Monday, June 28, 2010

Memory Monday....Tales of a Fourth Grade Dill Pickle

I so perfectly remember this dress, with all its peachy granduer. The seperate vest, the tie, I remember it all.  But, can we discuss my hair?  Again....I just don't know what is happening.  Though, it does have a lovely golden shine. No?
FALL 1981

Oh my sweet friends in rainbow shirts, and what's that I see, pantyhose and heels on the girl in the front row?  WHAT?  I'd like to point out, that cute blond in the second row, third one in from the right...totally Chris Kilpatrick, of the first grade chasing fame.  He had long since given up chasing me at this point.  Boo.  That girl, just to the right of Chris K.  Her name was Country.  That's wierd, right?  And that boy in the second row, 2nd one in from the Left...I always thought he looked just like a lion.  Something about his features reminded me of a lions face.  And for total randomness sake....boy on the front row (Alan) 2nd one in from left...he's a farmer in Nebraska now.  I know, so random right?  Wonder which one is a drug dealer, a perv, a lawyer, etc.  Would be so interesting to know.

Oh 4th grade, how I loved thee, and how my life changed.....let me count the ways: And be forewarned...this was an EPIC year.  You could win a prize for getting through this.  Or perhaps, just break it up, read it over the course of two days.  I'm just sayin.

1. This was the year of Mrs. Jarvis.  The GREATEST teacher of alllllllll times!  She was something truly special.  When you are asked, what one teacher made the greatest impact and influence on your life...she will be the TOP of my list EVERY time!  She was FUNNY, and talented and loving and quirky and just so wonderful.  I'll never forget her hideous denim hat that she would wear sometimes.  She informed us if she wore the hat, it was because she just hadn't washed her hair.  This fascinated me so much.

2.  On our first day of class she informed us all that she was epileptic, and that it was quite possible she could have a seizure at any time.  She gave us instruction on exactly what we were to do in case of such a thing.  She had it down to a science.  Luckily, we never had to respond to a seizure that year.  But it definitely did happen at school, in class in other years.

3.  She had been married, and divorced and remarried and then divorced again to the same man.  She had one son, and he was her pride and joy. They had lived in the Phillipines for a period of time and she would tell us stories about it.  She would talk about how the people would just whiz right there on the side of the road.  No bathroom necessary.  And she referred to their hoo hoo dillys as "their plumbing."  I had NO IDEA she was talking about their you know whaties.  That whole "plumbing" thing flew right over my 8 year old head.  BUT, she was just so funny and engaging in her story telling, it didn't matter.

4.  For some odd reason, perhaps I can blame it on meany Ms. Bohmer, I came into 4th grade with an apparent chip on my shoulder.  In fact....Mrs. Jarvis, bless her....named me her dill pickle.  And you know what, for mannnny years after that, she would name a new "dill pickle" and tell them that I was her original dill pickle.  Apparently, I was a bit sour.  I wish I knew what happened, or what exactly I was like.  But, I do know that I recently found a paper i'd written for that class (yes, I DO have work from elementary school still in boxes) and the entire thing was a "story" about Polly the Hippo, and upon was CLEARLY autobiographical about how I felt.  Sort of made me sad.

5. But, due to my dill pickleness, and the fact that in spite of it, I was still my awesome self...she loved me!  I got to help take down bulletain boards and be her helper a lot.  Totes made me feel so special.

6.  This is the year "Where the Red Fern Grows" was introduced.  She was a BRILLIANT out loud reader, and we could NOT WAIT for daily reading time.  She read that book, and I cried!  We watched the movie, I cried some more.  She also made up this very elaborate scarey story that she would tell us a little more of every day.  It was so cool and suspenseful.

