In third grade, my elbow accidentally broke my 60ish-year-old teacher’s hand. Her name Mrs. Stuart, and even though it was an accident, she deserved it. Let me explain.
Mrs. Stuart wore slippers to class, had super spit-filled mouth corners, and looked exactly like Mrs. Doubtfire, except maybe with grayer skin.
She was the first teacher who ever punished me. And the biz did it three times! She yelled at me/made me write my name on the board for the following:
1. Catching a fly in mid-air and gasping too loudly. (It was awesome and surprising, who wouldn’t gasp at that?)
2. Raising my hand during a math lesson to ask if she ever used umbrellas when it was sunny out. (I deserved punishment for that one).
3. Wrassling my homie Jake at an outside-o-school party and needing stitches as a result (I didn’t really get in trouble for this, she just called me dumb).
Another terrible thing Mrs. Stuart did to not just me, but the entire class, was harass us with her sicko obsession with the 1800s. She made us watch Little House on the Prairie every Friday and gave us lessons on contra dancing. For the biggest project of the year — the Academic Fair — she forced us to choose an 1800s-related topic (I chose Rhode Island and girly Roger Williams). Worst of all, she brought us on a field trip to Norlands.
Norlands is a living history center in Maine and if it weren’t for Mrs. Stuart and her evil teacher friend, Mrs. Hicks, it’d probably be really fun. They made me dress like this, though, so it wasn’t fun at all:
Don’t let that charming picture fool you; Mrs. Stuart, Mrs. Hicks, and the Norlands peeps made me do a lot more than fluff pillows. I emptied chamber pots, went into angry chicken coops, collected eggs, broke some eggs, and got yelled at for breaking some eggs. I swept the kitchen, got yelled at for sweeping poorly, baked cornbread, got yelled at for thinking the cornmeal was chicken scratch, and served lunch to my daughter for the day, the field trip bus driver.
Did you know plumbing didn’t exist in the 1800s? The creators of Norlands did, which is why they had a weird room with several holes instead of a bathroom with a working toilet. Not wanting to waste a room with more than one poopin hole, Mrs. Stuart had us go to the bathroom two at a time. Ain’t that effed?
And ain’t it effed that they had corn cobs for wiping? (To be fair, they also had toilet paper, but my bathroommate Kayla and I wanted to be authentic — we were the only ones to go the corn cob route).
This 1800s bidnass was pretty bad, but the most effed thing Mrs. Stuart did to us students was physically abuse us. She didn’t actually hurt us, she just thought it was real cute to slap us around a bit. I ain’t agree with that.
One day after lunch, when we were all walking into the classroom in a single file line, Mrs. Stuart bopped each one of us on the head. Like everyone else, I ignored it and sat down at my desk. Then, I saw her dumb Mrs. Doubtfire face at the front of the class, so smugly, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I stood and went right up to that lady.
In front of the entire class, I asked why she always hit us. She giggled, spat some spit in my face, told me it was a reflex, and lifted her hand to smack my head again. Before I knew what I was doing, I yelled “SO IS THIS!” and brought my elbow down on her hand. I didn’t mean to actually hurt her, but I elbowed the shiz out of that hand. I could tell because she started crying old lady tears down that old lady face of hers.
I swear I didn’t mean to do any harm — I just didn’t know my own strength. I had gone from being little and adorable and gentle in second grade:
To straight Rick Ross in third:
Mrs. Stuart knew I didn’t mean anything by it, though. She cried but she laughed too, and she never sent me to the guidance counselor or called home or nuffin. Her hand turned purple and blew up huge, and all was fine. And that asshole learned her lesson, I’ll tell ya.