Thursday, January 26, 2012

Teachers I Never Married

Teachers I Never Married

You would think by now I would know better
than to read a piece about
Callista and Newt right before going

to sleep, her pearls and jewels from
Tiffany, his Robert the Bruce complex.
How else to explain the need

upon waking to recall, in order,
the names of my teachers at
Edgewood Elementary School, a task

many would consider not
to be essential in the least, no more
than the vestigial tail of

some bad dream.  Here goes nothing:  Miss Morton,
my kindergarten teacher,
notable for selecting me, after

much deliberation no
doubt, to lead the evacuation drill
one particularly warm

spring afternoon, my red helmet gleaming
under a hopeful yellow
sun.  Next up, Miss Trippler, eyes of a barn

owl, she caught the slight, furtive
movements I made trying to retrieve the
Pink Pearl eraser Linda

Mathon had hidden beneath her gingham
dress.  How could I forget Miss
Fuhrman, second and third grade, some kind of

administrative blunder
that, but credit where credit is due, she
correctly diagnosed the

early symptoms of my tendency to
daydream, a curious sort
of vagueness with dire academic

implications that followed
me to fourth grade and Miss McKinney, my
first black teacher, a woman

with a smile you never forget and the
creative audacity
to allow us boys to indulge our urge

to wage World War Two on a
table top, a wildly inaccurate,
bloodthirsty diorama

enlivened with handfuls of green plastic
soldiers.   Another first in
fifth grade, the balding, jovial Mister

Conti who read to us out
loud, an experience that resonates
today, as if I were in

a darkened theater listening to
Stanley Tucci, glasses perched
on the end of his nose, reading Charlottes

Web, his voice smooth as aged scotch.  
That brings us to Mister Ramella, a
bantam of a man, snarling

countenance only a quirk, a habit,
the repositioning of
his heavy, black horn rims hands-free, setting

those appendages loose to
wave wildly, emphatically fending off
clouds of unseen mosquitos. 

A decent group of people, they did their
best given what they had to
work with, but I was never tempted to

date one, let alone marry
any of them, as did Newt, one of his
bolder acts, the successful

propositioning of Miss Battley, his
geometry teacher, an
unfortunate woman damned forever

by the observation that,
according to his mother, “he was her
little boy.”  Somewhere in the

craggy highlands of Scotland the ghost of
Robert the Bruce is crying,
bereft beyond hope, plotting sweet revenge.  

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