Wednesday, November 09, 2005

When I was in first grade, Ms. Edna Gray was my teacher. She was an orc, I think, short and squat and perpetually nasty. I remember her as being old but when I just checked the Social Security Death Index it indicates she was only 57, but then I guess that is old to a kid.

I turned seven-years-old when I was in her class in 1970-1971. I sat at the back of the classroom. I remember learning to read with Dick and Jane books from the 1940s, and having a suprisingly difficult time learning the words 'surprise' and 'something.' Mrs. Gray was not a particularly adept teacher, and was confused that I could add in my head, instead of using the little red, white, or blue poker chips that we were supposed to add with. Her response was to whack me on the head with her pen. I remember crying to my mother that afternoon, but my mother was scared of Mrs. Gray, who had already flunked my sister Susan a few years earlier.

Back when she was young; teaching, nursing, and being a librarian were probably the only professions a woman could respectably undertake. I wonder if she would have been less sour if she had the opportunities that women have today?

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