Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hall! Office! Zero!

I was still young, albeit by most standards—with the exception of older brothers and sisters who for some reason thought they should be able to tell me what I could do by virtue of being the youngest of seven children—over 25 years-old and with a family of five or six of us. I lose count. (Shown to the right are my wife, Sheila, my parents, Ellis and Lola and four of our children in 1972. L-R Beth, Sheri, and Julie and in my ever-loving arms, Sam, Jr.)
It should be noted that my favorite comeback to my elder siblings was, “I put the grits on my table; I’ll make the decision, sans your advice.”
I was about to embark on a college career thanks to the GI Bill for veterans. At the time, we were living in Warner Robins. I decided to attend Middle Georgia College and to seek a degree in Business Administration. I arrived at the college and went to the assigned testing area to take my College Entrance exam. There were quite a few people, mostly freshly graduated from high school and one or two my age or in that vicinity.
I could not believe it when I looked up to the front of the room and spotted a very familiar face, one I had not seen perhaps since my days in high school.
My mind immediately drifted back some ten or twelve years and into my high school math class. As the teacher scanned the role, she called out the names of my classmates and she paused only slightly when she came to one name. She called out my name with an edge of bitterness to it. “Crenshaw!” To my credit, I answered promptly with either a here or present which seemed to rankle her. Was it just my imagination or did she growl slightly?
Well, the answer came instantly! She did growl! “Mister, I had your brother in my class for two years, and you can just forget acting like him. Do you understand me? He didn’t get away with it and neither will you! Are we clear? Do you understand me?” she asked without leaving room for an answer. (Sam at age 17 looking truly innocent, don't you agree)
That was the beginning of a tumultuous couple of years in which her weapon was bullying me and others whom she had reason to suspect she needed to bully. I should explain that the nature of a “brilliant teenager” is one in which he seeks an opening for a laughter-induced remark. Inevitably, it probably wasn’t worth it, because she would pullout her grade book and say, that’s it! You get a zero!
In time, she put up with any rebellion even less and shortened it to something that I recall as, “Hup! Hup! Hall! Office! Zero!” while folding her arms across her ample bosom and pointing toward the door. As the man said when the Hindenburg crashed and burned, “Oh the humanity of it!”
Somehow, I managed a C+ for my four years of high school, but when I looked at the familiar face supervising the College Entrance Exam, I shook with humiliation and fear from my strange high school days. There is little doubt that she had looked over the last of names of those of us who were scheduled to take the test, because, when I raised my hand in an attempt to ask where I should put my name on the test sheet, she flew into a rage and went directly into her past life.
“No sir! Not in here, Mister! This is college! You will not be allowed to disrupt this test!”
“I just want to know where----.” She cut me off and looked around the room at all of the nervous little kids from high school for their approval of how she had just handled her former student.
I raised the white flag of surrender and just printed my name on the paper where I thought it should go.
Oh the trauma I suffered!
Purchase my book "Stories From the Cotton Patch" by ordering from Sam Crenshaw, 966 Barlow Road, Hawkinsville, GA 31036. $10 plus $3 S & H.


Shannon said...

ha! oh don't worry, I, also, have suffered due to an older brother's misdeeds in a high school classroom.
And, yes, you look perfectly innocent to me.

gigi said...

Was that older brother my daddy??

Anonymous said...

I didn't know JAMIE had been in her class!!!!