Like many of you, I went through the fourth grade. That was when I had my traumatic childhood experience. Everyone has the traumatic childhood experience. If you don’t remember yours, it’s because it was REALLY traumatic and you should seek counseling. Mine wasn’t that traumatic, but it’s really my only one, so I have to pin the brown and black ribbon on it.
Ms. Rice was a fourth grade teacher at Tallmadge Elementary School. She was not my homeroom teacher, so I only saw her for one period a day. I think it was for science. Now I remember it was science, because she gave me a C for my report on the planets that was copied directly out of the encyclopedia. I hate to think that my parents paid thousands of dollars for a set of books that only got me a C.
One day in science class, Ms. Rice asked everyone to be quiet. Everyone got quite. Which made it a lot easier for Ms. Rice to hear me ask the kid next to me for their scissors. She had just about enough. Ms. Rice told me to come to the front of the room. She instructed the other students, “Get out a piece of paper and write something you hate about Doug.”
“Now stand up and form a line in front of Doug and read what you wrote.”
Doug is ugly.
Doug is stupid.
Doug talks in class. (You got me there.)
Doug is smelly.
I don’t remember a lot of what they wrote. I definitely remember the Doug stinks. At first I tried to laugh it off. And then I cried. Come on, I was in the 4th grade.
The last person read their paper. I was sent back to my seat and we finished what ever we were doing. Everyone was told to throw their papers away. I went home and didn’t say a word.
Andy Friesner was a friend of mine at the time and he felt bad about it. Bad enough that he took several notes out of the trash and took them home to his parents. His parents called mine. Mine questioned me and then called the school. There was a too do.
I would have to call my mom to remind me of what happened after that. I’m sure she’d love to talk about it and get all fired up again. I seem to recall that the next day all the kids wrote nice things about me and I was to take the nice pieces of paper home and show them to my parents. Jamie Barnes (upon a proofread, I’m realizing that this might be a good point to preface that Jamie is a girl) asked me to be her square dance partner in Gym class. That might have all been worth it.
I’m not scarred. Thinking about it makes me sad. But mainly because I’m now remembering these people from my past. I haven’t talked to Andy in years. He is a great guy. And that my long lost love Jamie Barnes hasn’t thought about me in years.
Ms. Rice? My understanding is that she is now an educational administrator somewhere. I searched the internet for “Ms. Rice is a stinking filthy whore” but did not get any search results. I’m not scarred.