When I began first grade, after being a kindergarten drop-out, I had an old, mean, worn out giant of a woman for a teacher named Mrs. Jones. She could easily have played the part of ‘The Amazonian Woman’ or ‘The Creature From The Black Lagoon‘. She was scary and seemed to take great delight in scaring small children. What a perfect match for first grade!
Well, I had been around Mother long enough and put up with her fits of rage that Mrs. Jones did not terrify me.Her favorite punishment was to send the offender into the cloak room. A cloak room was a closet of sorts where all the little children put their coats, mittens, boots etc. It was actually quite large and had a window. So, if the old bitch (Mrs. Jones) wanted to scare and punish you, she would send you to the cloak room.
For some reason, I spent more than my fair share of time in the room. Mrs. Jones would order me into the dreaded cloak room and I would head there. She never turned the light on but since there was a window, it wasn’t pitch black. I didn’t mind being there because it was quiet and it was a break from all the first grade nonsense. All those incessant worksheets made me crazy.
I spent my time going through everyone’s pockets and examining the treasures they had hidden there. Now, I always put the items back and made sure to keep an eye on the door in case Mrs.Busybody had tried to sneak up on me. I had been known to steal but only from mother’s purse for the much needed peanut brittle and from the Girl Scout troop mother sponsored. After all, I did have my standards!
Mother never cared about all the time I spent in the cloak room. After all, she wasn’t the one being punished. I was smart enough to seldom mention the punishment because mother was so unpredictable that you never knew when she might decide putting my sister Abby and me in a closet was a great way to get even with us.
One particular afternoon, mother came to the school for her Girl Scout troop meeting. Mrs. Jones always had the students line up at the cloak room door where she would dismiss us when she was certain we were all lined up like little soldiers. Well, here came Mother who grabbed me from the line and told me to get upstairs to the meeting room where she could keep her eye on me. I knew the old bitch, Mrs. Jones, would be pissed.
The next thing I knew, up the stairs flew the giant teacher to grab me and drag me downstairs to line up in the cloak room. Mother was busy with her Girl Scouts but after the meeting came down to question Mrs. Jones. It was a battle of the meanies and I guess you would call it a draw. Mrs. Jones proved her point by making me stand at attention in the cloak room for an hour and Mother proved her point by trying to over-yell the teacher/enforcer.
The truth is that I wasn’t intimidated by either Mother or the Enforcer. Even though I was only six years old, I knew that this was another of those life experiences that made life interesting. It wasn’t every day that your teacher and your mother got into a knock down drag-out yelling match! Might make an interesting chapter for a book. Or maybe I would even write a blog someday…