The room held a battleship-gray metal desk along with two chairs. That huge chipped and dented desk dominated the small room. For all I knew, it probably saw action during the last world war.
The doctors deemed that my 11-year old tonsils needed yanking out. Doctors in the 1960’s were ready to slice and dice those things out as soon as a kid had a few sore throats.
First they said I needed blood work. That’s how I ended up with that desk sitting in one of those chairs.
An older girl, maybe six or eight years older than me walked into the room and sat across from me.
A enormous needle connected to a huge glass vial appeared on the desk. She took my unwilling arm and jabbed me with the needle. And jabbed and jabbed, dozens of times (or so it seemed). Finally the torture ended. She left and I was sent to my hospital room.
An older woman walked in holding a basket with more needles and vials! She said that the torture I had just undergone yielded no blood work after all. I said impossible, I can’t go through this again.
Before I knew it, the woman inserted the needle in my arm, filled the vial with blood, and left the room. Rather painless.
So I was a guinea pig for a novice in training. That’s what happens when you’re a nobody with no one to protect you, no status, no wealth. Surely those Kennedy kids never got any medical personnel in training.
Life is not fair.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Land of Confusion.”
Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!
Ninth grade algebra made me want to scream. It was a combination of things: my mind didn’t connect with the math and the teacher stunk.
Yeah, I’m blaming the teacher. She hated me. I had long, dirty-blonde hair, wore wire-rimmed glasses, and looked countercultural (early 1970’s and hippie like). She invited any student that was having problems to come in after class for extra help. When I did, she blew me off and said just read the math book, it will explain it to you. She frequently made remarks about how the protesting students on campus were scum and I guess she pegged me as scum.
Besides hating me, she was nearly as clueless about algebra as I was. So many times the smartest kids in the class had to correct her work on the blackboard since she got all confused and couldn’t solve the math problems.
She was short, chubby, and big-busted. And she insisted on wearing sheath dresses from a few years back when she was thinner. That’s how the students gave her the nickname of Boob Tube.
I nearly failed that class. The next year I took geometry and got an A in it. So it wasn’t just me being totally stupid.
In college, I took algebra even though I knew it may bring down my grade-point average. I was averaging an A all through that class until the chapters on algorithms. Then I got lost and ended up with a B. Yet I was thrilled that I understood the algebraic concepts and passed with a decent grade.
I should have visited my old algebra teacher and shoved that B grade into her face. Then I should’ve told her she needed to get an algeBRA.
In the third grade, I fell in love with Nick Naroni. Nick had black hair, green eyes, and was actually a taller third-grader than I was. He also read Greek and Roman mythology or at least versions of those stores that could be found in a public elementary school library. So being in love as I was, I adopted his interests and also began reading mythology. Nick failed the fourth grade and I lost sight of him, but literature remains a passion of mine.
I just finished reading Andy Miller’s book “The Year of Reading Dangerously.” Last year I read “My Life in Middlemarch” by Rebecca Mead. Both of these authors reflect on how a book or books can affect a person’s life. What a goofball I am, I read about other people reading. Or so my husband thinks I am.
In Andy’s book sometimes you can’t make out where the books he writes about end and where his life begins. His book reading propels him through a sort of mid-life crisis. After many years where parenthood, the hectic pace of life and work interfere with his first love of reading, he becomes determined to make the time to read fifty great books (and two not so great). The books truly connect with his life.
One time, Nick did an oral report in class on mythology. He started asking questions about the ancient gods and I answered every one of his questions. As you know, I’d been reading. Then he asked a question about something that I didn’t read about: “Why is the month of January named after the god Janus?” Janus was a Roman god with two faces. The probable answer clicked in my head right away. “Because one face looks to the old year and the other to the new year,” I responded. All my correct answers surprised the teacher and Nick. I was so proud of myself. Decades later I’m still reliving my moment of glory!
Anyway, the books through my life are precious and have become part of my essence. Thanks Andy (and Nick) for providing me with a blog post topic. I’ve got stories about my book reading too.