In honor of Women's History Month, a brief selection of:
Terrifying Women From My Past
--E.G., dance teacher: My first and entirely formative experience of ballet. She brooked NO SHIT, she gave no quarter, she taught ballet old-skool style and if your three-year-old ass couldn't handle it, you could just tippy-toe on out of there. After this, I couldn't really deal with the kind of classes that were all touchy-feely, do-what-you-like, hippie low-standards crap -- E.G. permanently ruined my ability to regard any kind of dance other than classical ballet (taught, practiced & performed at the highest level) as anything but amateur hour waste-of-time hogwash. Incidentally, her first name made my top three for my daughter's potential names. Innnnnteresting.
--L.S., music teacher: Made E.G. look like goddamn Carol Brady with the forgiveness and nurturing ... L.S. was the music teacher for my elementary school and also the music director at my church, so I got a double dose of her during the xmas pageant and the Easter shows. You know how little kids wriggle around, and sing off-key & out of tune, and generally kind of fart around in class? NOT IN HER CLASS, BUCKO. She kept the kind of order Hitler would have creamed his khakis over. And we always had to do terrifying things -- sing all the verses of the national anthem, solo, a cappella, and sans lyric sheet, in front of the class; recite the scales (bass & treble) forward and backward; sign our names to the BAD BOOK if we fucked up. She kept it on her piano. No one EVER got to sign the GOOD BOOK (except maybe Berwie once?). She FIRED US ALL from the second-grade musical for not knowing the words to all the songs without our books in the second week of rehearsals -- cancelled the fucking show, just like that. And you better believe, when it came to costuming for these shows -- church or school -- the moms hopped right the fuck to it and did it exactly to spec. They were scared of her, too. Oddly enough, her first name made the top-three list as well. What is WITH me?
--C.D.'s mom, L.: So unlike my own mom, and I never could tell if she was serious or not, and she was usually serious. C was an only child, and as such, got her mom's Full Attention, and No Wiggle Room. She's one of my mom's best friends now, and I genuinely enjoy her company, but man, back in the day ...
--Mrs. L., fourth grade teacher: Austere, severe, she met her every goal ... in contrast to my lovely sweet third grade teacher, Miss B., Mrs. L. was like a stone wall with dragons for eyes. This year was was a weeder year, the year when kids started falling out to other tracks -- and if you wanted to be a Track 1 kid, you did it her way. I was scared of her, I hated her guts (I believe this is when I learned the word "battle-axe"), and yet in the end, she became one of my favorite teachers of all time, and remains a friend to this day.
--S.S., friend of my older cousin: Rich, pretty, from a big and locally-prominent family, the members of which were all verbal scrappers/fighters/one-uppers. She thought nothing of tripping a little kid like myself -- physically or with words. She liked to play nasty tricks and call out your shortcomings whenever there was an audience. Taught me valuable lessons about that kind of person and how to spot them and keep them out of your life.
Labels: deep thoughts, grudging admiration, life 101, rando, surprises in the attic, yes Sensei