Quotation Saturday: Springtime

spring flowersMamacita says: Yesterday WAS the first day of spring, you know, not to be confused with the first spring day, which, as Henry Van Dyke tells us, can differ by as great as a month. The weather here in southern Indiana has been lovely: warm and sunny and breezy, and there are crocuses blooming all over town, unlike the beginning of March when the ground was covered in deep snow, school was canceled, and people were warned to stay off the roads.

1. Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. –Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

2. It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. –Charles Dickens

3. Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. –Ranier Maria Rilke

4. It’s spring fever. that is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! –Mark Twain

5. Hoe while it is spring, and enjoy the best anticipations. It is not much matter if things do not turn out well. –Charles Dudley Warner

6. Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. –Doug Larson

7. Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day. –W. Earl Hall

sunny spring day

8. If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would no be so welcome. –Anne Bradstreet

9. No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. –Hal Borland

10. Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world. –Virgil A. Kraft

11. In June as manyh as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them. –Aldo Leopold

12. In spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. –Margaret Atwood

child playing in the mud

13. Every spring is the only spring – a perpetual astonishment. –Ellis Peters

14. Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men. –Chinese Proverb

15. In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours. –Mark Twain

16. Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. –Rainer Maria Rilke

17. If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. –Audra Foveo

18. The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day He created spring. –Bern Williams

19. If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. –Nadine Stair

going barefoot

20. The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for nature to follow. Now we just set the clocks an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase. –E.B. White

21. In springtime, love is carried on the breeze. Watch out for flying passion or kisses whizzing by your head. –Emma Racine deFleur

22. You can’t see Canada across Lake Erie, but you know it’s there. It’s the same with spring. You have to have faith, especially in Cleveland. –Paul Fleischman

23. The seasons are what a symphony ought to be: four perfect movements in harmony with each other. –Arthur Rubenstein

24. An optimist is the human personification of spring. –Susan J. Bissonette

25. Autumn arrives in early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day. –Elizabeth Bowen

26. A little Madness in the spring Is wholesome even for the King. –Emily Dickinson

27. I stuck my head out the window this morning and spring kissed me bang in the face. –Langston Hughes

28. Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart. –Victor Hugo

29. If spring came but once a century instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

30. Spring: an experience in immortality. –Henry David Thoreau

31. Spring is a heart full of hope and a shoe full of rain. –Unknown

shoes full of rain

32. Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again. –Sarah Ban Breathnach

33. For every person who has ever lived there as come, at last, a spring he will never see. Glory then in the springs that are yours. –Pam Brown

34. I trust in nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility. Spring shall plant and autumn garner to the end of time. –Robert Browning

35. Unless a tree has borne blossoms in spring, you will vainly look for fruit on it in autumn. –hare charles

36. The cool wind blew in my face and all at once I felt as if I had shed dullness from myself. Before me lay a long gray line with a black mark down the center. The birds were singing. It was spring. –Burl Ives

37. I want to do to you what spring does with the cherry trees. –Pablo Neruda

38. Spring is God’s way of saying, “One more time!” –Robert Orben

39. Well, spring sprang. We’ve had our state of grace and our little gift of sanctioned madness, courtesy of Mother nature. Thanks, Gaia. Much obliged. I guess it’s time to get back to that daily routine of living we like to call normal. –David Assael

40. Listen, can you hear it? Spring’s sweet cantata. the strains of grass pushing through the snow. The song of buds swelling on the vine. The tender timpani of a baby robin’s heart. Spring. –Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider

41. March is a month of considerable frustration. It is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light years away. — Thalassa Cruso

42. Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself. –Unknown

43. The last fling of winter is over … The earth, the soil itself, has a dreaming quality about it. It is warm now to the touch; it has come alive; it hides secrets that in a moment, in a little while, it will tell.
— Donald Culross Peattie

44. I have said that there was great pleasure in watching the ways in which different plants come through the ground, and February and March are the months in which that can best be seen. –Henry N. Ellacombe

45. Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime. –Martin Luther

46. Love is a springtime plant that perfumes everything with its hope, even the ruins to which it clings. –Gustave Flaubert

47. To whom it may concern: It is springtime. It is late afternoon. –Kurt Vonnegut

48. How strange that nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude! –Emily Dickinson

49. Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance. –Yoko Ono

50. Is it so small a thing
To have enjoy’d the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done… –Matthew Arnold

The old quotation, “When March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb” is holding true – so far – here in southern Indiana.

