Saturday, December 3, 2011

A 4 year old Elvis impersonator

Why is it that certain memories never leave us? I was four years old in kindergarten at the Home Park School in Atlanta...It was Monday morning.... (I don't know what date, but certainly still remember this after all the decades).....

My teacher was playing the piano as our little class and the 2 other kindergarten classes were also in assembly in the giant auditorium of Home Park School in Atlanta (It now is the Center for Puppetry Arts, last I visited) She asked, "Are there were any songs that we boys and girls wanted to hear?"

Those of you who know me well, can predict the next even....Well, I shot my hand in the air and jumped up and down with great enthusiasm that day. She asked what I wanted to sing .....I said "ain't nothing but a hound dog"....

Mrs. Peeples, said "well, I don'tknow that song, but if you hum it first, maybe I can play it.....It sounds nice." Well, I hummed loudly.... and then she started playing the piano.....I did a very good impression of the guitar playing of Elvis, the wild singing and facial gestures but the real kickers was when I started doing the Elvis twist.....The piano music stopped. My teacher and all of her very large personage (at least it seemed very large to a 45 pound small child) dragged me to the principals office by my arms while swatting my backside . She also told the class what a very bad girl I was. I remember not even being able to touch the ground at one point. She was a very strong and stern teacher and just terrified me that day ....and the ones that followed.

The principal was equally upset. I was put then in a corner in a chair while I waited for my mother to come and get me. Dad had the car and she walked the long way there. She saw the tears and told the principal that the girls were in bed. But I said I had cracked open the door and gone to see the TV behind them because I liked hounddogs......Well, the principal didn't smile but I could see my ordinarily sedate Mom mouth twitch but I thought she was going to laugh at any minute. (You see I had seen the world famous tv introduction of Elvis on the tv on the Ed Sullivan show!)

I was suspended from school for 3 days..... That was fine with me. I never wanted to go back....That was the day (the second week of my formal school - that my burst of childish enthusiasm for public learning died and the great enthusiasm for being at school. I felt embarrassed, shamed, mistreated and scared, never knowing what next would happen at the school that I saw as a Giant Scary Castle like in the Wizard of Oz....).....My Dad did place a note in the file and told both the Principal and my teacher, that there would be no more corporal punishment by the school - that they as parents would be responsible for that and yes, I still got parental doses as needed. I spent many days the rest of that year trying to avoid school...Those tummy pains I think were quite real...Eventually we moved and I went to a new school where I could "blossom intellectually and creatively" .Don't worry I completed many more years of schooling including college but only because my parents so encouraged it.

Never underestimate the spirit of a small child, how you can encourage it or discourage it or the influence of music to catch our imagination and spirit! Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could just imagine what is in the mind and spirit of those we don't understand.