No Fool Like an Old Fool

Around 5 o’clock on Monday Facebook decided it was sick of me and my stupid  birthday. Up until then it was meekly reporting that this one and that one had written on my wall and I’d go and read “Happy Birthday Terry!” again and again and how nice was that? Later it just seemed to be saying, “Okay 60 people wrote on your wall, all right? Can we just leave it at that?”

But I was still happy. I loved getting all those greetings even thought by rights birthdays should  bring up weird stuff  for me what with that  phase I went through at 18 where the worse a guy acted the more determined I was to learn his birthday and send him a card. Who knows what I was trying to do there. The only thing our mom ever told us kids about our long-gone dad was that he let his brother use him as a doormat so maybe it was the doormat gene coming through. What can I say? I was young and trying to improve the whole universe through outlandish gestures of maidenly love.

But back to Monday: The birthday greetings that really killed me came from two former students: One said “Happy Birthday Mrs. M! Still a babe!” (So chivalrous and so untrue!) He was a boy taller than all the doorways with wonderful blond curls. The other came from this kid always loping in late to class, pushing his glasses up on his nose and smiling like it was Christmas morning. His comment: “Happy Birthday! Thanks again for friending me!”

But oh, you Boy-with-the-Glasses I am so glad I found you again! And you, Chivalrous Tall-Man! And you Marianne from the fourth seat in the middle who found ME! And you Christine in the row by the clock and you Jean with your delicate bones and you Sharon who I never actually had in class and you Paul and you Tom who went into the Air Force and of course you Michael who could tell even as young as you were that under my brave teachery line of chatter I was as shy as you were.

Sigh. I’ll admit it: I cherish  my friends on Facebook, which is probably silly. I know it’s all supposed to be light and fun and ‘omg!’ and ‘lol!’ but there it is. The more greetings came in Monday the more “seen” I felt – and accepted and yes even understood . I just loved  everyone’s shout-outs and especially the ones from  those former students to their teacher in room 334, who never found another job she loved as much.

even now when I drive by I want to go in  and teach a class

12 thoughts on “No Fool Like an Old Fool

  1. You are always teaching a class, Terry. It’s only the classroom has changed. Have appreciated being one of your fortunate students. 🙂

  2. Belated wishes for a happy birthday, Mrs. M. Having class each day with you was a gift, particularly when we would have those great discussions on works by William Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, H.G. Wells, Archibald Mac Leish… and let’s not forget Kurt Vonnegut whose work we read not only once that year, but twice!

    1. John I was just thinking about you and the coffee we had right before your ordination! We read JB right which helped me so much to understand the Book of Job. And TWO Vonneguts, that’s right.. Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five right? what a memory you have! thanks so much for this – now tell me where you are !

      1. I am living and working in the nation’s capital as a clinical social worker in a shelter for homeless mentally ill men who abuse drugs and alcohol. I am a visiting priest in a parish on the week-ends. All is fine and well; I wish you the same. And the Vonnegut books never have left me. The following year I wrote a critical paper about those two novels for junior year English. I also threw in God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. All I remember about the paper is that Mr. Moriarty didn’t appreciate it…… It was a learning experience for me in literary criticism.

      2. Mr Moriarty would be so chagrined to hear that now I’ll bet! Teachers cannot know how their words matter .
        Well John you are surely doing God’s work. Six years ago I spent a week ‘helping’ DC’s homeless if I really helped at all and living in the basement of the church George Washington was a member of. I have never forgotten it.
        That day (in ’09?) when we met at Starbucks I was muddled and sad about something god knows what; I remember that your presence was a real balm to me.

  3. What Dick said.

    I may have never had you in class but I love following fine, fine writing, because every good writer is also a teacher. Cheers!

  4. Happy birthday from one of your old Moody School teachers!!! You are still one of my all time favorite students!!…Len Flynn (Mr. Flynn to you) xxxxooooo

  5. I love that you found me and now I found you and all your wonderful writings. I did not have you in class, though my brother Billy did. He loves you till this day! I hope you continue with “Exit Only” I look forward to the read! Have a wonderful Spring! Michele

    1. hello honey . You most certainly did have me in class! want me to show you your name in my rank book?
      One of those electives I taught I think.
      Thanks so much for this Michele. I can see your blue eyes now …

  6. Sorry I forgot your B-day:-( Plus I know you were a great teacher, one that I wish I could have had and not Mrs. Light at SHHS…lol Of course since you and I are only 29 that could have never happened;-)

  7. I was just on your Facebook page because it had been so long since I had heard from you Danny Doglover. Mrs, Light is a good name for a teacher. Was she bulbous? I had a piano teacher named Mrs. Toye who had 1,000 Kleneexes stuffed in the front of her dress …:-)

    My teaching: It’s just that I loved them all; they could tell. 🙂

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