Friday, January 16, 2009

First Offense


Recently The Pioneer Woman posed a question asking her readers to comment about their worst year in school. Here's mine:

First grade–by far.
I was painfully shy, very small for my age, and absolutely terrified of the teacher. "Mrs. Ratchet" was 100 years old, at least, and had blue hair which matched her blue legs; and I remember being horrified and strangely curious about the odd tangle of lines that made up her legs. (BTW, poetic justice– after bearing 4 children, I now have a varicose vein or two of my very own.) Mrs. R. would sit in a rocker for story time and assemble all her wards on the floor around her as she read. She smelled like moth balls and wore black pointy shoes just like the Wicked Witch of the West.
Anyway, not only did this teacher look nightmarish, but her very presence was terrifying as well. She was terribly intimidating and would stealth around the classroom, meandering in and out of the desks, armed with her weapon of choice . . . a red ballpoint pen. Not only did she delight in marking our papers with it, but she would also wield it at random upon unsuspecting students –any lapse of attention from a student or aberrant behavior would result in a swift and firm smack on the top of the head of the offender. I was so frightened of her that I literally could not do my work in class and sat trembling for the better part of the year.
I distinctly remember one particular incident involving the little girl who sat next to me. Apparently Cheryl (who resembled the SNL character Mary Katherine Gallagher) must have suffered allergies and was forever blowing her nose. Rather than disposing of the used tissues in the wastebasket, for months she discreetly stashed them inside her desk--probably afraid to leave her seat. I can still see the veins popping, the tissues flying, and the red pen flailing when "Mrs. Ratchet" finally discovered the stash in poor Cheryl’s desk. :( I am almost certain that Mrs. R. was a distant relative of Attila the Hun.

13 comments:

tipper said...

A great post! Mrs. R sounds like a nightmare!

Lori said...

oh, she sounds just horrible!!! i bet you had nightmares featuring her for years afterward!!!

katie jean said...

Wow! Sound like she could have used a little Zoloft (or something) to help her calm down a little bit!

I hope 2nd grade was better :)

Jacquelynne said...

Oh that is too bad... I had a wonderful first grade teacher. Other years, however, I wasn't so lucky- I went to Catholic school- you may have had Atila the Hun, but I had Atila the Nun!!

TattingChic said...

Your teacher sounds scary! I had one just like her only she had red hair and shaked a lot...like St. Vitus Dance kind of shaking. She was cranky too and frightened the heck out of me, LOL!

Designs by CK said...

Hi Cathy,

Hmmm interesting...

I have been out of the blogging loop the past several days...busy on new art pieces soon to be unveiled. Playing catch-up now...

Hang in there & have a great week!

Chris :-)

Designs by CK said...

PS: Your new blog layout is my favorite so far! Lovely!

Chris

Suzanne said...

Wow!,I'm scared just reading about her! First grade wasn't a great year for me either, but neither was 5th grade...Lol, We moved both times.

Jann said...

Wow--reminds me of my own grade school nightmares . . . when I started 1st grade in parochial school, there were 65 students in each of the 2 first grades--can you imagine that--and we learned! (Well, we learned probably because we were terrified not to! They threatened us with the "spanking machine" on a daily basis, which was a mysterious and frightening piece of equipment living in the nether reaches of the principal's office and the appearance of which was only limited by the student's wild imagination of what it actually looked like.) Ah, those Catholic school memories--I could tell you stories . . . !

BittersweetPunkin said...

Wow..that was great,,very descriptive! The things we remember...
Hugs,
robin

cindy said...

Isn't it funny the things we remember that still stay with us when we are older? To this day, I cannot stand volleyball. Got a kick out of yours! Thanks for sharing.

c

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

I woke up last night remembering one of her favorite phrases: "I'm gonna chew you up and spit you out!"
[Shudder] I can't believe I still remember that.

Amy said...

I love this post...I love the manner in which you write. I feel like I was there and I was looking above my head to make sure no red pen was going to get me as I read on. You have inspired me to do a Flash Back of my worst school year or YEARS!!!
Amy