Thursday, September 4, 2008
Tales From Mrs. Loose's Room ~ "It Starts With the Letter 'D'!"
Many of you may not know that I was a first grade teacher in a former life...back when I was young and strong and full of energy! This time of year always makes me think back to those days when I would dust off the chalkboard, line up the little desks in neat rows, make a September calendar with the days numbered on big red apples, and wait for usually around 31 five-six year olds to descend upon my room. There is something about the change in the air, the cool fall breezes, the smell of new text books and crayons that turns my mind back to some pretty funny things that happened in that classroom at Grovecrest Elementary School in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
Autumn especially makes me remember Kalin. He was a cute little guy with freckles on his nose and a butch haircut. October in Utah is deer hunt season and Kalin's Dad was a hunter. One day he stood up for "Show & Tell" with a bundle in his arms. It looked like an old towel and was obviously wrapped around something. I let the students make a game out of the objects of showing if they wanted to. They could give their classmates clues and let them guess what they had brought to share. Kalin said, "It starts with the letter 'D'." I could hear lots of little voices repeating the sound of 'D' under their breath "D-D-D" while they tried to think of what it could be, then the hands went up. After a few guesses of things like "Dog!, Duck!, Dishes!" I told everyone that Kalin could now show us what he brought. He proudly unwrapped his treasure while saying "Deer!" I stood in shock as he held up the front legs of a deer that his father had bagged the day before! They were cut off just above the knee and had enough red stuff on the ends to make them very interesting to little boys. I heard lots of "Eeewww!" from the girls and "Cool!" from the boys as I tried not to lose my breakfast. After allowing sufficient admiration for his prized objects I asked him to wrap them back up and take his seat. "That will never be topped" I told myself.
About a week later I entered my room one morning and noticed a stale smell in the air. Not too odd for a school built in the 1950's or a first grade classroom with attached restrooms, but I kept my room so clean! I forgot the smell as I began the day until the children in a certain area of the room started complaining about a bad smell. Walking past children with plugged noses and waving hands I zeroed in on the source...Kalin's desk. I asked him to pull out the papers and workbooks expecting to find an old lunch bag with a rotting tuna sandwich when a familiar old towel came into view. NO! (but Yes!) There were the rotting deer legs which had brought Kalin so much fame only a week ago! The custodian was called and the legs were placed in a large plastic trash bag and taken away. That has to be the most interesting and disgusting thing that ever happened in Mrs. Loose's room over the years! I am pleased to say that nobody after that ever brought dead animal parts for Show & Tell but that fact did not take away the chill I got everytime I had to inspect a student's desk afterward!