FROM SEPTEMBER 20, 2010
Miss Lawrence was my first grade teacher. I loved that woman. She looked a little like Carol Burnett – tall, thin, friendly face. She was encouraging to us youngsters. She always had good things to say. Well, most always.
I was a good little kid. I was a good first grader, and polite. Miss Lawrence liked me, too. I was one of her favorites.
One afternoon, we were reading aloud the Weekly Reader or something. We took turns reading. Miss Lawrence would call on us, one by one to read a paragraph. At one point, she said, “David, please read the next paragraph.” So, naturally I began to read aloud.
She turned her head, looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “Shut up.” She then turned to the other David in the class, sitting on the opposite side of the room and said, “Please continue.”
Wow. Talk about hurt feelings. Add to that the incredible fear I suddenly had. Miss Lawrence just yelled at one of her prize students. For the first time. And all I did was what she told me to do. So I kept my mouth shut the rest of the day.
At some point that afternoon, I became overcome by the urge to use the bathroom. I’m not sure if I was just an obedient kid or if I did what I did next because Miss Lawrence had scared the hell out of me. But I just couldn’t bring myself to ask her if I could use the bathroom.