It just occurred to me today, for no reason, really, that all my grade school teachers are surely dead.
Mrs. Bingham, first grade; Mrs. Santi, second grade (one of only two Roman Catholic families in our town of 500); Mrs. Short, third grade; Miss Hawkins (worst, worst, worst teacher ever and a horrible person) fourth grade; Mrs. Baldwin, 5th grade; Mrs. Martin, sixth grade.
Dead, all dead. The Dead are legion.
Miss Hawkins was the daughter of Dr. Hawkins who ran the pharmacy in Anawalt, though I'm sure he didn't have a doctorate, he was a pharmacist and wore a white coat, so we called him "Dr.". I think her given name was Grace, but it didn't matter, we called her "Miss Hawkins". She had a form of epilepsy and we had been briefed on what to do if she had a seizure. David Jordan was picked to run to the office and alert Principal Ramsey.
Then one day, it happened, she fell down after finding a pouch of chewing tobacco in Charlie Harmon's desk--Charlie was 3 years older than the rest of us and was just waiting to be 16 in the sixth grade to quit school. She was writhing on the floor, foaming at the mouth, making strange, inhuman sounds and David--always a good boy--jumped up to go to the office. But Billy Bridgeman and Donnie Davis stopped him at the classroom door.
"Let's ;just watch a while," Billy said.
And we did. She was an awful person and should have never been let loose near young children--smacking and hitting and humiliating all of us.
So we watched her jerk around for a few minutes and then David went to the office.
I'd never seen anyone have, what we, politically incorrect back then, called a 'fit'.
It was something.
And couldn't have happened to a more deserving person.
I know she's dead, she died when I was in high school, hopefully painfully, in agony. And all the others, people I admired, sometimes loved. All of them are surely dead as well since they were my parents' age and my parents have been dead for decades.
What an odd thought--that all my grade school teachers are dead. And how enlightening it is to realize much of my past (at 68) is dead. I won't even think about Junior High and High School teacher, though I'd bet only one or two are still alive and probably non compos mentus.
The past peels away after us, doesn't it?
The dead behind us are legion, aren't they? As we will be for those ahead of us.
Something to ponder and be bewildered by.
The way of life, I suppose. To shed the skin of the past and then be shed....
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