It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything and I thought, this is the perfect opportunity to post. Enjoy…
Last night I was on Facebook and noticed a post that my friend Gary had made that featured an article that had been shared a few times by friends of mine on my news feed. I laughed out loud for obvious reasons but then I noticed the hash tags that followed it and broke into a smile that lasted the rest of the night.
#mrbatestoldyou, that’s the kicker…
You see Mr. Bates was my 6th grade home room teacher and one of my favorites. I went to middle school in a little rural town called Centreville on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Population: 100. Just kidding. But it did feel like that sometimes growing up, if you are from a small town yourself you get my drift. My middle school had what were called “pods”, which was really just small wings for each grade that spun off around a central office/ gymnasium/ library. I can still see Mr. Bates classroom in the corner of the A pod, right next to Mrs. Jenkins-Moore’s classroom (who had the cleanest chalkboard around) and across from my orange locker.
That little ol’ facebook post brough back so many memories. So while I’m feeling all nostalgic I thought I’d reflect on a few of my memories from that era of life and lessons learned from Mr. Bates:
- The United States military format for the date is dd mmm yyyy. I still use this when I date my paperwork to this day.
- Call me Ishmael. Mr. Bates read this story out loud to our class and it was my first introduction to Moby Dick and classic literature.
- Helen Keller is the shit. We had to write a paper and I don’t remember the topic but I remember the subject I picked. I chose Helen Keller. I remember getting a book on her from the library (shout out to Mrs. Laird our school librarian) and being fascinated by her life; it was the first time I ever read a book in a day.
- Jujubees, polyester, and Saturday Night Fever. I’ve always considered myself a bit of an old soul but when I was in the 6th grade I was OBSESSED with the 70’s. I listened to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack on my Discman/ boom box on repeat while dancing around in my polyester dresses and jelly shoes.
- The Washington Cathedral in DC.
- U-G-L-Y You ain’t got no alibi, you UGLY.
I have other memories of that year too; 1996, how is that 21 years ago?! I remember it was the year Kurt Cobain died but I didn’t know who he was or how monumental his suicide would be to the music world at the time. It was the year of Mia Hamm and the US Women’s Soccer team. Mr. Wilmer was my bus driver and Kicking Kiwi Kool-Aid was my drink of choice. It was the year that Dolly the sheep was cloned and I went to my first drive-in movie at the Bengies theatre in Essex, MD. We saw Nutty Professor and you could hear the laughter streaming out of everyone’s cars during this infamous scene.
Anyways, I remember when my class (2002 represent!) was going through the middle school we had a pretty bad reputation. There were some tough kids in my class, in fact I think we were the only grade to ever lose recess for a year and I’m sure I never formally said thank you for the impact you had on my life. Probably because I didn’t know what that impact was at the time. So thanks Mr. Bates; for the memories, the lessons, and the smiles. You were a great teacher and I’m happy our paths crossed, even if I was only 12 at the time.