7.  Judy Blume......Are you There God It's Me Margeret.  Nuff  Said.

8.  At this tender age of 8 - 9 I started wearing my first bra.  Yeah folks, I was an early developer!  If you must know, totally got my first bra at Montgomery Wards. WOW, I can see the whole store and buying it right now.  WIERD!  It (this whole booby thing) was really too much.  And right along with that.....this is the year that I became accutely aware of my weight.  And I can still tell you EXACTLY how much I weighed every year from then until my senior year in highschool!  They had the cruel practice of gathering the entire class into the nurses office.  There would be the giant doctors scale, set up in the middle of the room.  With the entire class, in a line, one by one we'd walk up and stand on that scale.  And as you stood, the nurse would CALL OUT your weight to someone writing it down.  So, the entire class was now aware of your weight.  Don't even worry.  At 9 years old, I weighed 99 lbs.  Let me tell you, that was HUMILIATING when most of your classmates weighed in at a dainty 70 something.  Scarred much?  Nope, not me!

9.  We got to choose to play in band or orchestra this year.  For whatever reason (which apparently shall always remain a mystery) I was dead set on playing the clarinet.  WHY didn't my Mom fight me to play flute, or violin (ok, I get why not on that one)?  At least those instruments are useful and can be used in so many ways.  But NO, clarinet it was!  We went on down to Milanos Music and purchased me a shiny new clarinet, with a lovely blue velvety inner lining in the case.  Our band teacher was this little hobbit of a man named Mr. Papinau.  He had the bulgiest eyes I've ever seen, and curly hair.  But, i digress.  So, off I went on my clarinet playing adventure.  I stuck with it until 9th grade.  But, I could honestly say, I was never that good, and I can't play a note today, or remember anything about how to play it.  SAD!

10.  We had a system of check marks.  If you got a check mark you got some punishment, like no recess, or whatever.  Well...we had a student teacher, her name was Miss Cross.  I distinctly remember her teaching us about how to properly wash our hands. I kid not...I still think about her and her demonstration to this day.  Anyway, I didn't so much care for her. (recall the Dill pickle title) she WASN'T Mrs. Jarvis.  And you should learn this NOW about me.  I don't do change.  I like things how they are s'posed to be.  So anyway, one day, who knows WHAT she did, but it apparently angered me, 'cause I totally stuck my tongue out at her.  TO HER BACK!  Except, she happened to turn around and catch me...and I.....Got.....a.......checkmark!  It was horrifying.  A CHECKMARK by my name!  Needless to say, I kept my tongue "in check" from there on out.

11.  I began babysitting for people at this age.  I know right? WHAT kind of CRACK were these parents on? In my defense (tongue sticking out aside) I was pretty mature for my age.  I looked older, i certainly talked older.  I DREAMED about babysitting!  I SALIVATED over the idea of it.  I would literally daydream about watching kids and cleaning these peoples houses.  Ferreal?  How wierd is that?  So, this family with THREE kids finally gave me my big chance.  At the age of EIGHT I started babysitting.  The first time was at night and it was ok.  The second time was on a Saturday afternoon, and it was so hard.  I remember sitting on their couch, hearing all these kids outside playing and doing Saturday things.  I called my mom totally crying, because I was stuck inside babysitting.  I don't remember what she said, but i can imagine it went a little like this..."well, suck it up wanted to do this.  Lifes not fair.  Now, carry on." hahaha  But, i did get over it, and  I was THE saught after sitter for a very LONG time.  And I always LOVED it!

12. Fractions = total nervous breakdown.  There we were again, taking those darn CAT tests.  And wouldn't you know....a whole section of fractions.  As we all + math = catastrophe!  Man, I can still feel the utter terror that overtook me as I turned to that page.  I had NO IDEA what to do.  I totally cried.  My scores on those tests were always WAY off the charts, several grade levels ahead on everything but math.  On math I always scored under my grade level.  Told no likey mathy.

13. I remember vividly Mrs. Jarvis tellling us about these new fangled things called computers.  And that someday, EVERY kid would have a computer at school, and they would do their work on there.  And eventually, teachers could be replaced by these strange contraptions.  It was 1981...the concept was soooo foreign, it barely registered.  Except apparently, I totally stuffed that info. in the recesses of my brain, 'cause I'm remembering it now. Hell by 1996 when I got home from my mission...computers were around, but the internet was in its infancy.  So, ol' Mrs. jarvis was prophesying of things WAYYYY in the future for sure.

