Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Nineteenth: Ms. Morrow

Although, the majority of school levies didn't win a majority in elections in my hometown, there was one year during the 70s when the kids won big. That's when our small district built an annex when I was in elementary school. The annex was both a new building and a bridge between the lower grades and the upper. One side was for sixth grade classrooms and the other side was for the superintendent's office, a science lab and home economics with Ms. Morrow.

In the beginning of high school, Ms. Morrow, was one of my favorite teachers--and not just because she was around six and a half feet tall, but that impressive height didn't hurt. She paid attention to us and didn't assume we'd be a carbon copy of the siblings that came before. (When you're the runt, everyone hopes you'll be a reproduction of their favorite member of your family. And I spent my early life proving them all wrong.) It's possible she was the first teacher to actually see me.

My favorite memory of her was when we were in the midst of our sewing unit--when Ms. Morrow, would compliment me on my posture at the sewing machine and my straight seams. And then when my bud T and I, teamed up to bake muffins with a jelly center. Ms. Morrow, taught us what the term "elbow grease" meant. And what SOS Pads were created for.

But then a new girl moved into town. She appeared confident, worldly, attractive and slightly dangerous. Teresa Parker, was a foster child who had been sent to a family, well known for questionable activities and wild foster children. One day, in Home Ec, Teresa turned to the students at her table and suggested walking out, skipping. And there it is . . . my corruption had begun? She was our Fagin? Or the time was ripe, during this time of history? Or all of the above?

Sadly, Ms. Morrow, decided to give me an ultimatum. Perhaps believing our relationship was strong enough. But, of course, she was wrong, and our relationship was never the same. But I'll never forget that first teacher who seemed to see me, while underestimating the world's push and pull on all of us during that time.

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