It Makes Me Sick
It Makes Me Sick
Today while was helping Al to feel the Christmas spirit, outside in the world it was gruesome. In our local news the headlines were, A School Teacher was involved in some form of sexual action with a student. There may have been touching.
This made me ill. How many days and days are we going to hear this? Why didn’t I run for the bathroom and vomit? Because we are getting used to hearing those ugly words. The police are keeping their lips sealed it is so brutal. The school is clamming up but did say they fired the person.
What about the student? Touching? It lets my mind wander? Was he/she hurt? Were they raped?
In another big headline, and I hate using this term like they do. It isn’t headline news. It is sick news. Another school shooting. What is going on? Can this all be blamed on the fact that God is being taken out of the schools? Should the parents be blamed? How do we fix this when the first thing the news does is go into detail about how the shootings happen. What ingredients, guns, forms were used. What a way to give another mixed up person bad ideas to get in the spot light.
Last week a girl who left her home was found in a woods and of course she was dead. She had been missing for some time. She was a teen attacked by a brutal sick person.
I just want to scream I am so sick of hearing this. I can’t fix it, not all by myself. I don’t even know what it will take to fix the world. Maybe start all over, a new world. The words rape, brutal, shootings, teacher molestation, church sexual scandals, drugs, these all make me want to vomit, it all makes me sick, because I can’t fix it.
Daily Prompt; We Can Be Taught
I was in the third grade. I was a chatterbox. When I look back at past report cards for elementary grades I can see all the boxes checked for talking too much. I couldn’t help it I guess. I had lots to say.
Now that I am much older I know that even back then I was craving what I was lacking at home. I needed to be validated. I wanted to be noticed. I suppose that even now I still have some of those feelings that will pop up now and then.
My teacher, was a short, plump woman, who wore stockings and pumps and a print dress every single day. Her hair was orange/red. She had more freckles on her face and arms than anyone I had ever known at that time. When she smiled around her eyes formed wrinkles and she reminded me back then of Mrs. Clause with those tiny eyes that danced.
She moved me several times for talking. I sat in the front rows. I was moved to the back rows. I can remember standing out in the hall a couple of times. I also tattled. I think people tattle for attention. Tattling draws attention. Whether good or bad we need it, we think.
She was a strict teacher and molded me into what I am today.
I didn’t like her much at the time, but she helped me to start the process that I was worthy. She helped me see that bad attention was not the only choice I had in drawing others to me.
For the lack of confidence part, I had to teach myself through tough lessons in life. Good friends sitting with me and talking. Tears being poured, and accepting. Yes, this is the toughest teaching job of all. Accepting myself for who I am.
I am never going to be any other than who I am. The TV media can destroy us. It makes us ponder on what else is out there. Why can’t I look or talk, or have what she/he has. The bottom line is God made me who I am for a reason. I am no one special in the outer world. But I am a writer, a good mother, and a woman who has a right to stand here living on this land.
I studied this photo quite a few minutes. This is a mistake that I don’t like to make. I have never done this. I usually write my first thoughts in any story.
But for this photo prompt I saw many things. I wondered what other bloggers were seeing and then I thought, stay true to yourself Terry. Write what you see and feel, not what others may be doing.
So here goes.
I am proud of my name. My name is Samson Jr. . I was entertained when I was young by listening to stories told by my parents and grandparents of how slaves in our families had fought, lost and loved. I am proud of how far our present family has come.
I live in a house with my parents who bought it with money they had worked hard and saved for. When my parents got married, they had nothing but love and the clothes on their backs. God was the center of their lives and they never let faith drift too far a way from their front door.
We have running water and Papa bought Mama a used set of appliances; a washer and dryer. Mama didn’t have to wonder if it was going to rain or not. She could just put the wet clothes straight in the dryer and walk a way until the buzzer went off.
I go to a public school system. There are mixed colors in all classes, but black children are less seen. Bullying and hate run rampant after school and many times the police can be seen at the school yard breaking up fights. One time I can remember a black kid, about nine or ten was shot on his way to school.
