Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The School Teacher

Another person I knew back then was Lovie Pauline, a teacher at our school. She hated the "Lovie" part, so when we wanted to make her mad, we would call her "Miss Lovie." She was a good teacher and a swell person. I spent a lot of time with her later, but she was very tense and nervous.

Sometimes she would get so upset that she would lie down on the front bench and cry and kick her heels, saying the school kids were driving her crazy. All of this took place during classtime. She was in charge of about forty kids in one room, primer through eighth grade. The kids sort of got shook up by this behavior, and they would quieten down for a few days after an episode.

Pauline boarded with my grandma through the week, and she would go home on weekends. She spent many nights with us, and I went home with her also. But we loved to tease her. I do not know why our parents let us by with it, for she was highly nervous and cried many times. We thought that it was funny. We should have gotten our bottoms busted.

I remember how some kids walked four or five miles to school. On winter days they got so cold. When they came in, they sat by the big woodstove in the middle of the room. As they began to warm up, they would hurt badly from nearly frozen hands and feet.

The teacher and the other kids would rub their feet and wrap them in wool caps. The teacher would always put the children's hands in cold water and then into their hair. This eased the pain by warming slowly. I was always glad to live close to the school house.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Fist Fight

As I mentioned before, we liked to have playhouses outside in summer. When I was a little older, my young sisters, Jennie and Bette, had a playhouse close to the house and near where the mailboxes were all located on the mail route. Many people came every day to get their mail. Most of the time they waited for the mail carrier at our house.

Well, I had my eye on a neighbor boy and so did my cousin. She would meet the mail carrier and so would he. So, she started sitting in the playhouse because he reached it before he reached the mailboxes. He began stopping by to chat with her - which did not go over too well with me.

I casually mentioned that she should stop sitting in my sister's play place as it hindered their playing. So, in a day or so, to get even, she knocked over a few things. The kids were crying that she tore up their playhouse. This really ticked me off with her.

On Saturday morning my sisters, the same two, got dressed to go spend the weekend with my Aunt Hattie, about a four or five mile walk. I knew we were going to pass my cousin's house on the way there, and I had also made up my mind that if I saw her, I would get even with her that day.

She was a lot bigger than I was, but I was really sore at her, even though we had been buddies and had spent lots of good times together. She must be taught a lesson on what was hers and what was not. My sisters, being small, had no idea what I had in mind.

About half way between her house and mine, she was right where I wanted her. She came flipping by with a basket full of eggs on her way to the store. As we met I said, "Hello," and she did not speak. Well, not speaking was counted an insult. So, I said, "So, don't speak!" And I added, "I should slap your face!"

By now she was where she was to cross the fence and cut through the pasture to the store. But she set down her little basket and came back where I was waiting. She stuck her face up and said, "Just hit me if you dare!" I surely was not going to pass a dare, so as fast as she said it, I blazed away and slapped her so hard it hurt my hand.

Well, we went together pulling hair, and she pulled the bow off my dress. She was trying to reach a tree root laying sort of behind her. I knew I could not let her reach this root, or I would be done for. The sisters were by now screaming and crying, so we wrestled around until we broke.

Well, she brushed herself off and went on the store where she told everyone how she had whipped me and how my friends would get it next. When I came home from Aunt Hattie's on Sunday, I had a welcoming committee waiting for me. I thought, "Oh, now my pappa will get me for fist fighting." But he just said, "Are you okay?" and sort of ginned.

Then I found out that two boys who were our friends had been hiding in the bushes while the fight went on. They heard the story she had told, so they told everyone that she was not telling the truth. They said. "The one who hit the first lick whipped the other," that it was so hard it made their ears ring. They were on my side.

I really felt big then. My cousin did not disrupt the playhouse afterwards or sit in my face and try to take my friend. But I felt like a heel many times afterwards over it, for it ending our friendship for many years. Also, I had been taught to "turn the other cheek."

Later, she did make a surprise attack on a younger girlfriend of mine, pushing her around and into a ditch. I almost got her again for that, but I had cooled off some by then. We were always taught that ladies did not fist fight - but just once I did forget that rule.