when words fail me, which is often, I paint. When words work for me and are available on time, I am surprised.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Shoes, Ships and Sealing Wax

Although I often create posts and poetry in my head, I rarely seem to have time to get these ramblings out of my head. I am currently less than 20 credits away from my B.S. Psychology degree and have been working towards this degree for more than 20 years. I left high school at the age of 16 and went to college out of state. Leaving was simply my choice of escape route, escape from my family which was re-creating poor Usher's nightmare. Yes, even the house- once grand was Falling!
After one year of college I entered the school of hard knocks and then dedicated the next 20 plus years to surviving and raising my two little boys- by myself.
(Do I hear violins playin somewhere?)
Online college classes are accelerated; every 5 weeks a new course begins and ends. Textbook, writing, tests, discussions, and 15 pages of academic research papers. One course ends on Monday, next one begins on Tuesday, little time for writing out of a creative urge within.
When I was in the first grade I was a bit of a loner. Although I attended preschool for 3 years (my mother's way of getting rid of me for the day), I felt absolutely clueless as to what to do in this school place. I did not know anyone in my class, my teacher was mean. I didn't know how to count by fives and had NO IDEA how to get lunch when the time came.
In the morning the teacher would take a tally, who was having the "hot lunch", a hamburger, a hot dog.
What's a hot lunch?
She would ask the question and I would begin to break out into a sweat- all out panic actually.
I would wait for my classmates to respond and when I saw other kids raise their hands in response to the teacher's order request, I would raise my hand too.
Stacy- you can't order more than one lunch! My teacher would shout. The kids giggled and I squirmed and said NOTHING.
(I don't even like hot dogs)
Somehow she would make a notation about which lunch I would have and somehow again, I ended up in the cafeteria with some meal waiting for me.
I usually had to get a ticket for my lunch and who knows where the money came from to pay for it. (My family surely could afford to pay for my lunch at the time, it was simply my mother's failure to give a darn about whether or not I was cared for while out of her blessed sight.)
Sitting at the long table, old overcooked broccoli smells and greasy fish sticks. The muffled sounds of kids laughing and talking while the industrial fans roared and wheels squeaked and hairnet ladies shouted- keep moving! and hamburger or hot dog!
I usually sat alone until one day a new boy came along, I think his name was Manuel. He was an outsider in our suburban mostly white neighborhood too.
Manuel was my friend; he taught me to tie my shoes.
Manuel giggled alot and made me laugh too. When I first asked his name he told me it was Mickey Mouse. Oh boy was that funny- really funny and we giggled forever over that.
Mickey always drank his milk, the kind that comes in the small wax paper box, with a straw.
One day I asked him- How come you always drink your milk with a straw?
-Because, he said- my father told me to because he says the ceiling wax gets in the milk from the opening and it can make me sick.See, its brown there.
Oh, this sounds very serious. I look up at the ceiling to ponder. Industrial-I beams painted white and fluorescent light fixtures, a little rust and water marks, and I wonder how did that ceiling wax, way up there, get into the milk cartons? HOW?
Throughout my entire school career, through high school and even into the years of my own son's schooling,Even Now, the sight of a small milk or juice carton sends me into the realm of questioning- what is ceiling wax and why did my first grade friend's father warn him of the dangers of it?
I have heard of many food scares in my lifetime, the lye on pretzels, the worms in McDonald's burgers, spider eggs in bubblegum, but never did the ceiling wax scandal make headlines that I recall.
Last week while conducting research for yet another term paper, I came across this title in the online collegiate resource library;
"Of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax: The faulty and specious assumptions of sexual reorientation therapies"
And the light bulb finally came on-


Laura said...

Too funny! I was so shy in elementary school, and always felt out of sorts and clueless about things like lunch, too. I had a friend who would pretty much do everything for me, which was great, I thought! My mom made my lunch most times, but the times she didn't -- oh no! I don't think I knew you were supposed to stick with the choice you made in the morning, so sorry to whoever ordered the hamburger and ended up with mac and cheese.

Good luck with finishing your classes!

Michelle O'Neil said...


This being human is so confusing!!!

Jerri said...

This story is as sad as it is funny. Oh, Stacy my love. I wish I could go back in time and help you figure out lunches and sealing wax and lunch lines.

Stacy said...

Jerri- at least you taught me how to spell the word tomorrow, same class, i still remember the day the mean teacher put that word on the chalk board and I seriously considered dropping out of school forever.