I had a call from an old high school teacher last week, asking for me to be involved in the planning of an upcoming reunion for the school (not for a specific class, but for the whole school). This teacher is also a friend of my Dad’s, who assured him I would have some interest in participating. Thanks, Dad.
The jury is still out on whether or not I will participate. I left the door open, but made sufficient excuses to decline at any moment (I don’t live in my hometown, I have three little kids and a full-time job, the weekend on which the reunion is planned is actually not that great for me work-wise).
The thing that struck me funny about the phone call, though, was a compliment that was, apparently, paid to me. Upon hearing that I might be interested in playing a role (on the word of my father), the chair of the reunion committee (another old teacher, Mr. P.) said, “Oh, she would be good. She was a smart girl.” I actually laughed out loud when I heard that.
My one and only class with Mr. P. was Grade 10 Geography. He was one of those arrogant teachers who took great pleasure in humiliating students who didn’t do their homework or just didn’t “get” the material. I’ll never forget the day he put three maps on the blackboard that had been coloured by the students as part of a homework assignment. One was beautifully coloured with absolutely no white space left on the page. The oceans and lakes were blue, the Canadian provinces were perfectly outlined and coloured according to his instructions. The second was coloured nicely, but the student had not followed his instructions for properly colour coding the provinces and territories. The third was technically coloured properly (the right colours in the right places), but the quality of the colouring job itself was worse than he would expect from his 3-year-old. That third one was mine.
My friend was someone he often chose to pick on – she was quiet and clearly didn’t care about geography, so usually just sat silently as he asked her over and over to come up with an answer. I got in the habit of whispering the answer to her before he even asked the question so she could shoot up her hand and beat him to the punch. After awhile, he stopped picking on her, which was great until she turned the tables on me. I still would whisper the answers to her, which apparently, annoyed her. She started raising her hand and saying, “Lori knows!” It got to the point where Mr. P. would ask a question, my friend would raise her hand and Mr. P. would say, “Lori, what’s the answer.”
So, now Mr. P. is the chair of the reunion committee and remembers me as being “a smart girl”. I wonder what else he remembers.