I love you, Mrs. Green

Sitting in the yellow molded-plastic chair in the new classroom at the start of a new school year in a new school, the skinny girl with a pale complexion leaned forward in expectation and apprehension. Delicate shoulders squared, hands clasped together on top of the desk, her serious brown eyes surveyed the room. None of the other kids had talked to her yet.

The bell announcing the start of Frankie’s third grade year pealed through the school.

There were about twenty children in the class and some were obviously well-acquainted with each other.  Frankie heard some of the girls giggling and sharing stories about summer camps and family vacations.  Some of the boys were goofing off and doing gross things that boys do – belching, picking at body parts (their own) and saying words they thought were “dirty” but which really weren’t.  The big round clock on the wall with the audibly moving hands clicked to 8:04 a.m.  The kids all started looking around the room, craning their necks to see the door.  Where was the teacher?  The room became unnaturally quiet for a space full of 8- and 9-year-olds.

Then, with a whoosh and a squeaking of rubber-soled shoes on the floor, in walked a lovely young woman with long hair the color of straw, a light blue skirt and a blouse with so many flowers in the design Frankie looked at the floor expecting to see petals scattered there.  The woman’s arms were full of boxes; her slender frame in danger of breaking under the load.  She made her way carefully down a row of seats and set her burden heavily on the floor next to the teacher’s desk.  “Good morning!  I’m Mrs. Green and I’m the new third grade teacher.” she said with a smile that would have lit up the entire room were a sudden and total solar eclipse to have occurred.

The students stared at her with a mix of enchantment, skepticism and… hope!  The previous third grade teacher, by all accounts, had been a real sourpuss and all the kids, when they managed to think about school at all over the summer, had had varying degrees of anxiety about what third grade was going to be like. This smiling, pretty woman in front of the class left Frankie with the feeling you get when you think the M&M bag is empty and then realize there is still candy left inside.

Third grade was a swirl of joy, anxiety and revelation for Frankie.  Mrs. Green was a voracious reader and introduced the class to new worlds compliments of E.B. White, Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, Madeline L’Engle, etc… When she wasn’t reading to them, she was encouraging her students to explore the characters brought to life by these ingenious creators or, better yet, to generate their own.  Mrs. Green acted as though each child in her class was someone special and capable, and the whole class seemed to meet her expectation – with a couple of notable exceptions.  She was funny, sweet, challenging, thoughtful and a fierce proponent of her kids avoiding dullard status.

Frankie would sit in class and marvel at the energy and enthusiasm her teacher exhibited.  Even in the midst of flurries of silliness sprinkled with idiocy among her charges, she would forge ahead with her lesson plan, a disarming grin on her face, and get the class moving in the right direction.  Field trips, library visits, spelling bees and reading competitions punctuated third grade and inspired the class to strive for and accomplish more than was expected.

At the end of the school year, Frankie’s head was overfull of imaginings and possibilities.  She woke up one summer morning before her fourth-grade year started and looked out at the lemony yellow sun beginning it’s daily climb. She made her way silently down the stairs and out the back door, hopped on her bike and rode through the cool, quiet neighborhood before most of the neighbors or even her family were awake. There was a glorious sense of anticipation in her chest – why, anything could happen! She felt, for all the world, like Douglas Spaulding, in the opening chapter of “Dandelion Wine”, commanding the world to wake up and come alive.

(For many years I’ve wanted to express my gratitude to Mrs. Green for making such a positive difference in my life.  This post is hardly adequate, but it’s a start.   I love you, Mrs. Green! Wherever you are, thank you!)

~ This post was originally published on 1/15/2011 on Blipfillypicklepoo.blogspot.com and was edited for this publication.

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Posting posts previously posted …

editorrejection

Recently I have been reading some of the writing on my other/older blog.  Much of it is years old and I have not gone back to it unless someone calls my attention to an error in spelling/grammar or a formatting issue.  The words seem fresh and enough removed from me that I read without the shrill inner critic ruining the moment.  It’s a pleasant shock to read stuff that came out of my thick old skull… and like it  find that it makes me laugh/sigh/wonder without that nattering voice in my remarking about what I “should have” written/said/thought.

Editing becomes a cleaner, less personal matter.  I don’t feel I’m losing a limb if I boldly excise extraneous words.  Leaving things to sit for a while gives the “statue hiding in the block of marble” a chance to take form (to severely overstate the importance of my “art”). It is fun to re-visit these previously posted posts, re-work some things and post them again… here!  It’s not that I believe my writing is brilliant or even interesting (to anyone other than me); time has gentled my eyes to what is me – to what is my own – and that is a very good thing.

 

 

 

Behind

(originally posted on 4/16/2011 at Blipfillypickle.blogspot.com – my other blog)

He had gotten to church later than usual and slipped into his regular spot just as the service started.  The plaid jacket he had worn on the walk to church that early spring morning was now too warm and he shrugged it off at the same time trying to find the correct spot in his missal.  His coat slid off the pew and as he bent to recover it, he caught the light, fresh scent of citrus. Standing he noticed the person in the seat in front of him – a woman of average height and slender build.  Her shoulder length chestnut hair was flecked with gray and caught carelessly in a tortoise-shell clip which seemed to be slipping.  The clean smell was definitely coming from her.  He noticed her shoulders and the line of her back and wondered briefly how it would feel to put his hand on the small of her back.  She wore a pretty blue and white print dress that, while appropriate for the setting, did flatter her figure – at least from the back. Shaking his head to get focused on what he was there for, he found his spot in the book and began singing along with his fellow churchgoers.  He closed his eyes to better concentrate on the service and became aware of a sweet alto voice singing harmony. Tilting his head in an effort to locate the voice, eyes still closed, he realized it was coming from the lemony-smelling woman in front of him.  His eyes popped open and he was again distracted from the service as he noticed the way her silver earrings hung from her earlobes and moved as she sang, the gentle curve of the side of her neck and how she would occasionally scrunch her shoulders up and then drop them back down or reach up to massage her neck.  He had no concept of her age – it’s hard to tell that from behind  but he found himself checking , unsuccessfully,  to see if she wore a ring on her left hand. The entire congregation sitting brought him out of his thoughts and he too sat, a little heavily.   It had been such a long time since he had really noticed other women – his wife of 25 happy years had died suddenly several years ago and he had just moved through life in a daze – one day melting into the next. The fog had lifted little by little but colors were still muted in his world – until this morning.  He was surprised and mildly embarrassed at his inattentiveness to the service and again shook his head admonishing himself to pay attention.  As he listened to the readings he had a passing thought that he would definitely speak to this woman in the church social hall afterwards.  That seemed to settle him and he concentrated on the service until a thought came unbidden to his mind…. “I wonder what her face looks like.”

Christina’s World – Andrew Wyeth

…and now for something completely different (revisited)

Disclosure:   This post was originally published on my blog “Blipfillypicklepoo” in August 2011.  All the work is my own with the exception of the pic of an Andrew Wyeth painting.


Since I have done nothing to add to this blog in the last several (many) months, I thought I better get crackin’ and do SOMETHING… so, a small selection of “poetry” from my distant and not so distant past.

Benny's Scarecrow

                       Benny’s Scarecrow – Andrew Wyeth

He recalled beauty.                                  
It’s power and
elaborate
frantic
language.
An ache in the breast
like rust.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Raw winter sky
White void
Pounding the will
Crushing the symphony
of me

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She sits, always alone.                                                                                                                                                
Iron tongued
and dreams of singing delicate music
of whispering her want to her beloved
in light cool moments.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not much, but something.

Blipfillypicklepoo:  http://www.blipfillypicklepoo.blogspot.com/