14.  Even at that age, I was a long winded writer.  I remember my Mom or someone telling me I should become a writer.  We had to write an autobiography and I think mine was about 10 pages long or more, in 4th grade!  We also did State reports that year.  I sure learned a lot about good ol' AZ. Did you know....we were the copper capital?  State bird...a roadrunner.  State tree...palo verde. What else do you want to know?  Shoot, I probably still have that report in the same box as Polly the Hippo.

15. 'Twas the year of the SICK!  I was gone for nearly a month of school.  It started out with the flu, which turned into bronchitus, and JUST when I was getting over that....disaster!  The WORST case of the chicken pox EVER!  This was my second round of "the pox" 'cause evidently the little case as a 2year old wasn't good enough.  Boy howdy, I made up for it and THEN SOME!  I had them everywhere, throat, mouth, name it.  In fact, I shall favor you with the horror of it all in pictures.

Could I look more miserable?  I submit that I could NOT.  Thanks Jer for censoring the bubbies.  Ewww, chicken pox were just disgusting!

Don't EVEN be jealous of my totally hot blue flowered granny panties!  And I KNOW you're totally dying for that green/yellow plaid wall paper!  And no worries, it was ON the ceiling too.  WHAT?  We were the height of fashion in 1978 when we moved in there. 

16.  In retrospect, perhaps why I loved Mrs. Jarvis so much, and why she was soo good at what she did was...she was also an actress and a singer.  Though at the time I had NO idea my aptitude for the stage, I certainly enjoyed it.  In fact, perhaps it was around this time that my Mom started telling me all the time that 1.  I was so DRAMATIC, and 2. I was stirring up to many molecules.  No, for real, that is waht she said.  No matter what my sister Jenny and I were doing.  We could both be laughing, messing around, whatever, and inevitably, I was the one who got yelled at and told to settle down because "You're stirring up too many molecules."  I've come to recognize that that jusst presence and spirit are just too much for a room at times.  I have a nephew that totally "stirs too many molecules."  I get it now.  ANYWAY...Mrs. jarvis...actress.  The summer after 4th grade, she starred in South Pacific in our local community theatre; and imagine my surprise, and shock and dismay and awe to see it was her...MY TEACHER up there on the stage.  Singing and dancing and acting.  It was awesome!

Oh 4th grade.  You were good to me.  You taught me much.  Not the least of which was...attitude is everything. AND you CAN be too young to get boobs.

Dill pickles and plumbing,


POST SCRIPT:  Mrs. Jarvis did end up getting married again, a few years later. She had a little girl.  But, as it turns out, the husband was gay.  They got divorced, he has aids, and ran away to Europe with their daughter.  But before is gay/aids came out, her son "shot himself" under very suspicious circumstances.  Only person around was the step brother (son to the gay man) and really, they think he shot him.  Anyway, her son lived, but he's essentially a barely functional, mentally little child.  SO SAD!  Apparently, her taste in men was NOT the best.  Which is so tragic, as she is so amazing.  SEE, I told ya.....EPIC!

CONGRATS on finishing!


LadyCarma said...

What an amazing memory you have! I love reading your "stories."

But I do believe Clark had the worst case of chicken pox that I ever saw. He was four months old, Erlynne had contacted them at school, then Dallin had them, about seven spots total and not bothered at all, and then Clark, the nursing baby, got them. He had over 100 spots on just his face. I know because I counted them when he was nursing. He even had them in his ears. I couldn't put a pin between the spots on his little chest, and the diaper area was a total mass. His case was so bad the doctor prescribed medicine to help him heal from the inside. He was the sweetest, pox-covered baby through it all!

Jenn C. said...

WoW you remember so many details! How great to write them all down. I also started babysitting at age 8 and now I look at my Emma and I cannot believe that anyone trusted an 8 yr. old to watch 4 children! We must have been amazing 8 yr. olds!

The Atomic Mom said...

Oh my gosh! We were livivng parallell lives sista! Really. And here is the deal with Ms Jarvis, she and my mom were friends from Mesa Musical Theather. Her son Larry was always in my class over at Eisenhower Elem and he was so mean to me. I always wondered how he could be so mean when his mom was so nice. She was Nelly in South Pacific at MMT one year and I loved her too!

