Mrs. Miller was my 6th grade teacher.
Mrs. Miller was an old, old, lady.
She had a metal plate in her head.
At least that's what she told us the first day of school.
She was reading off the typical list of class rules when she abruptly stopped and paused for a long moment. We all sat watching with our hands folded politely. It was the first thirty minutes of the first day of school and we were still interested and paying attention.
Mrs. Miller pointed to her forehead with a shaky arthritic finger and said, "The most important rule I have for this class is the one that will save my life, and it's all up to you children." She said this as she walked to the blackboard and wrote in chalk, " I will not throw anything at Mrs. Miller's head that might kill her dead." It was hard to read at first. Her writing looked like an EKG.
Our homework assignment for that day was to write that sentence 25 times and have our parents sign it when we were finished and bring it back the next day.
I remember my dad looking at me as I sat at the kitchen table writing this sentence over and over again and saying to my mother, "I hope the teacher isn't missing part of her brain too."
The next day we all gathered in a group on the playground and wondered aloud just what Mrs. Miller meant when she wrote "anything" on the board could kill her dead. Could an errant spitball kill her? A flying eraser? A flicked pencil?
We were all curious, but too afraid to ask.
Our imaginations ran wild.
The bell rang and we lined up single file and marched into class. We put our books away, placed our homework in the homework folder on the teacher's desk and sat down waiting for Mrs. Miller's instruction. Mrs. Miller hobbled into class and sat down at her desk.
Sammy, the bravest kid in class, blurted out, "Mrs. Miller, my dad wants to know if we're talkin' cotton balls killin' you or baseballs?"
Mrs. Miller was also hard of hearing.
Mrs. Miller squinted in Sammy's direction and said, "The state of your father's balls are none of my business."
The boys burst out laughing.
The girls looked confused.
Mrs. Miller left midway through the year. Sammy's dad probably had something to do with that.
the end. . .