It was just awful when I was just starting school. I can remember being picked on by the other students and the teacher doing nothing about it. White kids called me names and tore my home-work up in shreds. I would explain to the teacher why I didn’t have it but she still checked my paper with a big red F.
It took talking to my parents and many sessions with the nice counselor after school before I realized that I could do something about it. I learned that I didn’t have to let bullies pick on me. Mama always reminded me that I was special. She told me it didn’t matter what color my skin was; God made us all the same on the inside.
Slowly I gained confidence and I found ways around the kids in my class. I would write out two essays. I had an extra copy in case the kids got a hold of my homework. I learned to sit in the center, front seat. I sat right in front of the teacher’s eyes. She couldn’t deny when something bad was going on. She had no choice but to fix the problems.
I think she hated me. My one teacher just didn’t like me at all. I believe she considered me a trouble maker by making a spectacle out of myself sitting up front. After class one day she pulled on my shirt sleeve. She asked me,” What is it that you are trying to prove Mr. Samson Jr? Are you looking for attention? Don’t you get enough in your own home? Why don’t you sit in the back row with the rest of your friends?”
I can remember looking her square in the eye and saying, “I sit in the front row so I don’t miss anything you are saying Mam. I plan to graduate this school and go to college some day.”
I can still hear her cackling and seeing her tossing her arms up in the air. All she could get out of her painted red lips were, “Really now, so you think you are smart enough to go to college? Well I guess Mr. Samson Jr. time will tell us the truth on this. Go on, get for home.”
Thank goodness life is better today. I did finish that teacher’s class and I did graduate from that school. I worked hard like my parents taught me. I worked my fingers to the bone. Mama and Papa didn’t ask for a single cent. They let me save every single penny I earned down at the grocery store.
I went to a local college and I paid for most of it all by myself. My last year of college I was just beginning that first day and my Sunday School class gave me a gift. It was a gift of money. I can still remember feeling the hugs from each one of my class mates. I thanked them and I am sure I had some tears in my eyes. The entire church had a Sunday noon picnic in my honor too. I got some white envelopes from other folks too.
When we got home I had Mama help me count all those envelopes up and with the money from my Sunday School class and all the other folks, I was so surprised when half of my last year was already going to be paid for, and in advance. I was so proud as I walked into that school office and handed them over the money.
They wrote me out a receipt, but all they really said was, thank-you. I went a head and finished school. I graduated being a teacher. In fact, I teach other kids in the very school I had attended myself.
Not long after I started teaching Papa died. It really wasn’t that long afterwards that Mama died of a broken heart. These were the hardest days of my life. Burying my parents whom I loved so much. I ended up selling the house and kept with me their personal belongings, and I moved into a nice apartment on the top floor.
It had so much room, I could just run and do flips if I wanted to. The ceilings were high so I could sing and hear my own voice echo off the walls. It had hardwood floors and the living room had two windows that I could open up and let the fresh air in.
The kitchen wasn’t really much to talk about but who cares. It had the important things. An old stove, but it did work, an icebox, and a small red table with two steel chairs. The living room came with a sofa and there was one over-stuffed chair. It had seen better days and had a couple of tears in it. I didn’t care. I took my parents bed blanket and threw it over it. Every time I sat in it, I would think of Mama and Papa.
I had to share a bathroom with two other apartments on my floor. I was the only black man living up here. They weren’t very friendly, but they didn’t bully me either. We just sort of stayed our distance when we would see one another. Sometimes our eyes would meet but quickly part.
I was a happy man. Each morning as I was frying up my bacon I would give thanks to God for one more day. One more chance to teach, one more chance to learn more about life. I lived in this apartment for about four months.
I didn’t get to stay there as long as I had planned on it. I had been teaching that day. It was a day of trials. Kids didn’t turn in homework. They talked too much instead of listening to my voice. I teach fifth grade students, and we all know how restless kids can be at that age.
