So far, I've told you about two teachers at Kimberly Elementary School who taught from completely opposite ends of the educational and psychological pendulum. But, I haven't yet told you about Miss Powers.
Miss Powers was my first teacher ever since there was no such thing as kindergarten in 1966 Kimberly, AL. I will never forget walking into that classroom and seeing that stunning creature with long, straight blonde hair, wearing a mini skirt and white, patent-leather go-go boots. I had never seen anything like her in my almost-six years of Pentecostal life.
I think every girl in 1st grade went home that day and begged their mamas for a pair of those patent-leather boots. We knew better than to ask for the mini skirt.
I'm sure Miss Powers helped me learn to read and write and come up with the answer to 1+5 that year. But, another thing she taught me as she walked around that classroom wearing those amazing go-go boots was that clothes DO make a statement. The statement her clothes made to us first-graders was "This is what groovy looks like."...And we LIKED it. The statement they apparently made to our mamas was: "A floozy is teaching our children." (Funny thing...our daddys didn't seem to have a problem with those go-go boots.)
That year, Joy and I had a HUGE fight. She had asked to borrow my brand new Cinderella coloring book. So, I let her. But I had NO IDEA she would color the picture I had decided to wait until very last to color--the one with Cinderella dancing with Prince Charming at the ball. Not only that, she tore it out of my book to give to Miss Go-Go Boots!
When I heard the page tearing and turned around to see what Joy was doing (she sat right behind me, of course), I immediately burst into tears. Joy didn't know what else to do but start crying too!
Well, Miss Powers took the two of us out into the hall, trying to figure out what had just happened. I was still crying and snubbin' and wiping snot from my nose, while Joy is trying to explain her side. I don't remember how that talk went between the three of us. I finally calmed down. (Of course, later in the day, I did have to point out to Joy that EVERYONE knows Cinderella's gown is pink, not teal.)
But, the next day Miss Powers asked me to stay in the room while everyone else was walking down to Sister Lee's yeast rolls. She asked me if I could keep a secret, to which of course I said, "Yes" (with my fingers probably crossed behind my back...like that made up for anything). Then, she handed me a brand new coloring book--not Cinderella (no such luck), but almost as good--Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
In the middle of that first-grade year, my family moved to Green Acres, Alabama, in my mama's desperate efforts to keep my daddy from having a nervous breakdown. (Those efforts didn't work.)
Don't let the rural name fool you--it was not Green, and there were no Acres. It bordered the cities of Birmingham and Midfield--and was block after block of small houses with even smaller chain-link-fenced yards. Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor were nowhere to be found.
I had to leave Miss Powers and Joy and that four-room schoolhouse and move to the "big city."
("Dear Reader," be warned...that "journey" to and through Green Acres is the stuff of many future blog posts.)
By the time we moved back to Kimberly, Miss Powers and her go-go boots were long gone. But, I still have the memory of that coloring book.
"The Lord doesn’t see things the way (we) see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:17, NLT)