When I was seventeen years old and still living in the seaside town where I spent my childhood, I would go for a few hours every Sunday morning to the home of a retired teacher of English literature to talk about books. –My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead
In a small one room school in Vermont, I learned a lot from Mrs. Tessier. She was a beautiful woman from New York City, NY, and had a big German Shepard she would bring to school often. He would sit in the desk like a student. She taught much more than English, and we all loved her like a second mom.
I was not always enamored of Mrs. T. When I was in sixth grade I was told by the eye doctor to wear glasses to see the chalk board only. Mrs. Tessier made me wear them constantly, which of course I didn’t like. I’m sure she thought it was best.
The other confrontation we had was about drinking milk. I guess everyone drank milk at lunchtime but me. I grew up on a dairy farm but milk made me sick. My mother used to put molasses in it or cocoa so I could down it quickly. I don’t think she would have made me do that unless Mrs. T. had insisted. I’m not sure what they decided, but every morning I had to stand up in front of everyone and draw a milk bottle on the board for every glass of milk I drank the past day. Naturally that made me love milk even more. To this day I hate the smell and I never drink it.
Don’t get the wrong idea. I loved my teacher. Especially when I was eleven and received what they used to call “my little friend”. Hilarious when you think of that terminology today. But she had all the supplies hidden away in her desk and would take you aside privately and explain what it was and what to do.
Growing up in the country, first to sixth grades with only four people in my class, created a warm family atmosphere. We had a pop belly stove in the corner and you hung your wet from snow jackets and ski pants on a line near it. The only playground equipment was a swing set. I remember the girls used to go to the big trees and the roots were divided rooms for houses and we’d play the whole recess using our imaginations.
English, reading, and penmanship were my favorite subjects. Since all grades were in one room, usually the older students helped the younger ones when needed. All in all I believe I was privileged to have this experience.
Prompt #2025 First Line of the Week – Rebecca Mead