Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Miss Shouse My 5th Grade Teacher

The first female I had a crush on was laid to rest yesterday. Miss Alberta Shouse Kinney was my 5th grade teacher. I wasn't the only boy in class that watched every move she made. I think there were about five or six or us, and it was very secret - we didn't even tell each other we belonged to a secrete Worship Miss Shouse Club.

One time in class she asked me would I like to have a pet pigeon. “Would I ever!” I said something of that effect.

After school that day I walked with her to her apartment. We went down Waterman Street to Atlanta Street, up Atlanta Street, through the downtown area, and after we passed North Park Square the street named changed to Cherokee Street. About four or five blocks down we turned on to Forest Avenue, where her apartment was. Her apartment was in an old two story house, I think that specialized in renting to teachers.

I felt proud walking with the pretty perk lady by all the old and drunk men that seemed to always be in hanging out front of the courthouse.

The night before, somehow she rescued the poor pigeon from being drowned in a downpour rain. She had the bird in a cardboard box with little holes punched in it.

I carried the box with the pigeon home, which was probably close to a two mile walk. We lived in an older house on Manget Street, across from Larry Bell Park, with my grandfather. There was a little bathroom on one end of the back porch. It was the first bathroom before the house was upscale to a inside bathroom. Since no one used the back porch bathroom any longer, I considered it my den.

I put the pigeon in the old bathroom with some bread pieces and closed the door for the night. The next morning I rushed in to feed and water it again and there was only a bunch of feathers. Either a rat or my grandfather’s cat managed somehow to get in and ate it or maybe it escaped.

That morning in class Miss Shouse asked me how the pigeon was doing. I told her the pigeon was doing good (if you consider the pigeon no longer with us as “good”). I felt if I told her the real fate of the bird she would think less of me.

Thinking back I think Miss Shouse reminded me Jane Russell. She was graceful, glamorous, and dark headed, just like Jane the Goddess. Maybe that had something to do with my thoughts.

Either before the pigeon or after it that year, at recess the late Van Calloway shoved me against the fire escape.

When my forehead hit the metal rail or something of the fire escape blood gushed. The impact cut a gash in my forehead. Miss Shouse helped me walk to the second floor to the teacher’s lounge. There she had me lie on a cot and she had some kind of towel on my cut and applied pressure. She sat holding it until my daddy could come and carry me to the old hospital. If I remember correctly, Doctor Haygood closed the wound with five or six stitches. After the bandages were removed my forehead looked something like the Frankenstein Monster, which wasn’t bad for an attention-getter.

With me getting the full concerned attention of my teacher made my pain go away. I knew when daddy came in quickly the pleasure was over.

At the time Daddy was the Chief of the Marietta Police. The Marietta Daily (except Sunday) Journal had young male reporter by the name of Bill Kinney. Daddy took Bill with him on the biggest moonshine raid ever in Cobb County. The still was about where Wal-Mart, just north of Windy Hill Road, is now. I heard rumors that Bill got tipsy by the smell of the shine. Bill Kinney was courting Miss Shouse and she soon became Mrs. Kinney.

Not long ago, I emailed Bill Kinney and told him about the pigeon episode and confessed his wife thought the pigeon was well cared for and I didn’t have the heart to tell her otherwise. He understood.

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