Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Nell Episode

In high school one year for my math teacher I had was an extremely high strung woman. I have heard tales of her over reactions to class room pranks and so forth – so, I figured my days were numbered. I heard one time when someone put a dead squirrel in her desk she almost went insane and did all the could do to hunt down the guilty boys and have them pay severely.

Because I feared her to be a mad woman I was very good in her class – I was afraid not to be.

About the same time I had her my mind developed its own little formula on how to go for math problems – it was rather quick and simple. I would deal in the big blocks, then quickly break it down. Like if someone asked what is 304 plus 297… my mind would generate something like, “lets see… we have two 300 blocks, so it would six hundred plus 4, (the 4 of 304) and then 3 less (297), so, it would be the 600 plus 4 minus 3, so that would equal 601… that is the very basic of it all, but the questions got more complex than that, but I was on a roll and could churn out the answer within a second after asked the question. I amazed this high strung teacher – she kept asking my questions verbally and as she finished the last word I told her the answer instantly…. The way she looked at me, one could almost think she found her true love.

Then, for what, I don’t remember, but some trouble I got into during in the halls and I had to stay after school that day. And this it was this teacher’s time to mother over the detention kids that had to stay after school.

Nobody got into trouble that day but me so just this teacher and I had a whole hour to ourselves, talking about our wants, fears, funny things that happened, and so on. You might say it was quality time. We got to know each other very well, and I told her things I wouldn’t expect her to tell and she told me things she would expect me not to tell.

Which I honored, all but one little item, which I didn’t think to be a big thing, so I told a friend. What it was she told me her given name was Nell. She said one time when she was in high school she had a crush on a boy and one day he made fun of her name Nell with a bunch of other boys, which hurt her very much and she has never liked her name since.

I didn’t tell the romance part, but I did tell a friend that she was ashamed of her name Nell. A day or two later I was regretting what I told my friend. I betrayed my close-friend-teacher’s confidence.

We were sitting in class as usual. It was the period people go to lunch. That period was 90 minutes long, each class had an appointed 30 minute segment for lunch.

Then, from a patch of woods outside her window I heard a teenage boy’s voice holler out “NELL!” Then another teenager hollered out “NELL!” And in the trees they were singing all kinds of songs substituting Nell instead of the right name. The teacher was glaring at me. I felt two inches high.

One hollered out “Nell blew the Pinto!” and another voice hollered out, “You say Nell gave the horse a blowjob?” At this, the teacher went into uncontrollable shakes.

That was near the end of the school year, so I don’t really remember my consequence or punishment for telling my friend that – or really, don’t think I was punished.. It was in the school year book that her name was Nell, so maybe they decided there was not much they could do to me, since someone else were doing the hollering, and her name was in the yearbook for everybody to see.

However, I felt rotten and she hated me. Our new relationship became very formal…. No sharing or thoughts or no more of quick thinking math answers… it was over, I just had to wait the year out.

Did I recognize the voices doing the hollering? Yes.

I did learn to honor what people tell you in confidence, do not betray that, or you are betraying your trust…. Which might be the only good that came over it.

In 1998, one of Anna’s aunts died and we spent a couple of evenings at the funeral home. One evening there was the teacher Nell mingling and shaking hands and hugging Anna’s relatives. I think she went to the same Methodist Church as the deceased. So, I went over to her and called her by Mrs her- name and was about to tell her who I am and get ready for a big hug, like other people who hadn’t seen me a long time…. Before I finished my introducing myself she snapped at me, “I know who you are!” without smiling, and turned back around to talk to some more folks.

That was about 39 or 40 years after the Nell incident.

Darn! Talk about holding a grudge!



Blogger Christa said...

Sounds like she should've changed her name ;)
I agree about the trust and that there are things we should keep to ourselves. Guess it's not always that easy to know while you're growing up and we do learn from our mistakes.
Well...most of us do anyway.

11:54 AM  
Blogger ET said...

I'm still learning - by the time I am 105 I am going to have a find set of brains.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

lol...well, that's what our entire life seems to be about - learning :)
And that's all good as long as people are willing to keep learning.
Some believe that when they've reached a time in their life, they know it all...which couldn't be more wrong.

1:28 AM  
Blogger ET said...

The only thing is I would rather learn from somebody's mistakes, not my own.

3:49 AM  

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