The following was written by my late wife Elaine. She wrote a long book, a diary really, from which this is one passage:
Returning to My Education
I graduated, received my BA degree with specialty in music, Mary Washington College, and was certified for teaching all subjects in grades K through 7 in the state of Virginia, in May 1974; it took me seven years. I was 40, and decided to attend the Commencement Ceremony and I wore the cap and gown, and Dave and all the children were there.
Dave gave me a very special present, a service for eight of sterling silver, Reed & Barton, with eight dinner forks, eight teaspoons, eight knives, and eight salad forks. I use it for all special family holiday dinners, and for company. It has to be cleaned and polished periodically, so I use stainless steel ware for everyday meals. But sterling silver is exquisite, and reflects surrounding colors, and I enjoy it immensely when it’s all laid out, shining.
One Year of Teaching Fourth Grade
During the summer of 1974 after graduation I applied for a teaching job in the fall semester and was given a 4th grade class at the new Bradley Elementary School, just a couple miles from our house, on Route 17.
Our principal was not a strong disciplinarian, and neither was I, and there were some little “pills” in my room. “A.” was fond of spit balls. A couple others were experienced trouble-makers, and before long I began to dread going in the room every day.
One of the younger 5th grade teachers was standing in the hall outside her closed door one morning, and I stopped to see if she was ok; she said, “I can’t go back in there.” And she didn’t. She quit then. Immediately.
Teachers had to eat lunch with their class, never had a break, and you had to visit the bathroom at your own risk is how I felt about it.
If I had to choose the most mischievous and the most lovable members of the class, “A.” would get both votes: Most Mischievous and Most Lovable. In the class picture, he’s holding something small in his fingers, and I bet it’s a spit ball! But there was something endearing about him; he was short, fat, jolly, friendly, quick to smile, and though mischievous, he was never sassy, and he enjoyed praise for whatever I could find to praise him about.
To be continued…