So…I’m suppose to tell you about me hitting my seventh grade teacher. But it wasn’t my fault - kinda.
Mrs. Stringfellow had a bad habit of pulling hair. Not just pulling, but grabbing a handful and shaking the head while telling the tormented student (okay it was me) not to talk in class. Teachers could get away with shit like that back then. I have also been hit on the back of the hand with a ruler for poor penmanship, but that was pretty common among the classes. I wasn’t singled out for that infraction.
Anyways, it didn’t matter if it was actually me or my buddies Richard or Tommy talking, if she heard noise in my direction, I was the target. In all fairness, there was a couple of other punks and one girl that was the recipient of the head shaking, too. But I, deservedly, was the numero uno target.
One day was pretty bad in that I got jerked three or four times and my head was sore. When I got home my two older brothers, Bill and Jim, who were 15 and 10 years older than me, were home, too. I don’t remember why they were home, but they were. As I walked in the bedroom, Bill rubbed my head and said some kind of hello. I winched a little and he wanted to know why.
Dumb me, I told him about Mrs. Stringfellow and the hair pulling. He just chuckled and said I probably deserved it. So I was headed into the other bedroom when I heard Jim say, “If that bitch pulled my hear I would knock the shit out of her.” That’s good enough for me. If Jim, who had rather fight than fuck, said that was the thing to do, then the bitch was mine.
So the next day, sure enough, here she came down the isle with that look on her face. She grabbed me by the hair, jerking me up out of my desk and started to shake my head. That’s when I came up between her tits (there were surprisingly soft, as I remember it) and caught her under her chin.
She started to stagger backwards but was able to grabbed me by the neck of my shirt with her other hand while still holding on to my hair. She took three or four steps backward with me still in her grasp, bent over and trying to keep my balance. And just like in the movies when a car is speeding backward and the driver does a 180 spin to start forward, she got her footing and off I was going to the principles office, my feet barely touching the ground and trying to keep from slipping and falling.
She got to the principles office and, without knocking, flung the door open (good thing he wasn’t jacking off or humping a teacher or something) and threw me into the office and yelled at Mr. Cooper, “This little bastard just hit me and I want him out of this school, NOW.” Mr. Cooper, calmly but sternly told her, in effect, to shut the fuck up and get out. He would handle it.
And he did. We talked about what and why and he said that he would talk to her because he had been getting some reports from some parents about her conduct. But he could not condone violence in his school, so I was suspended for three days. She kept her job. But I had a rough rest of the year on top of all the emotional stuff. In fact, she moved me and my desk next to hers. I was having some rough times growing up and no support at home that year and my grades were not that good. So at the end of the school year she had the pleasure, according to her smile and the gleam in her eyes, of telling me in front of the class that I wasn’t being promoted to the eighth grade, but that I was being ‘placed’ there.
Back in the 50’s, the city of Atlanta did not have junior highs. Elementary was from 1st to 7th and high school form 8th to 12th. She just didn’t want me back in her class again and the feeling was mutual. She was never on my Christmas card list, either.
However, for a while after I punched her, I was treated like a hero by my classmates. I kept in touch with Mr. Cooper for many years, till he passed away and he repeatedly laughed about the incident and said that he often wished he could have done the same thing to her.
But I was on my brothers shit-list for a long time after that. Jim never admitted that he said that, but we both knew he did.