Sunday, August 21, 2011

Drama Teacher

My name is Ron.  Ronald Cummings Boyd.  But the way single syllable words flow together a lot of people end up calling me Ronboyd, as if it were one word.

My eighth grade math teacher, Ms. Doman, use to called me Rhombus. A rhombus, we were taught, is an equal sided parallelogram, like the diamond in a deck of cards.  For some reason Ms. Doman thought that it was pretty funny calling me rhombus. She was from somewhere in deep south and she had a strange sense of humor. She was also the only MS in our Junior High. So Ms. Doman stood out as being, well, a little different. Still, when it came to being weird, she didn't hold a candle to my high school drama teacher. 

Miss Ellen Harvey was tall and thin. Her jet black hair was cut and sprayed Jackie Kennedy style.  She talked about 2000 words per second/per second and she always seemed about three steps ahead of the world. In her class room closet she kept a bizarre teaching aid; something she pulled out on rare occasion and only under extreme creative duress. I remember the day she sprung it on our class.

An incredibly shy child had been called to the podium to make an extemporaneous speech. The kid's hemming and hawing, rolling of eyes and wringing of hands suddenly got to Ellen. In a professorial huff, Miss Harvey rose from her small critics desk at the back of the room, tugged hard on the hem of her skirt, and on black high heels, stomped to her closet, threw open the door and from the top shelf produced a ball-jar of honey colored liquid in which floated a large gluttonous mass. She held the sealed vessel high above her head for all to see and then with apparent restraint, set it down ever so carefully directly in front of the stunned student. 

"As your imagination appears stalled," Miss Harvey announced "perhaps you could tell us a little something about this!" Ellen then folded her arms and stepped back, awarding complete attention to the mute speaker. The entire class held its breath. The poor kid at the microphone peered into the jar and then turned to Ellen and meekly asked, "Miss Harvey, what is it?" 

"T-H-O-S-E child...." replied Ellen with a diva-like toss of her head, "are my knee caps!" 

Apparently Miss Harvey had an acute arthritic condition that had warranted the surgical removal of her knee caps and the installation of artificial implants. In formaldehyde, in her closet, as a conversation piece, she kept the originals. In incredible discomfort ever since, Ellen's personality must certainly have been altered by the life long prescription of pain suppressants she was required to take, but as her students, we simply thought of her as Miss Harvey, our drama teacher. 

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