School was over for the day and I gathered up my books and headed home to fix supper. When I got to my corner of where I lived, I saw my building was on fire. The fire was coming from up high. I just knew in my heart that the smoke was damaging all my belongings as well as I am standing here breathing.
I froze in my steps and I felt tears sliding down my face. I took my red handkerchief out of my back pocket and wiped my eyes. I glanced around at what else was happening. There were blacks and whites fighting in the streets. Some had broken bottles and were trying to hurt others. Where were the police? When had this started? I wept as I was thankful for how far my family had come in life, but I bled tears for the distance we still had to go to learn to accept that we may be of different colors, but on the inside God made us all the same.
What Did I Do Wrong?
Oh how I hated that teacher. She seemed to be on my case all year-long. Any time she could pick on poor little me, she did.
She was a short little lady with red hair. She always wore her hair in the same style all year. I used to wonder if she slept like that, or did she ever wash it. It would be piled way up on her head in curls. It reminded me of an old woman’s hair style, something similar to an old-fashioned beehive.
Along with that red hair was more freckles than I could count on all ten fingers and toes. When I would get called up to the desk, I would stare at her soft, blue Mrs. Clause eyes so I wouldn’t be rude and get caught counting freckles.
I don’t believe I was Teacher’s Pet, although if I twisted my thoughts around, I may have been able to make up a good story about why I was called on so many times. She would tell my Mom at conference time that she moved me several times to get me to shut up.
Evidently it never worked as I heard the same repeat story each meeting teachers and parents met. One day I will never forget is when she must have been having a bad day. Maybe it was PMS or she and her husband had been in an argument the night before. It surely couldn’t have been from a sweet, blonde haired child like me that had made her flip her wig.
I got called up to the desk, a very familiar spot by this time of the year. I don’t remember her words exactly, but I do know thinking on my way up to her desk, I got busted again for talking.
You know, now that I am so much older I have to blame someone for this chatter box I had turned into. Since my Dad made me sit on chairs so often and not speak, I must have discovered my voice box in third grade. I probably was making up for lost voice time.
When I reached that last step and I was standing in front of the blue-eyed, freckled, beehive teacher, she said, What’s it going to take to get you to stop talking Terry? I am sure that I became instantly quiet as I flicked pieces of fuzz or dirt specks off of her desk.
Knowing me, I probably just shrugged my shoulders and said nothing. This teacher who either loved me or was sick of my chatter box did something she had never done the entire school year.
She pulled out a pair of panty hose. She had been so creative by cutting off the one leg. Now she had one long stocking. I think she has stuffed this remaining leg with wads of paper. It made a nice long tail.
She took that darn tail and a safety-pin and made me turn around. She pinned that ugly old thing to the back of my shirt and then she had the audacity to make me wear this all day long.
I can remember the other kids pointing at me and laughing and calling me Tattle Tail the rest of the day. Oh I hated her. I was so embarrassed. No one likes to be chosen as the bad kid or the kid who wouldn’t shut up.
I laugh out loud as I think now to the patience that woman must have had. She could look at me sitting in my chair with those eyes and smile at me, but I could almost see her gritting her teeth because I was the labeled one, the kid who interrupted the class.
When I graduated from high school one day my friends and I were revisiting school years and I brought up the story of my third grade teacher. You know, kids want boundaries. They really do yearn to be guided and disciplined. It is one way the younger generation can count on of being cared about.
I never got it back then, but I will say it over and over that the blue-eyed, red-headed, beehive teacher was my favorite, and I learned the most in her class intellectually. One day my Mom and I were together going somewhere and I pointed out this beautiful plantation style home with the perfectly manicured yard and my Mom told me, That is Mrs. Kehlor’s home, your third grade teacher?
Wow I got a small bit of redness creeping up in my cheeks as I thought back to the days of torment I put her through. Not only was she a great teacher, she had perfect taste in homes too. Years later when I read of her passing, I thought back to the tail I had worn and with tears in my eyes I said to myself, Thank-you Mrs. Kehlor. Thank-you for putting up with me and being the best darn teacher I ever had.
