September 21st...”DID YOU EVER WITNESS A FELLOW CLASSMATE PLAYING A PRANK ON A TEACHER AT BATTLE GROUND HIGH SCHOOL?”
A fellow “Tiger” lived among us other young Freshman at Battle Ground High School that was so imbued with self-confidence and zest for fun that he was easily, in my opinion, given the crown of “Class Clown”. Mike Colgrove was his name and having fun was his game…….even when it came to the brand new Algebra teacher that arrived at our school after the Christmas Break of 1968-69 school year. Our previous Algebra teacher that year had been a seasoned veteran of the faculty with close to 30 years of service in our school district. Sadly, though, Mr. Ray O’Neal passed away during the Christmas Season, so this new Algebra teacher was a likely candidate for Mike’s sly sense of humor.
If I recall, the new teacher was a recent graduate of college courses and therefore kind of a “green horn” in the teaching ways of life. Either way, Mike was merciless in teasing this poor soul of a man and the harassment came to a crescendo one day as the Algebra instructor was “chewing out” a kid in the back of our large classroom located in the Old East High Building. Like a slinky, slanky fox, Mike hunkered down and slithered up to the front of the classroom and pulled the rolling chair far back and away from the educator’s large, old-style wooden desk. The “trap was set” for the focused faculty member who was so intent on locking eyes with the student being reprimanded that he had idea that his chair was vacated from its usual spot near his desk.
With his stern eyes still focused on the back of the classroom, teacher man walked up and stood at his desk, clueless as to what was about to transpire. Mr. Algebra’s knees buckled in anticipation of his gluteus maximus touching down on a chair, but instead, he was “sitting on air”. The educator dude completely disappeared below the level of the desktop as his butt hit the wooden floor below. We, as the collective class of students that day, all erupted in howls of laughter!!! Just as in the slapstick comedy films of Hollywood, first, we saw Math Man’s fingers grasp the edge of the wooden teacher’s desk and then next came his fiery red and furious face from his inglorious position on the floor. The voice of Algebra Ace was now at hurricane velocity as he bellowed out, “WHO DID THIS!!!!!????” Of course, we all cloaked Mike’s secret amongst our giggles and guffaws. Oh sure, it wasn’t the proper way to treat a teacher…….but hey, we were just a bunch of FRESH Freshman, ya? And that included this Norwegian Farmer’s Son. 😉