Miss Brown’stin1 daily preparation began with a sweeping entrance as she crossed the classroom to the dais in five brisk paces.

She plonked her handbag – usually one of the black patent variety that were then so de rigeur – on the seat and in one elegant turning motion, began the morning prayer with a bow to the crucifix above the blackboard and without a single glance at us.

The morning devotion completed, her own ritual began.

First, she took a compact mirror from her handbag and cupping it in one hand, gave her hair and face a once over. Light adjustments were made to her, carefully coiffed, hairdo and the top of her pinky checked straying eyelashes. She’d pout her lips at the mirror to review the status of her lipstick. Sometimes she’d grimace at the mirror like she was about to snarl.

Then came the stocking ritual. She raised her leg onto the dais and stretched, feeling and stretching from her ankle to her upper thighs, stretching and straightening along the way.

After that came the top which she’d adjust with a sharp tug by both hands from the waistline.

Then she turned her attention to us. She already had ours. She looked soft, warm, glamorous and fragrant. It was a heady mixture for a four year old. She was like a film goddess and the woman on the sweetbox at home. She was like no-one we’d ever seen before.

I suppose I could have had a worse introduction to schooldays. Miss Brown was no angel of mercy. She was tough and took no nonsense. She got our respect and our fear in equal measure.

16 thoughts on “Nothing’s ever what it seems

    • I have to say this piece is pure fiction. I do remember my first teacher. He was old and rather grumpy but he did love poetry. Ms Brown and her story was an anecdote, but not about a real person, just an imaginary one

      • And now you have destroyed all my romantic ideas about the first teacher, oh well. I only remember the teachers from my girls only grammar school and they were something completely different. We had one man, the German conversation teacher and he was …… ok forget it, but I do remember him very well.

      • I don’t understand how that could destroy your romantic ideas about first teachers. I certainly had teachers who were more akin to Ms Brown’s, but later, when I was older. It was a blogging course assignment to write something anecdotal or a series of anecdotes, the kind of thing I just don’t or won’t do, so I spiced it up as an anecdote about a woman, who reveals herself as a teacher, who reveals herself as a sort of temptress and then her audience is a classroom full of four year olds. And all that in less than 100 words. It was fun. Not meant to disillusion. Perhaps I should put a worning sticker on it?

  1. Jumped over from Kate McClelland’s reblog. Your reply above describes the reader’s journey perfectly – mine, at least. If I were your writing teacher, this assignment would come back with a great big A+.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

      • Coaching credentials – I list them because I never got it together to banish them all with a simple Ph.D and, as *THE* ADD Poster Girl, I was hoping to make sure people would think, perhaps, that I’m so-much-more than the flake I appear to be on most of my days. 🙂

        Do you know that, in my more than 25 years of experience, you are the very FIRST person who ever asked me that question? So much for credentials!

        Early on, a fellow “student” and I were taking a seminar along with a highly credentialed crew. My favorite was the man with “MSU.” Once we were no longer in awe of each other and afraid for our own professional reputations, one brave soul finally admitted she was unfamiliar with that particular credential and asked about it. After a l-o-n-g silence we finally heard these words:
        “Makes Shit Up” — you all had initials after your names and I wanted some too.

        He is a well-known, highly successful member of the coaching community, btw – Sandy Vilas, current owner of Coach, Inc. (formerly Coach University) – and I fell in love with him at that very moment!


        P.S. If you are seriously interested, I explain what they all stand for in a seriously out-of-date page on my blog (#4 from the dropdown menu under “Working with Me” – at the top of each page – “My Trainer Bio”).

        It’s a long boring post, however. I suggest #5 – “Menage a Moi” – a much briefer, considerably more engaging take on who I am.

      • Thanks for the reply, Madelyn. I can be flippant and I do know what ADD and PTSD are. The MCC and SCAC have me stumped but, since words are my business, my reaction to a blizzard of letters lies somewhere between bewildered and bothered, but not bewitched. A little intrigued, too. I’ll have a second look at your site and thank you, for reading mine

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