Monday, March 2, 2009

MRS. SYDOW


Mrs. Sydow was my 4th grade teacher. One thing I really liked about Mrs. Sydow was that she loved books. I think I really developed my love for reading from her. She would read to us almost every day. She read us The Little House on the Prairie books, which later became one of my favorite book series. I can also remember her reading us The Wind in the Willows, and The Mill on the Floss. I'm sure she read more, but I can't remember what they were. I know she read us several of the Little House books.
Mrs. Sydow also loved pictures of Mary and Baby Jesus, which are known as Madonna and Child pictures. She had a collection of these pictures, which she would put up on the bulletin board at Christmas. Because I loved to look at those pictures, I started a collection of Madonna and Child pictures of my own. Mine were mostly Christmas cards my parents got. After Christmas I would go through them and ask if I could have the Madonna cards. Since they were just throwing them away, my parents would give them to me. My parents received a LOT of Christmas cards - close to 500, so I would get a lot of Madonna cards after Christmas every year. I wouldn't just keep any old Madonna card, it had to appeal to me to become part of my Madonna collection. Later on, when we were moving to Texas, I took my Madonna and Child Christmas card collection and gave it all to Mrs. Sydow. She was absolutely thrilled! I have regretted it ever since.

We were always writing stories in Mrs. Sydow's class. One Halloween she brought a Halloween Witch doll and sat it on her desk. She told us we were supposed to write a story about the witch on her desk. I can remember my story started out: "The Witch on Mrs. Sydow's desk came to visit us on Halloween...." That's all I can remember, and because she thought my story was so wonderful, she had me stand up and read it to the class the next day and she also kept it. Two years later, when I was going into 6th grade, I found out Mrs. Sydow had moved up to be one of the 6th grade teachers, and you guessed it - I was in her 6th grade class. That Halloween, she had me read the same story that I had written in 4th grade. I was so embarrassed!

I was not the only one from our 4th grade class that was in Mrs. Sydow's 6th grade class. In fact, almost her entire 4th grade class was in her 6th grade class. There were 2 boys in both the 4th grade and the 6th grade class that I didn't like. One boy's name was Steven Whitehill and I can't remember the other boy's name. I always had to sit by those boys, probably because she knew I wouldn't talk to them because I didn't like them. I don't think Mrs. Sydow liked them either, especially Steven Whitehill. She used to get so frustrated with him that she would take her book (whatever one she had in her hand at the time) and she would hit him on the head with it and scream, "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE??" I am not lying when I tell you that she did this several times a week. After she would scream at him for several minutes and hit him on the head and grab his arm and shake him, then she would appologize to him and then give him his punishment, or even do nothing. A few times she even got so frustrated she would walk out of the room. I remember one time she walked out and she didn't come back for a long time and then the Principal came into our room and talked to us, or took Steven to her office.

I sympathized with her, because I hated Steven Whitehill too. He would torment me almost EVERY SINGLE day! He would follow me home from school until we got to the Junior High and he would push me down and sit on me and not let me up. Now, I wasn't a sissy girl, and I was pretty strong, but he was stronger, and I promise you I could NOT make him get off of me. I can even remember being at the Junior High, and the Junior High kids were getting out of school, and some of them walked past us and saw him sitting on me and yelled at him to leave that little girl alone, but it did no good. Finally he would give up and get up and go home. I can remember I started taking a different route home every day so I could avoid him. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. I even told my mother about him tormenting me but she didn't do anything.

I can also remember Mrs. Sydow telling us all the time how much she loved us. That made quite an impression on me that a school teacher would love us. Plus because she yelled at - not just Steven Whitehill - but the whole class so often we wondered if she hated us. I guess Mrs. Sydow was one of those teachers that "when she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad she was horrid." But she is the teacher I remember and think about the most.

6 comments:

Amber said...

cool story - I've never heard you talk about this before, I'm surprised your mom didn't do something about the bully - I will also have to go look up that book The Mill on the Floss or was it the Floss on the Mill? (dang i'll have to go look again LOL)

Lindsay-Weaver said...

I had the same teacher in second and fifth grades. I was so excited to have her twice, because I adored her. :)

Bullet for Babs said...

Amber its the Mill on the Floss and its by George Eliot...I was supposed to read it in college but it was boring and I decided hanging out with Stace-Ghost was more important than reading that book...
I'm glad that you started talking more about yourself Nene...I never hear any of these stories either...And don't worry about the bully...he probably ended up doing nothing with his life...I should know because I was one once...and look at me now...
do you know what happened to that bully?

Native Minnow said...

I wish I could figure out a way to get Mr M interested in reading. He just won't do it. I'm not sure why. My other kids basically taught themselves to read. He has no interest in it whatsoever.

Stace-Ghost said...

I hope I make that kind of impression on at least one student :) thanks for sharing, it gives me hope!

Nene said...

Babs, no I don't know what happened to that bully - and I think he went to a different junior high than me because I never saw him again after elementary school.

Minnow - if you want Mr. M to develop a love for reading, read to him.

Stace-Ghost - you probably already have affected positively more kids than you know.