oxymoron67: (Default)
... but I can't find it anywhere. (Inspired by something I saw on-line)

My second grade reading teacher couldn't pronounce my first name. Now, understand, my first name is Sean. It's not Aphraates or Amaethlu (both saint names, by the by) or some other difficult name to pronounce. It's Sean.

Yet to her, it was Seen.

I corrected her, because, well, it was my NAME godammit.

It stuck as a nickname. When I asked people why, they said that my name just doesn't work that way in English.

Now, keep in mind that many (most?) of the people I went to school with were, um, not the sharpest crayons in the 64 pack.

Also, a large chunk of my classmates were of Eastern European descent, with last names that were painfully long and lacked sufficient vowels. These folks would get offended if you mispronounced their last names*, because you were somehow insulting their heritage, yet, I was Seen not Sean, because English doesn't work that way.

*You also had to be careful because different branches of the same family would pronounce the SAME LAST NAME differently and would get all huffy if you used the wrong version. No, really.

The nickname stuck until I graduated high school. I haven't responded to it since.
oxymoron67: (Default)
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I remember correcting my third grade teacher. It was something about history... we were talking about European history... Napoleon maybe, and she got one of the facts wrong.

I raised my hand and said that she was wrong, and corrected her.

As you can imagine, she didn't take well to being corrected by an eight year old. I thought I was polite, but I was eight, so who knows. She told me that I was clearly wrong and speaking out of turn like that was bad. I had interrupted the class for no good reason, and when my grandmother the school nurse came by later that day, my teacher would be sure to tell her.

I was livid because I was absolutely correct and knew it. The next period was library class. I looked the information up in the encyclopedia and pointed it out to her.

I remember my teacher looking like she just swallowed something really, really bitter.

In her defense, she did apologize in front of the class.

Clearly, she was trying to scare/shame me into silence and I was having none of it. Being scared never occurred to me. I was too damned angry.
oxymoron67: (Default)
Two fun mom stories!

1) At one point in her career, mom would teach the first four periods of the day, then spend the rest of the day working on federal and state programs and grants.

At about Christmastime one year, one of my mom;s students noticed that every time she gave a test or quiz, she wore black. So, he asked about it.

Mom didn't know she was doing this: she has a lot of black in her wardrobe, as she has light skin and silver hair, so she rocks black.

But, she's not going to let a teenager get the better of her. Without missing a beat, she turns to this student and says, "It's because I'm in mourning for your grades."

This stuck for the rest of mom's career.

My siblings and I went to school in the 70's and 80's. Mom, as a single parent and a teacher, didn't really have much spare money. In fact, the only thing that kept us from free school lunch programs was that my siblings and I were all on Social Security because of dad's death.

In the late 70's and early 80's, designer jeans were all the rage. My sisters wanted Gloria Vanderbilt jeans something fierce.

Mom didn't see the point. After listening to my sisters whine about this, she turned to them and said, "If you really want to have someone's name on your ass, I'll buy regular jeans and sew the name on them myself."

Scared that mom might actually do this, my sisters dropped the subject.
oxymoron67: (reading)
So, I was checking my e-mail this morning and I got an e-mail from someone who I knew back in elementary and high school.

Keep in mind, I've never been to a high school reunion. I have no desire to go. I didn't like high school, it didn't like me.

I was kind of surprised, but what made me chuckle was this

I had a conversation with my son last night about Olympic swimming, which resulted in a series of thoughts that ended with apartheid, which made me think of you (there was some Jeopardy-like game in a grade school GATE class, and you answered the question about South Africa’s official policy of separation). I hope all is well with you

So.... when one thinks of apartheid, one thinks of me. (No, I'm not offended. I'm guessing he remembers that because I was astonishingly geeky from an early age.)

As long as I'm doing a stream of consciousness thing, this reminds me of something that happened last weekend. Before I met my friends to see Man on Wire, I hit an ATM machine for some money. I'm used to having multiple language choices, normally Spanish, French, various Asian languages, and sometimes Polish, Italian and Russian. I never thought I'd see any ATM which would only have two choices: English and Afrikaans. I was amused.


oxymoron67: (Default)

October 2013

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