It also bothers me greatly that the seasons aren’t capitalized. By my way of thinking, the seasons are important enough and individual enough to merit capital letters. I like to capitalize them when I use them myself, but I have to tell my students not to, because the rule is in their book. Then, after that particular lesson is over, I tell them to go ahead and use capital letters for Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter if they darn well want to. “Just remember to use lower case when you fill out your final exam.” I do not feel the least bit guilty about this, either. I like the seasons. When I think about them, they’re personified enough to have proper names.  However, I am also a grammar perfectionist.  It would bother me forever if I wrote it down incorrectly.

do not capitalize the seasons

Some day, I hope to be brave enough to tell my students to take a gel pen and cross out that silly rule. How sad, isn’t it, that something like that is on my “Bravery List.”

There are a lot of actual, genuinely brave things on my list, though.  Some day, I will do something about them.  Something brave.  You may DiaryQuote me.

The Fault, Dear Brutus, Is Not In Our Stars, But In Ourselves…. – Caesar

"Et tu, Brute?"

“Et tu, Brute?”

Mamacita quotes from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: Act 1, scene 2, 15–19

Caesar: Who is it in the press that calls on me?  I hear a tongue shriller than all the music Cry “Caesar!” Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.

Soothsayer: Beware the Ides of March.

Caesar: What man is that?

Brutus: A soothsayer bids you beware the Ides of March.

And what, pray tell, are the Ides of March, that Caesar needed to be warned against them? Should we all beware the Ides of March? What are Ides?

There is no reason for any of us to beware the Ides of March. Or the Ides of September. Or the Ides of February. Etc. Heck, my beautiful daughter was born on the Ides of June.

The Ides of any month are simply the days between the 13th and 15th of any month. These days, we generally appoint the 15th to be the Ides.  The soothsayer (truthspeaker) was merely warning Caesar that something bad was going to happen on March 15. Caesar had already had other warnings – one from his wife, who had had a terrifying nightmare about death in the Senate!

“Alas, my lord, your wisdom is consumed in confidence.  Do not go forth today; call it MY fear that keeps you in the house, and not your own.  We’ll send Mark Antony to the senate-house, and he shall say you are not well today. . . .”

Caesar was very superstitous and took the warning seriously; however, this didn’t prevent him from leaving the house on March 15 anyway and walking out into the public forum.

. . . . where his best friends were waiting for him with daggers, whereupon they jumped him and stabbed him to death. For his own good, and for the good of Rome, they believed.  Much as Judas betrayed Jesus for the good of the nation, because Judas believed Jesus’ claims were flying too high for his own good.

HIstory is full of trusted friends who kill for the good of the nation.

Caesar was just too ambitious, they thought. So, rather than risk his rise to power and popularity, they offed their best friend.

Caesar, Brutus, and Cassius – the three musketeers, the Bobbsey triplets, the inseparable pals. Caesar trusted them; he loved them; they were his friends.The betrayal was as shocking and unexpected as if Hermione had turned on Harry and Ron and stabbed them to death.

"I get it.  You choose him!"

“I get it. You choose him!”

Which is why, when Caesar saw who was attacking him, he cried out, in disbelief, “Et tu, Brute?” Which means, simply, “Even you, Brutus?”

Remember how horrified and hurt and disoriented Harry and Hermione were when Ron accused them of being in love with each other, and abandoned them?  That.  There are many ways to stab someone in the back, and sometimes figuratively hurts more than literally.

But Brutus and Cassius, Antony, and the others, had realized that their pal Caesar was a little too cocky for Rome’s own good, and when even one’s best friend brags in public that he was as elite and cool as a god, one must do something to protect the nation. Those of us who are heavily into mythology know what always happens to any mortal who flies too high (another mythological reference!) and thinks too much of himself/herself.  It never ends well for the braggart.  Ever.  It’s called “hubris” and it’s the kiss of death.

“Beware the Ides of March.” And now you know what that means, and why Caesar was warned to be careful of that day.

It was, like, you know, cuz the soothsayer somehow knew that Caesar’s BFF, his dearest and most beloved friends, had had enough of his bragging about his coolness and were going to take him down. And they did.

