Thanks, Harold, for recalling the second
most traumatizing experience of my
so awash with relief that I began to remind everyone that I was the one who
elementary school years. You are right, it was I who called Mrs. Hollingshead
(I'm pretty sure it was Hollingshead, not Hollingsworth) a "dirty
Actually, I did not just call her that, but I had the creativity to put it in
the form of a nifty little chant that I repeated several times, a la
is a dirty bird, teacher is a dirty bird, etc."
But now it is time for "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey is want
When you were nailed for my transgression, I could not believe my luck and
called her a dirty bird. Unfortunately when you made your untimely (for me)
escape, Mrs. Hollingshead returned to the classroom just in time to hear my
latest reminder. While you were away, I was escorted to Mr.
Ripyourheartoutandeatitinfrontofyou's office where I was forced to repeat to
Mrs. Hollingshead's face those terrible words. To say that I was
is the quintessence of understatement. I felt like my life was surely over. I
would gladly have taken licks until I passed out if it would have taken away
that hurt look in that wonderful lady's eyes.
In the end, I squeaked out some miserable apology and the MAN called my
mother to tell her what I had done. When I got home that day, I had to relate
the gory details to my mother. At that point, I was sure that the only
reasonable punishment was to be put up for adoption, for I had committed the
ultimate sin of any second-grader...I had "disappointed" my mother.
can I say. To this day I am sorry.
The MOST traumatizing event of my elementary school years occurred when I
was in the seventh grade at Forrest Hills:
One bright spring day my faithful dog, Rebel, showed up on the playground
during recess, and we had a delightful time until recess was over. It was
then that the horror began. Marc, Giles Davis, (and possibly Dewayne
Hassler) and I decided that we would have a race to the door, and we took off
Rebel ran with us. When we reached the steps, we started a loud argument
about who was first, and I turned to ask Mrs. Jordan (not Marc's mom) to
referee. The sight I beheld when I turned caused my knees to abandon me as
white-hot realization set in. My beloved dog had delivered a perfect chop
block on my favorite teacher (she taught me all the English I would ever
need), and she was on the ground writhing in astounding agony, her hip
To cut to the chase (bad choice of words), Mrs.
was sent to the
hospital, I was sent to the principal's office (where my mother was
secretary) and Rebel broke (another bad choice of words) for home. I spent
the rest of the school year reminded every day of the debacle by the sight of
my splendid teacher maneuvering around the classroom on crutches. The daily
trip up the stairs to the lunchroom was awful to behold. But, Mrs.
never held a grudge. In fact, she did all she could to make light of the
whole affair. What a terrific lady!!! I am still amazed that no lawsuits