NORMAN — She was hard and tough. There was only one way to deal with hyperactive boys in 1963. Paddling was her choice to administer swift discipline. Her technique was unusual, to say the least.
She would take a boy and lock his head between her legs. This created an effective headlock. Once in, well, you couldn’t squirm out.
What made matters worse was that the hose she wore on her legs felt like course sand-paper. Needless to say, because of the position you were, in the paddling was optimal and effective.
Once, she got so frustrated with us boys wrapping our lips around the water spigot that she secretly applied some hot ointment around the edges. My mouth burned for a whole week. Of course, I never put my lips on that spigot again.
I suppose you could say that my experience with this teacher was tough. She meant well and did her best.
I had another teacher at the time who was different. Even though I was wiry, excitable, filled with uncertainty, affected by difficulties of a divorce, she, however, was tender-hearted, caring, hugged me when I needed it or just hugged me just because. This moved me beyond words.
However, things didn’t always go perfectly. Once, I was privileged to sit with her during lunch. We had hot dogs that day.
Everything was going splendidly until I shook the ketchup bottle and a stream squirted all over her leg.
Calmly, and with a winning smile, she said, “Are you going to eat my leg Bruce?” I was red-faced and horrified.
Somehow, she always managed to give me her full attention and never tired of my constant demands. When discipline was necessary I felt that she was hurting as much as me. I valiantly tried to please her but failed more times than not.