But even when I was a kid and first read that scene, something inside of me SAW the expression on the man’s face when he realized that his best friend in all the world had stabbed him in the back. It was a heartbreaker.

And now you have a perfect example of another expression. Backstabber. Stabbed in the back.

Shakespeare is so awesome; I loved the language even as an elementary student. It’s exactly the same language that you’ll find in the King James Version of the Bible, which I also love.

Perhaps one of you can also answer a question that has puzzled Shakespeare fans for years: Why in the world did the man bequeath his second-best bed to his wife?

I tend to agree with Jane of Lantern Hill, who was of the opinion that “Perhaps she liked it best.”

P.S. Don’t be afraid of the language. Relax, and try to see the poetry and the amazing graphics in Shakespeare’s witty turn of phrase. It’ll knock your socks off, if you let it.

P.P.S.  Just in case you don’t think you know anything at all about Shakespeare or Julius Caesar or unexpected, untimely death, might I remind you of this little gem you may have wept over recently:

fault in our stars, shakespeare, caesar

The Fault, Dear Brutus, Is Not In Our Stars, but in Ourselves. . . by Caesar

Mamacita quotes from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: Act 1, scene 2, 15–19

Caesar: Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry “Caesar!” Speak; Caesar is turn’d to hear.

Soothsayer: Beware the Ides of March.

Caesar: What man is that?

Brutus: A soothsayer bids you beware the Ides of March.

And what, pray tell, are the Ides of March, that Caesar needed to be warned against them? Should we all beware the Ides of March? What are Ides?

There is no reason for any of us to beware the Ides of March. Or the Ides of September. Or the Ides of February. Etc. Heck, my beautiful daughter was born on the Ides of June.

The Ides of any month are simply the days between the 13th and 15th of any month. These days, we generally appoint the 15th to be the Ides.  The soothsayer (truthspeaker) was merely warning Caesar that something bad was going to happen on March 15. Caesar had already had other warnings – one from his wife, who had had a terrifying nightmare about death in the Senate!

“Alas, my lord, your wisdom is consumed in confidence.  Do not go forth today; call it MY fear that keeps you in the house, and not your own.  We’ll send Mark Antony to the senate-house, and he shall say you are not well today. . . .”

Caesar was very superstitous and took the warning seriously; however, this didn’t prevent him from leaving the house on March 15 anyway and walking out into the public forum.

. . . . where his best friends were waiting for him with daggers, whereupon they jumped him and stabbed him to death. For his own good, and for the good of Rome, they believed.  Much as Judas betrayed Jesus for the good of the nation, because Judas believed Jesus’ claims were flying too high for his own good.

HIstory is full of trusted friends who kill for the good of the nation.

Caesar was just too ambitious, they thought. So, rather than risk his rise to power and popularity, they offed their best friend.

Caesar, Brutus, and Cassius – the three musketeers, the Bobbsey triplets, the inseparable pals. Caesar trusted them; he loved them; they were his friends.The betrayal was as shocking and unexpected as if Hermione had turned on Harry and Ron and stabbed them to death.

"I get it.  You choose him!"

“I get it. You choose him!”

Which is why, when Caesar saw who was attacking him, he cried out, in disbelief, “Et tu, Brute?” Which means, simply, “Even you, Brutus?”

Remember how horrified and hurt and disoriented Harry and Hermione were when Ron accused them of being in love with each other, and abandoned them?  That.  There are many ways to stab someone in the back, and sometimes figuratively hurts more than literally.

But Brutus and Cassius, and the others, had realized that their pal Caesar was a little too cocky for Rome’s own good, and when even one’s best friend brags in public that he was as elite and cool as a god, one must do something to protect the nation. Those of us who are heavily into mythology know what always happens to any mortal who flies too high (another mythological reference!) and thinks too much of himself/herself.  It never ends well for the braggart.  Ever.  It’s called “hubris” and it’s the kiss of death.

“Beware the Ides of March.” And now you know what that means, and why Caesar was warned to be careful of that day.

It was, like, you know, cuz the soothsayer somehow knew that Caesar’s BFF, his dearest and most beloved friends, had had enough of his bragging about his coolness and were going to take him down. And they did.

But even when I was a kid and first read that scene, something inside of me SAW the expression on the man’s face when he realized that his best friend in all the world had stabbed him in the back. It was a heartbreaker.

