I waited for Daddy Longlegs in the car with the boys in the backseat. They giggled in a secret, quiet way as they conspired together on something. I have found it best to quietly observe than to turn around and disrupt their work. I readjusted the rear-view mirror and watched them with a raised eyebrow.

A sock hit my shoulder like a single musical note, followed by another, and a size 7 Croc landed on the dashboard and hysterical laughter rose in a crescendo from behind my seat.

By the time their father returned, the boys were irritated. There was nothing left to throw. No socks, no shoes and since they were strapped into their seats, throwing their pants was not an option. I had gathered a nice collection of everything they lobbed into the front seat.  

The trunk popped open.

“They couldn’t find the right stuff,” Daddy Longlegs huffed as he loaded stones into the back of our Honda-CRV.

He shut the trunk and slid into the driver’s seat.

“The guy in there,” he gestured towards the store with his thumb, “he was trying to match the stone to what I ordered until I said, it’s the cobblestone. And the guy laughed and said, ‘I’ll never forget it now. Cobblestone, cobblestone, cobblestone. That reminds me of my fourth-grade teacher, Mr. Cobble. I wonder where he is now. I’ve been thinking about good ol’ Mr. Cobble a lot lately. What a guy.’”

It made me think of some of my former teachers, like Mrs. Landrum who seemed ancient when I was a kindergartener, but I think she was only in her fifties and blessed with salt and pepper hair, and Mrs. Prince who tossed out Jolly Ranchers for the right answer or if we were having a hard day and Mrs. Ambler who read a chapter a day from classics like Where the Red Fern Grows and Summer of the Monkeys.

“Memory is more indelible than ink.” Anita Loos

I wonder who will leave a lasting impression like that for my sons from the memories and experiences that are unformed and undone and from the people they have yet to meet. Who pops up for you, Dear Reader, when you remember those formative characters from your youth like the unforgettable, Mr. Cobble?

2 thoughts on “Old Teachers

  1. It was my fourth grade teacher, as well. Ruth Brown. A *legendary* teacher on the south side of South Bend, Indiana. She was also my neighbor. When we moved in, about five houses down the street, she made a cherry pie for us. Anyway, she was a remarkable woman and teacher and a part of me will forever have been made better because of her.

    Liked by 1 person

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