I went to kindergarten in 1977. Sure, it was a long time ago but that doesn’t mean I’m old. I’m not old. I’m young. And pretty. My kindergarten teacher Mrs. E., however, was old. Very old. O.L.D. Old. I know what you’re thinking – You were only 5 years old in kindergarten. You probably thought everyone was old. Yes, I was only 5 years old when I started kindergarten. And, yes, I did think certain people, like <gasp!> my parents were old. But even at 5 years of age, I knew that Mrs. E. was old. Older than my parents. Maybe older than some ancient civilizations. OK, maybe not that old. But I was pretty sure she was older than Captain Stubing from The Love Boat.
Last year I pissed off amused my friends by posting my kindergarten class picture on my Facebook page. After I posted the photo, I couldn’t help but wonder…what ever happened to Mrs. E.? Well, she probably retired from teaching. Then, I’m guessing, she bit the dust. Kicked the bucket. Died. Because she was really old.
I now live in the same school district that I grew up in. My kids will be going to some of the same schools I attended. They won’t be attending my old elementary school because it no longer exists as a school. In 1982, it closed due to decreased enrollment and the grade levels were reconfigured within the remaining 4 schools in the district. At the end of this 2009-2010 school year, our district will close another elementary school due to decreased enrollment and the grade levels will be reconfigured within the remaining 3 schools in the district. Holy deja vu man! At this rate, our school district will be nothing more than a one room classroom for all grade levels a la Little House on the Prairie.
A few weeks ago the school district had a special celebration to honor this soon-to-be-closed school. Current and former teachers, students and the community were all invited to this event. My kids and I went to the celebration to take a last look around the school before the wrecking ball comes and smashes it to bits. While there, I noticed a very old woman walking down the hall. She was wearing a name tag, probably so she wouldn’t forget her own name. But as she got closer, I was able to read the name tag and it said, “Former Teacher Mrs. E.”.
“HOLY CRAP MRS. E., YOU’RE NOT DEAD!” is what I shouted when I saw her. But she was too far away to hear me. Or she didn’t hear me because she was old and deaf. I walked up to her, introduced myself and told her that in 1977, I was one of her kindergarten students. She apologized for not remembering me. Then she looked at me and said, “What are you and all of these people doing in my living room?” Then she kept babbling. And beatboxing. But I wasn’t really listening…I was busy counting the wrinkles on her face to figure out her age. Or does that only work with tree trunks? After staring at her wrinkly face I concluded:
(1) Mrs. E. was really really old.
(2) Maybe Botox isn’t such a bad idea.
As we wrapped up our conversation, Mrs. E. asked if she could give me a hug. I couldn’t say no to her. Seriously, I couldn’t – she was old and deaf and wouldn’t have heard me say no. So she reached over and gave me a hug.
Then she lost her balance, fell and broke her hip.*
As the paramedics carried her away, she turned to me and said, “Did you know I boinked Grover Cleveland?” Then she started singing show tunes. And then she was gone. Gone as in, the paramedics took her away. Not gone as in, dead. Not yet. She was still alive and I just had to share the news with others. So where do you go when you want to share important news? Facebook.
This was my Facebook status update:
Hey friends, I just saw our old kindergarten teacher Mrs. E.! She didn’t remember me but that’s ok…she’s pretty old.
*Disclaimer: No old people were harmed during the embellishment of this blog post.