May 24th………..“DID YOU EVER GET ANGRY AND TALK BACK TO A TEACHER DISRESPECTFULLY IN KIESTER, MINNESOTA”?
In the early 1960’s, both of our elder siblings really “CLICKED”, literally, in the hallways of Kiester High School there in Kiester, Minnesota. The manly fragrance of “Old Spice” or “Aqua Velva” floated by as High School boys, in those days, “clicked” down the halls of education as they sported nail-on, metal heel protectors. Those simple devices lent a classy “click” to each step they took upon those hard-rock floors of their alma mater in our wonderful farming community.
I couldn’t wait to come of age so that I, too, could nail on those metal heel plates and make that distinctive click with my shoes while I nonchalantly sauntered from class to class in my 7th Grade Year there at good old KHS in 1967.
I, for one, felt mighty grown up in 7th Grade there in our school. My classmates, and myself, rolled right over from Sixth Grade Elementary School to Seventh Grade High School……..it was magical!!! Someone can correct me, but there was no mention, to my knowledge, of a Junior High or Middle School in our town’s educational forum at that time. It was, therefore, as far as I could tell, a SIX year High School system and I loved it!! We even elected 7th Grade Class Officers to represent us in the High School Student Council government. Sure, it was a given, and we knew we were the runts in the hallways of those days gone by. We were little “Munchkins” in comparison to our taller upper classmates when we’d be surrounded by the big “Bulldog” lettermen in those handsome, leather blue n white jackets. But, at least we weren’t Elementary Grade Schoolers anymore, that’s for sure!!! 😉
What I should have realized, though, was that the same ornery 6th Grader attitudes of mine would be brought over into my 7th Grade High School classes. And, being that I’ve always been a “dreamer” of sorts, I found myself daydreaming in my High School classes like I had done in Grade School. 😦
I may have “clicked” with the metal heel protectors on my shoes, but I did NOT “click” with one of my teachers that year. I guess it was inevitable that I was gonna hit a wall somewhere, sometime, and I did………in the form of my English teacher, Mrs. Walle (pronounced WALL eee).
I recall being counseled by our 6th Grade teachers, at the end of the previous school year, that a higher level of discipline would be expected in our upcoming High School years. And sure enough, they were right!!!!
After a half century’s time lapse, I’m not even sure what my tantrum was all about on that fateful day. All I know is that Mrs. Walle said or did something that “tripped my trigger” in class that day and I erupted against her authority in front of my fellow classmates.
Mrs. Walle’s face said it all…………I was now “dead meat” in her eyes and there was no way a little whippersnapper, like me, was going to get away with what I had just pulled. “Follow me, young man”!!! came her terse directive as she had me accompany her out into the expansive hallway next to our English classroom. She being taller than my 7th Grade self, this educator towered over me as she rightly “read me the riot act” for the inappropriate line of “guff” that I had just spewed to her in the classroom.
The rest of that school day was blackly ominous for me in many ways. First off, I couldn’t believe what I had just done!!! I was always taught to respect my educator elders and be obedient to their well-intentioned commands of life for me. And, on another plain of grief, I was now in the proverbial “hot water” with my parents, too, when my English teacher called our farm to share what had transpired that day between Mrs. Walle and yours truly.
As my emotions cooled, and my parent’s displeasure grew intense over what I had done……….I, too, realized that my outburst was childish and IMmature to the utmost.
I owed this educator an apology; BIG TIME!! The following day, I came into my English class and made my way up to Mrs. Walle’s desk. “Excuse me, Mrs. Walle, I was totally wrong in the way I acted yesterday and I am here to apologize and to ask your forgiveness for being disrespectful to you as my teacher. It won’t happen again”!!! It was then that I realized why her given first name was Grace, for her facial countenance morphed to compassion and a smile emerged showing her kindness to me. What she said next has stayed with me for 54 years now…………..“Elliott, you’re forgiven. And, I’m glad you found the courage to come to me and apologize, because it takes more of a man to apologize (when he’s wrong) than to hold a grudge and remain angry”!!! That day, Grace showed grace to this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!! 😉