And now you have a perfect example of another expression. Backstabber. Stabbed in the back.

Shakespeare is so awesome; I loved the language even as an elementary student. It’s exactly the same language that you’ll find in the King James Version of the Bible, which I also love.

Perhaps one of you can also answer a question that has puzzled Shakespeare fans for years: Why in the world did the man bequeath his second-best bed to his wife?

I tend to agree with Jane of Lantern Hill, who was of the opinion that “Perhaps she liked it best.”

P.S. Don’t be afraid of the language. Relax, and try to see the poetry and the amazing graphics in Shakespeare’s witty turn of phrase. It’ll knock your socks off, if you let it.

P.P.S.  Just in case you don’t think you know anything at all about Shakespeare or Julius Caesar or unexpected, untimely death, might I remind you of this little gem you may have wept over recently:

fault in our stars, shakespeare, caesar

New School Policy: No Child Looks Like A Behind

Mamacita says:  Are you paying attention to your child’s school?  Are you looking closely at the contents of your child’s backpack every night?  Are you listening when your child tries to tell you what he did or not not learn/do at school?  Everyone who has children or knows children or has ever heard of children, or who lives in this country or any other country, should be super savvy about what’s going on behind those locked doors.  It’s important.  Our children are in there.  We, whether we have our own children or not, simply must not let our country’s educational policies go without parental checks and balances.  Our nation’s schools, and other nations’ schools, are full of students who will grow up and eventually be in charge and we need to know what’s going on in case something needs to be changed, while yet there is time to change it. If we wait too long, those students will be changing our Depends, and we’d best make sure they’re being taught how to care for themselves and for each other and for total strangers, and to advance themselves academically and socially and physically and mentally and culturally, because that’s what our schools are supposed to be doing, in, among, and around the drill, drill, drill for standardized tests that have elbowed all the joy out of the building. . . . Whew. Run-on sentence, anyone? Fragment?

backpack contents, school

I dug through my archives and am re-posting my own ‘take’ on “No Child Left Behind.” I scribbled this eleven years ago while sitting through yet another interminable teacher’s meeting at the middle school, chaired by two women from the State Department who had obviously not been inside a middle school for many, many years, nor had they ever taken a class in public speaking. . . .

Here’s my personal take on “No Child Left Behind.”  I call it, “No Child Looks Like A Behind.”  Are you offended by my obvious disrespect?  I’m so sorry.  Please bite me.

“Responding to demands from organized groups of concerned and dissatisfied parents, the State has hired an official Photographer. This official Photographer’s goal is to ensure parents that all children will be attractive and well-groomed when exhibited publicly in the yearbook and at the mall.

‘No Child Looks Like A Behind,’ the agency and motto set up by the State, will be implemented this year, and by spring 2004, 93% of all students enrolled in Indiana schools will be evaluated. Any child found to be still below established standards, ie ‘ugly, ‘funny-looking,’ or merely ‘homely,’ will be referred to the district’s Reconstruction Committee, which will identify specific problems, and recommend procedures and practices which can sculpt the child according to his/her individual needs.

no child looks like a behind, school picture

Next year, the State will begin to implement the somewhat controversial “No Child Acts Like A Behind” program. Details will follow shortly.”

While I was in the archives, I came across my Survivor show suggestion: it’s an edited-for-the-middle-school version of something that’s been making the rounds of the spamernet for many years. I just raised it a few grade levels. Again, one has to do something to stay awake and appear attentive when those State Department people come down with their big ideas and plans for a school they know nothing about. . . .

Have you heard about the next planned Survivor show? Two businessmen, two businesswomen, and two elected government officials will be dropped into a public middle school classroom for 6 weeks.  These people will be referred to, for future reference, as “the novices.”

Each novice will be provided with a copy of their school district’s curriculum, and 7 daily classes of 36 students each, with some fluctuation as students move in and out.

Each individual class will have 6 learning-disabled children, five with A.D.D., two gifted children, two who speak limited English, and one who speaks no English at all.
Three in each class will be labeled as severe behavior problems. Two are pregnant. Twenty-one have divorced parents; of these, eleven are in the middle of custody battles. Five are on juvenile probation. Three are living in foster homes. Despite what an IEP might state, there is simply no budget for aides.

dysfunctional classroom, school

Each novice must complete lesson plans at least a week in advance, with annotations for curriculum objectives and modifications, and organize, create, or purchase materials accordingly.  There is no budget for these purchases, so be sure to bring your checkbook.