This one is an easy answer for me. I have to try it while listening to someone describe it. I went to college. I tried following a long in the books but it didn’t work. I took notes and then went home and read the chapters alone in a quiet atmosphere. I made more notations and then saved them.
I can’t read and learn at the same time. I always thought I may have some disability with comprehension. I have to read something, highlighting what I think is was important. Then I would go back and dissect it to learn.
I would take my notes back to class and pick-up more key notes but even then, I would wait until the night before a test and pull out all of my notes and study. This is how I learn anything.
If I have bought something that needs put together I will toss the directions to the side. I will try to put it together from my eye’s view first. Only if I don’t succeed within a reasonable amount of time will I glance over the photograph descriptions, never reading the words.
I know it sounds strange but this is how I learn. I don’t like reading that well unless it has grabbed my attention in the first couple of pages. Research is another thing that gets me excited. I love to research. Since I love antiques, I will spend many hours looking at every thing I can find. This is a major thrill to me.
Everything I have learned about antiques through the years has been done by research and hands on training. I don’t know if I do have a weird way of learning but at my age, who cares. They say you learn the most in your first five years of life. Now I look at anything new I learn is definitely a bonus.
Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?
This prompt was an easy one for me. I will never forget third grade. If my teacher was still living I would go back to her and thank her.
Third grade, how old was I back then? Maybe around 8 or 9? I was spreading my wings, not my angel wings. The wings between my lips. Talking, this is what I learned to do so well. I talked any chance I had.
I talked during class when I should have been quiet. I talked by answering too many questions the teacher was asking, not always knowing the answers. You could not shut me up!
I can remember my grandma, by the way, Happy Birthday Grandma, today you are 96! Anyways, grandma used to love to hear me talk, she would shine the spotlight on me by telling my mom, look she does have a mouth. She is talking. I guess from what I had been told and from what my memory tells me, I used to be very shy.
I shook my head quite often for answering. I didn’t say much at all. I was very quiet and even played quietly. Something happened and I did a turn-a-bout.
My teacher must have gotten tired of me interrupting class and having to reprimand me so much that one day when everyone else got to go to mid day recess, I was asked to remain behind. I don’t remember being afraid, but I bet I was.
After the last student left the room, she called me up to her desk. I remember her pulling this long nylon thingy out of her desk drawer. She held it up. It seemed to be it was longer than her arm’s length.
She explained to me that she had exhausted every means to have me quiet. She explained to me about being rude, speaking when others are talking. Raising my hand, asking for permission was a more democratic way to speaking.
She told me how proud she was of me for opening the buds on the roses, but there was a time and place for everything. She taught me that being a listener was a much better asset than being a talker.
She called me over to stand by her. When I was next to her she asked me to turn my back to her. I did as I was told. She took a large safety-pin and she pinned this nylon thingy to the back of my shirt.
She turned me around and said that this was a reminder. This would help me to think before speaking. To raise my hand first to talk. She said that when I thought about telling on someone, which back then was called a tattle tail, I would feel the long tail pinned on me and think twice.
To this day I will never forget the valuable lesson she taught me. Respect and being polite to others. Letting others voice their thoughts completely before voicing my own. I remember the kids laughing at me periodically through the day, but that vanished when the next exciting thing happened in class.
I still try hard to remember my manners today. I wait and listen to what you have to say. I don’t chatter a lot, but do love to talk. A few years back I even took a class in college for public speaking. I learned to love it. It was a chance for me to speak. To have the floor be my audience for three minutes.
Now it has been a while and I am once again shy speaking in front of others. An opportunity has risen where I could be back on that speaking stage again. With encouragement of so many friends on here, I have decided to speak to an audience once again where I will be reading one of my short stories or poems.
Life moves on, but most of our memories remain with us. The memory of this class hopefully remains fresh for years to come. People are important. Whether they are friends, or business associates or family. Respect is the biggest gift we can give to another human. Thank-you third grade teacher for teaching me such valuable life lessons.