Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Trouble in school: memoir 9

sassy in high school
As a junior in high school, my grades suffered from absences -- I ditched a lot to stay home and read -- but most likely from arrogance. Why did English teachers assign boring pop-quizzes? I titled one, "Paragraph-ology," a made-up word to show my defiance then sat in the back row, slumped and angry. For three pages I blathered in flowery penmanship with arrows, dashes, and smiley faces.
     The teacher wasn't amused. She responded in red ink with an F at the top of the page: "You need to get yourself some study habits. All you needed to know to pass this test were the main sub-headings in your chapter. Didn't you look at them?"
     The next composition I kept short and sweet, just half a page with lots of exclamation points. In it, I imagined one of my ancestors, a Danish Viking, as he staggered into a tavern drunk and shouting. I trailed off, not knowing how to end the thing.
     More red ink. "Incomplete. Work reflects lack of preparation." Well, at least my grade improved: D- for this one.
     Then more trouble. The principal called some of us girls into his office and made us kneel on the floor. The year was 1968. Our hems hung half-an-inch above the linoleum, so he sent us home. Outraged by this injustice, because other girls got away with minis, we led a revolt. We returned to school in midis that fell to our shins. A photo in our yearbook shows our line-up from the knees down.
     Long skirts and funky shoes. The rebels had spoken!

Photo [above]: I'm in the center, wearing turquoise, my favorite color.  From BLUE SKIES: ONE AUTHOR'S JOURNEY, to be published this Fall.

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