Each novice will be required to teach, handle misconduct, implement technology, document attendance, write referrals, correct and record homework, grade and record exams, make bulletin boards, compute grades, complete report cards, document benchmarks, communicate with parents, notify certain parents daily of their child’s progress, and arrange parent conferences at the convenience of the parent.

parent conference, school

They must also supervise recess, monitor the hallways and lunchroom, sell and take tickets at athletic functions, sponsor extra-curricular activities, and chaperone dances. These activities are of course performed without payment; and the novices are responsible for anything that goes wrong, including student misconduct at these functions. The novices must also be prepared to answer parents’ questions about their child’s school work, at these functions. .

In addition, they will complete a set number of drills for fire, tornadoes, earthquakes, intruders, and shooting attacks.

They must attend workshops (100 hours), faculty meetings, union meetings, textbook adoption meetings, IEP conferences, evaluation meetings, curriculum development meetings, and any other meeting called by a supervisor or parent. Any plans or appointments previously scheduled must be cancelled in the event of a called meeting, including doctor and dentist appointments for the novice or for his/her spouse/children.

Novices are required to counsel and advise parents and students over the telephone, after school hours, at their homes. Therefore they must memorize each student’s grade average and daily attitude and any problems, in preparation for those calls, as official gradebooks are not permitted to be removed from the building. An unlisted number will not help you; the parents will obtain it and they will use it.

teacher phone, school

 

Novices must provide special, free tutoring for those students who are behind, and strive to get their non-English speaking children proficient enough to take the ISTEP test. Remember, the students’ scores reflect the teachers’ skill, and the novice will be reprimanded accordingly.

If the novice is sick, has a sick family member, or is just having a bad day, they must not let it show. God forbid if you get pregnant.

pregnant school teacher

 

Each day, they must incorporate reading, writing, math, science, health, and social studies into the program. They must maintain discipline and provide an educationally stimulating environment at all times. Remember, any boredom on the part of any child during the course of your class, is the novice’s fault and may be used as an excuse for failure by the child’s parents.

Any failure on the part of a student, is the novice’s fault.

The novices will only have access to the golf course on Sundays, but on their new salary they will not be able to afford it anyway. There will be no access to vendors who want to take them out to lunch. They won’t be leaving the building for lunch anyway, since lunch will be limited to 24 minutes daily, on the days they don’t have lunch duty. On those duty days, lunch will be eaten while supervising the lunchroom. Lunch is at ten thirty, so by two p.m. the children will be hungry again. The novices will be hungry also, but hunger isn’t measurable by any kind of state statistics so the standards must be taught regardless of the growling stomachs. It would be easy to schedule the students’ lunch at noon but that would mean paying the cooks for an extra hour.

hungry school teacher

 

Novices will get a thirty minute prep period on many days, but don’t count on getting any papers graded or xeroxed then, since this is the time many parent or principal conferences are scheduled. Substitutes are getting harder to find, so probably each novice will be dropped down into an absent teacher’s classroom during his/her prep period, unless a parent asks for the novice. Novices should plan to arrive at school before 7:30, since parents like to drop by for unannounced conferences before they go to work. Don’t count on getting home before 5:30, either, since after school is the time many more meetings are scheduled. Spur of the moment is a favorite time for parents to talk to their child’s teacher. Besides, after school is the time the novices will have to do their xeroxing, since the actual break is taken up with other people’s business on most days. This can be done, of course, only on those days that the copier is operable.

After the novices get home, they should not plan on watching much tv or spending a lot of quality time with spouse or children, since they will have from two to four hours of grading and preparation each night. Not to mention the phone calls from parents.

Nightly school teacher load of papers

 

On the days when they do not have recess duty, the novices will be permitted to use the staff restroom as long as another survival candidate is supervising their class. It doesn’t matter if the teacher is sick or not. The size of the bladder makes no difference. No bathroom trips except one possibly very short trip, on those non-duty days.. The novices must never get diarrhea. It just doesn’t fit into the schedule. Novices must also purchase kleenex, anti-bacterial hand wash, bandaids, sanitary napkins, safety pins, hair elastics, nail files, pencils, pens, and paper for the use of their students. They must also buy a thermometer, and know how to read it correctly. All of this is, of course, done with the novice’s own money.

school teacher has no time to pee

 

The novices must continually advance their education on their own time and pay for this advanced training themselves. This can be accomplished by moonlighting at a second job, which most real teachers actually do, or by marrying someone with money. The winner will be allowed to return to his or her job.

