, Sex ed and health with Jill Web. Great times. She will be greatly missed.