I love October. I love the freshly harvested pears and apples. I love the colors on the trees and the smell of the first rains. I love watching kids climb off school buses with their band instruments bumping off their knees. I like talking to kids about what they are learning and what their teacher is like.
My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Chapman, was an amazing person. My first grade teacher, who shall remain nameless, not so much.
In typical early elementary school fashion, Mrs. Chapman had a thing for apples. She told us that she was a distant relative of Johnny Appleseed and taught us the song. She decorated with apples and we had apples as snacks. One very impressive day in October, she taught us how to make shrunken apples into little faces you could decorate as various Halloween characters. Looking back, this is a little creepy, but at the time we thought she was perfect.
My first grade teacher didn’t like me. Really. This might have something to do with the fact that I was a slob. She’d routinely dump my entire desk out on the floor and I’d have to stay in at recess to clean it back up. This didn’t actually cure me as my desk today probably could use a little dumping out. She also had little faces representing each of her students up along the top of the blackboard. If you were good, they smiled. If you were bad, they frowned. Mine frowned the whole year.
Now this whole story makes me grin. I’d like to go back to that little frustrated first grader and tell her its okay if not everyone smiles at you all the time and that a clean desk is not the indicator of a successful life. I’d tell her to try harder to keep it clean so as not to aggravate her teacher but not to take it too personally either. I’d like to tell her that someday she’ll watch first graders and she’ll really understand how it feels to be six.
A friend of mine made a perfect fall dinner the other day. Ginger Curry soup, Pepper Salmon, Fresh Green Beans and for dessert – poached pears. The pears made me feel six. Ah – October. Gotta love it.