Now substitute the word “teacher” for each “novice” and you will have a very realistic picture of what a real teacher does.  

Pass this along to your friends who think teaching is easy, and also to the ones who know it is hard. They will both benefit.

======

I do love a parody, as long as it’s intentional and not just some walking joke like Benny Hinn or Mike Pence.

Tinker Bell, Peter Pan, and the Cocky Asses

Mamacita says:  When I was in the third grade, I read “Peter Pan.” It’s not all the sugar-coated cuteness Disney would have you believe, my friends. It’s a wonderful and fascinating and intimate look into the brain and psyche of children of various ages AND their parents. It’s accurate and hilarious and downright scary. It’s a psychological novel about dreams, and the brain.  It’s not really a book for children.

It’s full of analogies and symbols and beautiful mind-art that permits us to share the fantasies of other people.

It’s a peek into how different good and evil are from one another, and how distressingly alike they can sometimes be, and how one will often present itself as the other.

It’s about children hovering on the “firly brinkmire” of adulthood and feeling their hormones even without understanding what was happening. Well, Tink and the mermaids knew, but Wendy didn’t.  Neither did Peter Pan. Yet.

Captain Hook stresses good form and lovely manners and the fine points of etiquette even while murdering children.  Yes, he did.  Captain Hook and Smee and all the rest of the pirates hunted down children and murdered them.

Wendy had so looked forward to meeting mermaids, but although the mermaids are Wendy, mean mermaidsbeautiful and their singing is lovely, they are mean, vicious bitches who try to kill Wendy.

The Indians are presented in what would, nowadays, be considered a disgracefully stereotypical way, but Tiger Lily was cool, and unlike many supposedly intelligent adults in these modern times, children still have a sense of the context of the times and can see through it to what it was meant to be.

The thing is, all the Neverland females were hot for Peter Pan, and they recognized, in Wendy, a real rival.

Peter Pan flyingI do not pretend to be a master of Pan interpretation, but I know what I see when I see it myself. I would never presume, unlike many book censors, to say ANYTHING about a book that I had not personally read. (Censors are Satan.)

I bring all of this up to introduce my most vivid memory of this book, in third grade, in Mrs. Teacher’s class. I had to sit by Tommy, who teased unmercifully and who was only inspired further by the usual shrugs and exasperated sighs that I knew how to defend myself with.

Then, inspiration hit me. Tinker Bell, who is a dirty uneducated uncultured servant-fairy, the bottom of the social heap, sooty and ignorant and really quite cruel, had a saying she used whenever she was angry with Peter Pan.  She uses it first when Peter is trying toPeter Pan, Wendy, and the shadow fasten his shadow back on with soap.  I loved the sentiment even while I felt guilty agreeing with Tinker Bell because Peter was, unfortunately, pretty stupid, but she was just so AWFUL.  I felt sure I could use this statement on Tommy with success, so I tried it out.

“You silly ass.”

He ratted on me to the teacher, and she reamed me out but good, in her gentle concerned way, reducing me to tears with but a few words.

I had no idea what I’d done. I had NO IDEA what I’d said that was so horrible that my teacher whom I loved and adored took me out in the hall and told me how disappointed she was in me and that my parents would have to be notified and that she would have to think about my punishment, as no child had ever done what I had done in her room before.

But what was it that I had done? Was quoting Tinker Bell a crime? And if so, why?

My parents did not curse or call names in our home (at that time….) and I had seen the word ‘ass’ only in its context as an animal, one of many at the manger when Our Lord was born. Was there something bad about the ass, too? Should it not have been there with the ox and the lamb? Was it a bad animal, and was that why Tinker Bell used its name when she was angry?  Was that why committees of outraged parents threw out the ass and, in its place, introduced the lamb?  “The ox and ass lamb kept time, pa rum pa pum pum. . . .”

Mrs. Teacher would not explain. She just kept saying that I knew perfectly well what I had done and since I had chosen to do it, I would have to pay for it.

