A couple of days ago, something reminded me of the school teacher I had in the third grade. I cannot tell you what led me to thoughts of Miss Martin, but it began an entirely new admiration for her as I reminisced about this woman who taught me when I was 8 years old.
I don’t remember what Miss Martin’s first name was. I might have known at one time, but it’s been sixty years since she was my teacher. I never heard anyone call her by her first name.
Miss Martin was a tall, thin woman who had never been married, and as far as I know she never was married. To an 8-year-old kid, she seemed old, but she may have been only in her 30s. Her hair was dark and I don’t remember seeing any gray in her hair. She wore glasses, the nerdy kind you see in old movies. She was a rather strict teacher, a no-nonsense sort. If you know what the term “school marm” means, you probably have a picture of Miss Martin in your mind.
One time while in class, I had turned around to talk with the student who sat behind me. I was prone to talk too much, and that did get me into trouble a few times. I’m not sure where Miss Martin was at the time I began my conversation, but suddenly something whacked me on the head. It wasn’t hard enough to hurt, and I thought it was the boy who sat in front of me. I turned around quickly to give him a piece of mind, and there stood Miss Martin, tall as the Washington Monument. (It’s funny what you remember sixty years later.)
Teachers at that time did not wear slacks or jeans. Girls also had to wear either dresses or skirts to school. It’s just the way it was. Miss Martin always looked nice, but I doubt she turned any heads. She wore lipstick, but I don’t think she wore any other makeup. She didn’t seem to dress or conduct herself in a way to attract any men.
Miss Martin always wore her hair the same way, and it was obvious to anyone how she prepared this hairstyle. She parted her hair down the middle from her forehead all the way down the back of her head, and made two pigtails, braided both, and then put them across the top of her head, back and forth until she was out of braids, and then pinned them in place.
My little friend, Candy, and I played together all the time. We had been almost inseparable since we were 5 years old. One day, we decided we would style our hair like Miss Martin’s hair. Neither of us had hair as long as hers, but we tried to style it. I thought we looked so very cool in our new hairstyles, until Candy’s dad told us our heads looked like horses’ rear-ends.
There are a couple of things I remember about Miss Martin that contribute to my fond memories of her. One of them is that at the beginning of class every day, she taught us to memorize a chapter from the book of Psalms in the Bible. She would begin with a verse, and then the next day we would repeat that verse and go on to the next verse. It was her way of teaching us to memorize the chapter. The first chapter we memorized was Psalm 1. I can still see Miss Martin at the front of the class saying, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither.”
The other particular thing I remember about Miss Martin that endeared her to me was the time we did a class reading, and everyone was given a book. She lacked one book, so two people in the class had to share a book. Dub Gibson was the heart-throb of Miss Martin’s third grade class, and she had ME share a book with him. This meant we had to sit in one desk together. I couldn’t have planned it better myself, and I am still smiling over it.
Enjoy your week!
— My love to all,
• • •
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
— Psalm 1:1-2