May You Rest In Peace

First of all I want to thank Johnny Blake for not violating me in the ninth grade. I loved him so much I had fainting spells when I thought of him. He had the wherewithal, the maturity and the grace to tell me no. I thank you Johnny for that and I thank myself for the rest.

I ran for 9th grade president. The elections were held in our homerooms and then, taken to the whole 9th grade. The ballots were passed out and the voting began. I saw my name and I thought I had arrived. I had arrived I thought because I was such a nice person. I was, but that had nothing to do with it. I signed up, simple as that. I thought since I was such a nice person, I would vote for the other guy because that is the nice thing to do. Not at all, I lost the election by one vote. You know whose nice person vote it was that dinged me don’t you? You are right. You are absolutely right. My own vote did me in and that was a lesson learned the hard way and one that I have passed on to you. Always, I mean always, vote for yourself. My goodness gracious, you do not need to be so nice that you ace yourself right out of the election.
I began to think of another election just moments after I received word that my high school gym teacher passed away at 93 years old. I sent the proper donation to the charity of my choice. I sat down in my chair and stared at her picture. Here was a very old, very, very old looking lady. This was Miss Quickie. I sat in my chair staring long enough to become transposed into that picture looking out at me. I am an old lady, not as old as Miss Quickie, but old just the same. My memories pull me back into those “Gym” days. I hated Gym. I hated everything about it. I just had a knee operation when I met Miss Quickie, the “Gym” teacher. She made me run laps and bend and twist my knee and the pain I remember was worse than anything heretofore known to me. She would not let up on me, hated me, I knew it because she said I was acting like such a wimp and I was such a piece of trash. Then, and there I took the bull by the balls and stood up to her. I told her I would not do the things she was making me do. I received my first D. So as my memories continue to flood into and out of me, I remember getting the D was far better than killing myself trying to follow her commands. Another memory of Miss Quickie comes into full view. I am not as proud of this one. I was elected President of the senior service club. I remember campaigning for this office with posters, talking with kids and really promising lemonade in the drinking fountains. “I won. I won.”

Miss Quickie said, “ No you didn’t win.”
I said, “Oh yes I did, it was announced at lunch today.”

“I don’t care what they said you will not be able to take the position.”

“What, why?”

“Because you are Jewish.”

By this time I was used to standing up to Miss Quickie. In fact I was very good at it and didn’t much mind the consequences.
“I don’t think being Jewish has anything to do with being President of the Ophelians.”
Quickly, Miss Quickie retorted, “ Oh yes it does, young lady, it has everything to do with it.”

“What are you talking about? I think you have something wrong here.”

“ I have nothing wrong. I have given this plan a lot of thought.”

I was used to prejudice from my town, my school and I was not going to let this person steal the opportunity I had worked towards for four years to accomplish. I was strong. In my memories, I can still see myself puffing up for this one.
I slowly said, “ You can’t do this to me. Why do you want to do this to me anyhow?”

“ I don’t want to do anything to you, young lady, but you know we have to give the invocation before each meeting.”

“ I know that and I can do that?”

“ No you can’t!”

“ Of course I can, I can do it fine.”

“No young lady, you can’t”

“Why can’t I?”

“Because you have to say it in Jesus’ name and you are Jewish and Jewish people cannot say the invocation in Jesus’ name.”

My head spun and I felt sick. I wanted to be president. I won the election, finally, I won an election. I puffed up even bigger and I blurted, “ I will do it, I will say the invocation in Jesus’ name.”
She said, “No you won’t. This is final.”
I never got to be president of my senior service club and I never said the invocation in Jesus’ name. I would have sold my soul for the chance to serve my term and I am not proud of that. This was the last time I played the fool and the last time I was not true to myself and to my ancestors. I did not know this then, but as I come out of my memory trance, I know it now.

My memories of Miss Quickie are of when she was 25 or 26 years old. The photo of her shows a wise old woman. I am hoping that she came to her senses about her issues with me, but I doubt it. Miss Quickie, you have shared this reverie with me and, I forgive you. I forgive myself. Rest in peace for eternity.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sheila
    Dec 28, 2007 @ 16:24:56

    The teacher in question, Miss Quickie is in fact the teacher who complained about the knee injury and proceeded with the D in P.E. The teacher with the presidential matters is in fact, Miss Afterthought. I have changed the names to protect all of us.

    Reply

  2. Connie Forster
    Dec 31, 2007 @ 16:06:28

    Teachers, there are so many of them the world over, that know it all, think they have the upper hand, that’s because they are SOOO EDUCATED, they THINK, and kids well they’re smaller aren’t they, get them to try these tactic on an adult then see what happens, I did, it was brilliant, if my Father taught me anything it was how to debate and to get the opposing person on the run, teachers aren’t good at this, THEY’RE ALWAYS RIGHT OF COURSE, not so. Think about this when you need to defend your child against the mighty teachers of this world.

    Reply

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