Peter Pan, cockyWhatever she did to me later couldn’t possibly be worse than what she was doing to me right then. I didn’t know what I’d done. I had quoted Tinker Bell. From “Peter Pan.” When Tinker Bell said it in the book, nothing terrible happened. It was her opinion at that moment of whoever was annoying or upsetting her. It seemed to work in the book.

It sure didn’t work in third grade, though.

Of course, I knew, even at the time, that because Tinker Bell was low-class, dirty, unschooled, mean, hateful, selfish, and that even the other fairies looked down on her for her crudeness, some of what she did and said wasn’t quite what nice fairies or little girls would have done or said, but I still thought that if it were in a book it couldn’t be wrong.

Tommy, you silly ass, why did you have to bother me so that I felt it was necessary to use Tinker Bell against you? If you had just behaved yourself, as I was trying to do, it never would have happened.

But the real silly ass here is Mrs. Teacher. For one thing, she was an elementary teacher, a teacher of small children, a college graduate, but she did not recognize the quote even though it was from a famous novel and had been made into a children’s movie, and for another, she did not believe a good little girl who tried to explain to her the quotation’s source and why it had been used.

All she heard was that a student in HER ROOM had used the word “ass.”

When I went home that day, in tears and in a cold dread of what my non-bad-word-using parents would say, I got a surprise.

Dad laughed until he was almost sick, and Mom, while she didn’t laugh and I suspect didn’t quite understand why Dad was laughing, she at least took my side. Together, they explained that even teachers didn’t always read things they really should keep up on if they were going to teach children who read them, and that some children, like annoying Tommy, didn’t know any other way to get someone’s attention except by pestering them.

I decided on that day that people who pestered for attention weren’t worth bothering with, and that if I were ever a teacher, I would stay up nights if that’s what it took to keep up with what my students were reading.

Two of the few resolutions I have managed to keep.  That’s right – I read “Twilight.”

Surprisingly, Mrs. Teacher remains one of my favorite teachers. I think maybe that learning to ‘see through her’ so early in the year gave me the ability to understand her a little better. (She was well-meaning but clueless, and it’s really not right when a child can figure that out) Certainly it gave me the courage to stand up for myself. It’s sad, though, when an eight-year-old child feels maternal and protective toward an adult who is supposed to be in charge. All that year (well, until she got pregnant and was forced to quit because if we kids had seen her looking pregnant we would have known for sure that she’d had sex, not that I would have known what that meant either never having even heard of that word yet) I stayed after school and helped her clean the board, clap erasers (I bet some of you don’t know what that means!) and put her files in alphabetical order because (gasp) some of the dimwits in that class didn’t even know how to do that and it was supposed to be done at the end of each day and most of the kids would rather just leave their stuff in a mess for the teacher to put to rights so I just did it for her.Big Red pop

She also used to give me a dollar and send me across the VERY BUSY STREET to the gas station for a carton of Big Red pop twice a week. I loved doing that, especially; my parents never let me go inside when they stopped there for gas because it was ‘rough.’ I didn’t know what they meant by that, but I did know that most of those men in there had read “Peter Pan” because they talked about my teacher’s ass all the time.

If all you know about ‘Peter Pan’ is that insipid Disney movie, please check out the book. It’s NOT just for children. It’s awesome.

Watch out for the bad language, though. That horny slut Tinker Bell will do or say anything to get Peter Pan in her clutches. This includes murdering Wendy. There are also drugs. And a Tinker-Bell-dying scene.  Cripes, now I have to re-read this book.  NOW.

Clap, children!  Clap, or Tinker Bell will die!

Clap, children! Clap, or Tinker Bell will die!

Sadly, it also forced me to learn a very important lesson: a college degree doesn’t make someone a teacher.

Thank goodness I didn’t tell Tommy he was being “cocky.”  That’s how Barrie described Peter Pan. Even Peter’s shadow looked cocky.  Wendy’s mom thought so, too.

Imagine.  “Tommy, you’re a silly, cocky ass.”  I’d still be in reform school today.  Some people don’t appreciate cool words.

Mrs. Darling, Wendy, Michael, JohnMr. and Mrs. Darling would be in there with me, though.  They left those three children home alone while they went out to a party. Nana was a good nanny, mind you, but still, she was a dog.

Peter Pan, Nana, dog, nanny

A dog.

Who’s the silly ass now?