Friday Five!

1. What was/is your favorite subject in school? Why?

Assuming this is taking us back to high school, I’ll say English and literature. I was an avid reader and when books were assigned to us, I had already read most of them at least once, for fun, so I would read them again and really understand them when it came time to be graded. Of course, I never did get through “Moby Dick,” but Cliff’s Notes saved my ass on that one!!!

2. Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

Marianne Popovich, 9th grade English, McKeesport High School in McKeesport, Pa. That woman loved me and took absolutely no shit from me. She pushed all her students very hard, but she always told me that she saw something special in me, which made her push me 10 times harder. She put me up on a pedestal and knocked me off my high horse — whatever she felt I needed at the given time. I ran into her years later, when I was working retail, and she greeted me warmly with, “My poet.” I didn’t realize that she would even remember me, seven years later, but she did. Loved that woman. She angered me and enamored me, but the important thing was that she brought out the passion in me. Some days, I wish she were still in my life, pushing me to do my best because nothing less than that would please her. 🙂

3. What is your favorite memory of school?

Um, leaving it. I’m not kidding — I remember at graduation, sitting across the aisle from Pinhead, after months of us not speaking to each other, and as the ceremony ended and everyone else was bawling, we shared a secret smile. We didn’t have to speak … we knew that whereas all of our dumbass classmates were heartbroken at what they perceived to be an ending, we were thrilled to glimpse a time to make a new beginning. Opportunities for escape lay upon the not-so-distant horizon, and we possessed the incredible optimism that only accompanies youth that we were going to leave Kiddie Land behind and go on to make a difference in the world. It was the first time I felt truly free.

4. What was your favorite recess game?

Socializing with the brain-dead girls who attended White Oak Elementary School was not my favorite activity — I much preferred to stay in the library and read a book, which I always did in the winter. But when the weather was warm and inviting, I played hopscotch, jumped rope and brought my Strawberry Shortcake dolls for amusement. I had the whole collection — Strawberry Shortcake, Purple Pie Man, Huckleberry Pie, Orange Marmelade, Lemon Meringue and the others and even a dog, if I remember correctly. Us girls sat on the benches on the playground and just laughed forever, playing with our dolls.

Oh, gawd, in fourth grade, “Grease 2” was all the rage … we were all singing and dancing like fools, re-enacting the movie. lol … I’d forgotten about that!!! Oh, and “Flashdance,” too, even though none of us were allowed to see it, we kinda picked up on the commercials, and many of us were taking jazz dance lessons at The Dance Company in North Versailles, so we had a ball.

But come to think of it, I actually enjoyed hanging out with the boys at recess, whenever possible. I was always the “cool chick” with them — I wasn’t grossed out too much by their worm-digging activities, and we would climb to the tops of the jungle gyms and talk about what we learned that day in class. And boys were just funny back then … so many of them had older sisters and had questions about “girlie” things, and I guess I was the one who clued them in on stuff like that. ha ha. Yep, there’s always one of us who spills the secrets!

5. What did you hate most about school?

What does everyone hate about school? Teasing and general stupidity on the part of their insensitive classmates. People pretty much left me alone for years just because I had (smartly) befriended nearly everyone in my class and in the older and younger classes, so I had allies. But there were these two little rotten twats in 9th grade who made it their mission to “take me down,” because I was acing my classes and they were stupid as dog shit. They wanted to copy my test papers and homework, and I remember hiding my work and telling them that it was pointless for me to carry them through the class (it was Business Development) because it would be my grade on their report cards. So I was treated to gum in the hair, merciless teasing and them turning all of their illiterate friends against me. I hated school then. Luckily, the next year I entered advanced classes and pretty much didn’t cross paths with them — and then one dropped out because she got her ugly ass knocked up, and the other was too busy fucking the football team to notice anyone but herself. I did end up in one class with them in 10th grade, but the teacher was hot for my mother and I quit attending his class because all the bullshit (it was last period, so I went to the library to work on the student newspaper), and he gave me straight 100 percents on my report card so that he could impress my mom. Hah.

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