With the boys starting back to school, I’m reminded of the time when I was in the third grade, and we lived in base housing in Kodiak, Alaska. My father was in the Coast Guard back then, so for we four kids, this was another new location where we had to once again face being the new kids at a new school, trying to make new friends. Alaska was one of my favorite places though, because there was so much to explore. I met Pam, my best friend there, and we were inseparable, at least when we weren’t fighting. It was Pam who introduced me to Donny Osmond, so my pledge to love David Cassidy forever was over.
My third-grade teacher’s name was Ms. Snow, which I always thought was funny considering where we lived. But she was the best teacher my little girls’ mind can remember. She was all about having class parties, making the holidays fun with decorations and crafts. She introduced us to our multiplication tables, and we had a blast doing the one-minute drills to see who could solve the most problems within that sixty second period. She made learning fun.
She also did something that would never be tolerated today. She had her teacher’s pets. Thankfully, Pam, another girl named Gina, and I, were those teacher’s pets. Aside from the fact that we were invited to numerous outings away from school with Ms. Snow, she even had the three of us to her house right before Christmas. She had prepared a wonderful meal and had stockings filled to the brim for each one of us girls. We definitely felt we were something special.
I’m sure my love for Snoopy and the Peanuts are directly related to this time, because Ms. Snow had the Peanuts characters all over her classroom walls, and she even used Snoopy ink stamps for grading our papers. One day when she stepped out of the classroom, we three girls decided we could do no wrong as the teacher’s pets, and proceeded to sit at Ms. Snow’s desk, stamping Snoopy images on papers, on the desk, on our arms, on our faces.
Ms. Snow was livid when she returned to the classroom and found the three of us there, bragging about our special status with our teacher. Our behavior resulted in the three of us having to stand up in front of the classroom with our arms extended out to our sides, loaded down with two books in each hand. We were to hold our arms straight out with the books lying flat on our upward facing palms, and if they started to lower, Ms. Snow would say “Arms up!” and we’d have to try and lift our tired arms back up to a level position.
I guess by today’s standards, that would border on child abuse, but I loved Ms. Snow, and I knew she cared about us. She had to carry out punishment for something that we did that was wrong, and I still have nothing but respect for that woman. I think many from my generation would agree that being scolded in school helped mold our character, and we are better for it. Although I do remember my second-grade teacher hitting the palm of my hand with a ruler once, and I did not like that. I didn’t really like the teacher either, so perhaps I did something naughty enough to deserve the ruler.
Anyway, I’m guessing Ms. Snow is no longer alive, or is a very old woman. She was a great teacher, and I loved being one of her special kids. I will always remember her kindnesses.