Monday, January 6, 2014

Me and Miss Pero - Linda, 52

Me and Miss Pero

Were to meet at the Junior/Senior High School
Me, a Seventh Grader
Her, a Seventh & Eighth Grade Geography Teacher.
The student grapevine rumors were "Pero is mean & tough."
Looks like this year is going to be rough.

The bell rang for my second period class.
As I made my way down the hall. 
"Pero" looked about ten feet tall!
In reality, she was quite small.
She greeted me with a smile
As my eyes looked down at the tile.
Oh, how big is her room,
And I am filled with dreaded gloom.

The bell rings signaling second period is over.
She's not bad...I think I like her.
The days that follow prove the rumors wrong.
As, because of her teaching, I became strong.

One day as I entered her class,
Things all changed with a surprising blast.
Miss Pero said, "I saw you brought your friends with you today."
Oh, good I need relief from this bad scene.
For today I wore a gathered skirt,
Made by my mother's hands.
Not from a fabric roll, but from an old feed sack.
The background was deep blue.
With a border print of old hounds sitting all around,
As if calling attention to every passerby.

All I want is to get through the day unnoticed.
No attention to me.
But that was not to be.
For Miss Pero greeted me, "I see you brought your friends with you today."
Although I didn't want to be seen, she was very keen.
She saw that I was embarrassed by her greeting.

From that day forth, she took the extra step
To take me under her wing.
She encouraged me to excel,
At the sound of that second bell.

I learned more than just geography that year.
She taught me I had value.
For without my knowledge,
Miss Pero entered my geography project in the Buhl Science Fair.
I was awarded a second place ribbon in front of the whole
School (seventh to twelfth grades).
I was stunned and not with a gun.
But by the action of Miss Pero, she proved to be my hero.

Again in the eighth grade, she helped me find my voice.
And it wasn't by my choice.
There was a vote taken by the teachers and my peers
For a student to receive the American Legion Award that year.
As the recipient, I was to give a speech on Memorial Day
at the cemetery on the hill.
Oh, that gave me such a chill.

The crowd would contain the whole marching band,
Veterans of several wars, and many spectators too.
Again I was facing the big guns (just a pun).

Miss Pero spent her spare time with me after school and
At lunch, teaching me how to publicly speak.
I was such a geek.
I memorized John McCrae's poem:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

...The torch: be yours to hold it high
If you break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
And Miss Pero really put me through the drill.
"Breathe here.  Raise your voice there.  Lower it here.
Look around, not at the ground." (Inflection was the direction!)
All the while, Miss Pero munched on celery sticks or bananas
Covered with peanut butter.  This was strange to me,
But, oh, gee...
Miss Pero was doing this for me.
I often wondered why
She would spend her lunch,
Teaching me just so...

Seems I learned much from her.
I hope I made her proud
Because Miss Pero taught me more
Than just speaking to the crowd.
I hope someday to see her again,
And be able to thank her much
For taking a shy, self-conscious girl
And growing her up.

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