When I was in fourth grade at R.C. Andrews school in Floydada, Texas, I had a teacher who didn’t like me very much. From day one she scowled at me and never let up. She might also have been scowling at the other students in my class, but her disdain felt pretty personal to me.
She was the first teacher who did not praise my early attempts at writing. I cannot recall a single positive word she ever wrote on a paper I turned in, only criticisms in bright red marks across the page.
Not long enough!
You used the word love to describe your feelings for your dog and your new shoes. We only use that word for people.
Heck, I know I loved my dog, and those shoes were certainly P. F. Flyers that made me run faster and jump higher. Who wouldn’t love shoes that could do all that?
She once criticized me for using a word that she said was too big for me to understand.
Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.
Of course I later learned that Mark Twain said that, and it makes perfect sense. But in my defense, I did understand the word: voluptuous. I used it in context, too. Perhaps that was the problem.
Floydada was, and remains, a small town. As an adult and a retired teacher I’ve speculated that perhaps this teacher held some grudge against one or both of my parents. Maybe even against my grandparents. And I received the brunt of it.
All I wanted was a little love from her, and if not love, just a little respect.
Take it away, Ms. Aretha Franklin: