Mrs. Green was kind of short, maybe at 5'2"; my memory is a little sketchy, but I recall her being my height later on, when I was 5'2" from 4th grade until 9th (another rant for another day). She had a round helmet of gray hair, which gave her a kind of figure like a squat boom microphone. Her skin was the consistency of a balloon skin that had been inflated too long. In addition to her polyester pants suit, she sported a cloud of rogue under each eye like some troll/china-doll hybrid. She was not a bad person, probably. She just didn't take any guff from anyone, even if you didn't mean to give her guff in the first place.
When I came from Palo Alto to McLean, I had already done a year of Kindergarten. But Virginia put their wee tykes a year later than those nut jobs in California, so I was put in Kindergarten again which my parents said just wouldn't do. My mother fought hard and long to put me in 1st grade, and eventually won out. But sadly, the year was already half over, and so the day I reported to Mrs. Wood and Mrs. Charlwood's classroom at Lewinsville Elementary, I was told to report to the classroom across the hall.
Mean Mrs. Green. All the kids knew about her. I thought was in trouble, because, well, she was one of the more present personalities on the playground, and famous for being a total bitch. Now, in retrospect, I cannot find a single memory where she did anything to anyone other than general yelling and maybe absconding with a toy or kickball. I would like to regale this blog with great tales of unfairness and treachery, but I simply cannot lie. However, her reputation was enough to cause a single young white haired lad from the west coast to almost wet himself in fear.
When I got to the class, I was told I was late, and to sit down. That's about all I remember; being in trouble just for showing up. And for a week, I endured whatever teachings she doled out. I'd like to claim she said or did something so horrific, I blocked it out, but all I know is that there was this event where I collapsed to the ground in what was first assumed to be an epileptic fit.
There was a principal, I think his name was Mr. Koreda or something, who showed up to assess the situation. I was later told I was curled up in the corner of the classroom, knees over my face, shaking uncontrollably and speaking in tongues. I have no memory of this. I was also told that someone on site figured out was not having a seizure, but a nervous breakdown. I don't know if my parents were called or what, but I think they found out eventually, because I was put back in Kindergarten the next day, and that was the end of having Mean Mrs. Green as a teacher.
Knowing how skittish I was, I have always assumed that she probably didn't do anything SO horrible, but probably after a week of her, I just snapped. Having a few nervous breakdowns since then, with similar symptoms, I am sure this actually happened. My father was furious with me, the school, and my mother for just "allowing this to happen." But we were not allowed to speak of it, and that was that.
Years went by, and I avoided that woman like the plague. I forgot who ended up being my first grade teacher, I think it was a Mrs. Shanis, who I recall was very young and pleasant. Then had Mrs. Knott, Mrs. Kusmuck (who also had a mean reputation, but apparently something nice happened to her over the summer, and she was always nice to my class and every one thereafter), Mrs. Showalter, Mrs. Estes (who was replaced by a horrible Mrs. Cordell halfway through the year), and the best teacher, Mrs. Ray (the one who taught me to write) for 6th grade.
When I became an A/V nerd in 4th grade, I recall one of our frequent calls came from Mrs. Green. Apparently, she was a minor technophobe, and refused to touch "modern gadgets" like film projectors, record players, and filmstrips. I didn't have to do her classroom until 6th grade, but it was an simple job.
You'd get paged over the intercom, and if the teacher could let you go, you went to the library, picked up and signed out the equipment, and went to the classroom that needed setup. Almost all of the teachers that needed help were older women, but sometimes it was a younger teacher who just didn't have time, and all you had to do was set up. Mrs. Green not only needed setup, but you had to run the entire film for her. So being paged for Mrs. Green would be a 40 minute job or longer, depending on the film. Most of the time, she wouldn't even be in the room during the film. She'd see you come in, and walk out as you started to assemble things. But before she left, she'd look at her class and go:
"If I hear any of you maggots FUCKING get out of LINE, I will find you, and beat your parents in front of you and make you watch them DIE! Then I will scoop out your eyeballs and step on them until they pop! The last thing you will see is the lips of your dying mother asking, "Why?" You mess with the bull, my friends, you get the HORNS! Got it? This audio visual specialist is YOUR NEW GOD! And I will SACRIFICE YOUR SOUL to him when I rip out your hot beating heart with MY TEETH? COMPRENDE???"
Or something that sounded like that, it was hard to hear her while cowered under some kid's chair.