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  • September 16th, 2008 | 7:01 AM
Tuesday Memory Challenge

Sorry I missed doing this last week. This week's memory challenge is once again inspired by my dayjob and the fact that I have been let go but am on a delayed depart. I am here until the end of October which is weird, very weird, indeed. My friends here are a help with their smiling faces but a few other co-workers are acting oddly, like they could "catch" whatever I have. Some are downright rude, which I don't understand and leaves me feeling a bit disappointed about my final days here.

So I tried to think of a time I was disappointed as a child. I'm sure there were many times, imagined or real, but the one that stands out the most was second grade in Mrs. Oswald's class. For some reason I adored that teacher. I think it had to do with reading but I can't remember the details. What I do remember is the mouse with my name on it. When we started school, the very first day, she pointed to a board with a bunch of little gray mice on it. She had cut them all out and dressed them in little red jackets. Each one had the name of a student. I quickly found mine and smiled. I had an imaginary friend at the time called Tommy the mouse so I easily imagined all the grand adventures we would have together. Mrs. Oswald explained that as long as we were good, our mouse would stay on the board. But if we were bad, the mouse would come down.

Days went on. People who had their mouse still on the board got asked to do all sorts of special things with a teacher that I adored from afar. They stayed after school to clean the blackboard. They got to take things to the office. They collected or handed out papers.

One day I was reading my book at my desk. There was a scuffle of noise beside me. I don't remember who or what it was about. Mrs. Oswald heard and asked for quiet. The noise continued. I wanted to get back to my book. I went "Sssh!" just once but it was one time too many. Mrs. Oswald flipped out and ripped my mouse as well as I don't know how many others off the board.

I promptly burst into tears. My mouse not only wasn't on the board but when she took it off she really did rip it and it was missing an ear. I kept crying.

Mrs. Oswald called me a baby and got a piece of chalk. Then she walked to the back of the room and drew a circle on the floor. On the edges of the circle she drew a rattle and a baby bottle and a pacifier. Then she told me to sit in the baby circle. Alone.

I spent the rest of the day in that circle and even though my mouse went back on the board, ripped ear and all, the next day, it was never the same. I hated that class, that teacher, for the rest of the year.

Your turn. Write about a time when you were a child and someone or something disappointed you or took you by surprise.
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 12 comments — Leave comment )
(Deleted comment)
September 17th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Teachers really held the power over the students, at least back then. I'm happy to say that was the worst teacher memory ever.
September 16th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
Baaaaaaaaack to the trampling. (Are you tired of these memories yet?)

I was still in the hospital. Had been out of ICU for a while and was just in a regular room. It was about... I was out just after Halloween, and in ICU until Labour Day, so sometime between the two.

I was in the hospital room, and had just come back from a beginning session of physiotherapy. I was sore, exhausted, frustrated, (and I hated that woman with a passion. She was rude, short, and hated children. Never mind that I was in a lot of pain, and just coming out of a hospital bed.) and wanted nothing more than comfort.

My Mom walked in the room, asked how it went. I told her that I didn't know, and I didn't like the woman. She patted my hand, and breezed out of the room saying she had a church meeting to attend to and she'd be back 'later', oh and I had to be a 'good girl' and not cause anyone 'trouble'.

I sat there, alone, until my brother came a couple hours later.

By then, I'd figured out two things. 1) I wasn't worth my mother's time/care/attention, except when it benefited her. 2) That crying just made my nose and throat hurt, and that it got me no where.
September 17th, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)
Nope, not sick of the trampling stories yet. :-)

But man...I am so sorry. I want to give that younger you a big hug.
September 17th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
My mother is... a piece of work. (She's still like this today, but at 30+ I don't have to take it any more. Heh.)

I have more dreaded physiotherapy stories. Many, many more. And post-trampling stories. My life seems divided by major events and the first major event was the trampling. Everything else was just "before".
September 16th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry! What a nasty thing to have done! In hindsight, it's possible to see how an adult could get fed up and just lose it, but to a sensitive child, it's like an atom bomb.

Disappointing moment: I was about ten and attending a girl scout meeting. We were all sitting quietly in a group around a large table and the assistant leader was talking about merit badges. Toward the end, she began talking about mimeographed reminders about some upcoming event that we were supposed to have given to our parents. She said she'd had responses from everyone except one, and then rounded on me and right there in front of everyone called me a snotty, selfish little girl for not having told my mother. I was aghast. My mother was very ill and I'd just totally forgotten. All the other girls stared and avoided me after that. I wanted to die. She never did give me a chance to explain. Funny how those things stick with a person, even years later.
September 17th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
Yikes! Sounds like you had an equally insensitive memory. That's horrible!!!

And it is interesting, I am finding, to see what memories are lingering just barely below the surface.
September 16th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, my god. Geez! I can't believe some of the people who are allowed to teach. Susan, you poor thing.
September 17th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Luckily it was a long time ago and never soured me on school. But probably significant that I have not forgotten it.
(Deleted comment)
September 17th, 2008 01:47 pm (UTC)
School was so different back then (over 40 years ago) and teachers had the power to do a lot worse than that. I suppose I got off lucky because I never got a public spanking!
September 17th, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry you had that awful experience. Hugs.

I don't want to publicly post about my disappointing experience, but I want to beg all teachers to be very careful about what you say to a kid or what you write in a kid's report card. Words of reproach and criticism can be magnified a hundredfold and stay with a child for years. :-(

September 18th, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC)
Awww, Sue. I'm so sad for younger Sue. What a horrible thing for your teacher to do. I have one memory that is really just flat out disappointment, I was probably about 8 at the time. I worshipped my mother, as little girls do. She was so pretty and smart and capable (I remember she used to do all the cooking and make her own clothes and all those domestic talents that are rare today). She picked me up from school one day after a party at work. And she was drunk. She didn't really drink, and I think one glass of champagne did her in without her knowing it. But she picked me up from school and drove home crazy, all over the road. I was petrified. And just disappointed in her because I knew she was being very unsafe with her life and mine.
September 18th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
Oops, that was me, with the crazy drunk mother driving me home from school. Yes, Chinese mothers are scary.
( 12 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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