So in second grade Larry convinced me that the Death Star was real and was coming to blow up earth. I was very upset about it. I told my uncles who were about 10ish years older than me at the time. They told me to tell Larry to 'shut up' which as you can imagine was a trez-bad word at our house. So I told him to shut up, and then he snitched to my mom and I got in trouble. I could never win with Larry.

Ok, but most of this year, I was living my self in 3rd grade over at Eisnehower...the stress of fractions, bras from Montgomery Wards, the wonder we are friends!


reasonably chubby said...

Hey there! I loved your story about 4th grade. I can't believe you were babysitting at 8 years old-that is hilarious! Especially daydreaming about cleaning people's houses and watching their kids. Hahaha! Obviously you were meant to be a mama! :)That really is so sad about your teacher's personal life. Just goes to show how important choosing the right mate is--what a blessing to have had such a terrific teacher!

Natalie said...

My Mrs. Jarvis was Mrs. Blanchette....4th grade was my favorite year of school ever for several reasons that you also listed!!

I didn't get chicken pox till 7th grade...but it was horrible...I got them EVERYWHERE. Everywhere. Horrible....

The Urban Cowboy said...

Fourth grade was awesome for me as well. Fortunately I had chicken pox a couple years earlier.

Andrea said...

How do you know all these things about her personal life? I too loved Mrs. Jarvis! She was one of my favorites! Thanks for the memories!

Crandell Fam said...

Wow, you may possibly have the greatest steel trap of a brain I've ever encountered! Seriously, where do you keep it all?? I can't remember even a 1/4 of that stuff. But I, too, had Mrs. Jarvis and LOVED her!! Apparently she turned mean and horrible and was one of the worst teachers a few years down the road, which would make sense if you think about her poor life. Seriously, that's just a lot of tragedy for one person to endure. And I nearly peed myself when I saw the "sensored" boobies! HA! Too dang funny!

Kristina P. said...

I can't believe all the stuff you remember. I honestly can't even remember the names of my teachers.

I love your nudie pics.

DianD said...

A steel trap of a mind hardly tells the story! You were storing things in that brain (all catagorized and easily accessed) before you could even talk. You would just hear me mention something, I 'd see the wheels turn and off you'd go to get, do, whatever-it-was that I'd just said! Details, details. I do believe that if you'd had less trauma with early math that you and math wouldn't be such enemies. You were great at building walls for things you didn't get the first time and let me tell you, tearing them down so you could finally get them was a trick!!! What an awesome trip down memory lane! Did you remember that the doctor thought maybe you had "cow" pox instead of chicken pox because they were so large? Be sure you get the "shingles" shot, though. You for sure don't want those with your bout of chicken/cow pox.

Tara LaRue said...

I can't believe it about Mrs. Jarvis' son. That broke my heart to hear of it. She was one of my faves too, also because of the singing. I LOVED hearing her sing. I think of her often. Thanks for shouting out her praises...

Dixiechick said...

I think you and I had a COMPLETELY different Mrs. Jarvis Experience. I think she was right near crazy when she was my teacher--too many awful life experiences in her way and I do believe she was in the middle of her awful gay marriage when she was my teacher. She was Mrs. Isaacs at the time. It was one of my WORST years of school. I remember feeling totally screwed because you all loved her so much. :( I think your edit job on your chicken pox pic is freakin' hilarious and those grandma panties are awesome. You don't still have those in a box somewhere? Yikes! Last but not least, I think your post script facts are a bit off. At least a lot different from what I heard and I was at Redbird getting firsthand information from Ms. Gale--a solid source. But who knows. All very sad.

jen said...

Whew. You weren't kidding when you said "epic." Whew again.
The pox are awful, but the hair from being sick for a month--hilarious.
I'm going to have to remember the "molecules" comment. I have a few around here, as you are fully aware.

erin said...

lets talk about how your granny-panties are ALL the way up to your belly button! haha awesome.

Cookie Mama said...

Oh you have made Mondays marvelous! Is it bad to wrap up FHE a little early so I can read your blog each week? I laughed. I cried. I laughed some more. By the way you had rockn' hair for a 4th grader. I would have guessed that you were more of a sweet pickle, teachers sure can make all the difference.