“See that big kid sitting over there? Yeah, him. You need to take a lesson from him and study real hard… you don’t want to be like him. He’s been trying to get out of the sixth grade for years!”
Yeah. That was me. Roberta Ditty likes to tease and I make an easy target. I sit in the lunchroom with the kids when I sub. Sometimes they talk to me; other times they pay little attention in their rush to eat and head out to the playground. And some students, like Callie Z, won’t eat their lunch if I’m anywhere near them.
I remember once I was at Woodland and I sat with my first grade class. The kids were unusually loud that day, maybe because the sun was out and it wasn’t freezing outside. They were going to be allowed outside for recess.
I looked up and down the table and said, “You are going to be really good and not too loud, aren’t you?” They all looked seriously at me and nodded their heads. I pointed to the two sets of cups stacked on the table: a green one on top of a yellow one on top of a red one. Green was good to go, the yellow is a warning… “Too loud!” If red is on top that means everyone loses five minutes of recess.
Including me, I guess.
They all wanted recess. After all, they finally had a warm day and it wasn’t raining; so they all nodded their heads and started eating, drinking and talking. Yep. You guessed it. “My” table was the first table in the lunchroom to get a yellow cup!
Getting back into the classroom a couple months ago brought back tons of memories, one of which had nothing to do with the classroom… well, it did but only because my niece was a second grader there last year. I have no idea why but this Grumpy Old Man seemed to be her favorite relative.
“Would you like to spend the weekend with us?” Auntie asked.
“Will Uncle Bob be there?”
“I wanna go see Uncle Bob!!!”
One weekend I was working on Sunday when she was supposed to go home. She refused to let Auntie take her. “Uncle Bob takes me home.” She was adamant. Finally Auntie called and we agreed she would meet me and I would drive the rest of the way home.
“Are we going to Uncle Bob?” Yes.
“Is he going to drive me home?” Yes.
“My seat has to be moved to Uncle Bob’s car.” No… he’ll drive my car.
“Uncle Bob knows how to drive your car?” Yes.
“Are you sure?” Yes.
Needless to say that was all relayed to me later but her jumping into my arms as soon as she saw me will remain in my memory banks forever. That and a few years later when I was standing at the start of a Beggar’s Night parade and got slammed in the back by some unknown object with two arms wrapped around my midsection.
You guessed it. My niece.
I’m still a prime target every time I sub at Woodland… if I’m not slammed in the back she jumps into my arms. Usually there are other teachers around and I have to grin sheepishly… “She’s my niece,” I say.
Marketing people love to talk about the Golden Years of life. Most of us on the Grumpy Side of 60 know there’s no such thing. One thing most of us do have, however, is a long lifetime of memories.
And some are lucky enough to have a lifetime of memories that don’t stop at 60. I’m one of them… and incredibly blessed!