Glenda Reese Smith

Since we moved a few months into my third grade, my teacher memories are of Mrs. Moore in first and second grade. I spent a lot of time wondering about her eye patch. Was there an eye behind it? Or just a big hole? Not that I would ever ask, of course.

Well, I just loved that woman. First of all, she would pull our loose teeth. She pulled my first one. And not long after that, another one was loose, but I managed, quite by accident, to pull it myself in the restroom. I thought she might be mad, but she stood me up in front of the class and said how proud she was that I had done that by myself.

Seriously, if I could have forced more teeth out, I would have, because nothing was better than to have Mrs. Moore brag on you. [And just as an aside to the tooth thing ... Rosemarie Hanna brought a dime to school every day, and after lunch she would spend it at the Davis store. Her friends, me included, were always happy to offer our advice on what to buy. A dime. Every day. A dime was what the tooth fairy brought me for all my hard work yanking out my own tooth. I was sure Rosemarie was rich and probably lived in a castle.]

One day, early in my second grade year, my mom drove to school to pick us up. I don't know why--it wasn't a usual thing.

Anyway, Mrs. Moore came out to the car to talk to her. I jumped in the back seat with my little brother, Nicky, who was five. Nicky started reading out loud from my reader. (Yes, we played school a lot at home.) Mrs. Moore heard him reading and told my mom, "Put him on the bus tomorrow."

And just like that, Nicky was in first grade. Simple times. Shortly after he started to school, Nicky got sick. He was in and out of the children's hospital in Indianapolis, sometimes for weeks at a time. And I was jealous. I was sure he was having a great time opening presents and learning to make potholders. When it was time for him to go back to the hospital, he would cry because he had to go, and I would cry because it wasn't me.

Mrs. Moore understood that. She gave me the responsibility of reporting on Nicky and, if my report wasn't good, he would not be eligible for the nickel conduct drawing at the end of the week. And so I would (not so sadly or truthfully) inform her that Nicky had misbehaved in the hospital, and she would gravely put that mark beside his name. Looking back, I see the error of my ways.

If his name had remained in the drawing, I would have had a second chance at that nickel!

Mrs. Moore had an interesting way of treating injuries. If you scraped your knee or elbow on the playground during recess, she would clean it up, paint it with mercurochrome, and then paint your initials on your hand -- your own badge of courage.

However, if you were injured doing something careless or something you should not have been doing (like wrecking Carol Klein's bicycle at recess), Mrs. Moore cleaned it up, painted it liberally with stinging iodine and, you guessed it, no initials. And to make matters worse, my parents were aware of her system and iodine is impossible to wash off.

And my last, and fondest, memory of Mrs. Moore ... My mother had made me a blue plaid dress with a circle skirt from a feed sack I had picked out myself from the grain mill in Bath. To someone who often wore her brother's hand-me-downs to school, I thought it was beautiful.

I thought I was beautiful. And so the very first day I wore my beautiful new dress to school, I was absolutely prancing.

And so at recess I was at the top of the slide. Just as I started to go down, Bimbo Browning accidentally(?) stepped on the hem of my dress. As I slid down, my dress started ripping in about a one inch strip around and around and around.

When I hit bottom, I was standing in the top of my dress and my slip. The long tail of what had been my twirly skirt was stretched up the slide, with the end still under Bimbo's foot.

I was mortified. I reeled my dress in and ran screaming into the classroom. Mrs. Moore, bless her heart.

She moved a desk into the coat room. She took my dress off and gave me her sweater. And all afternoon, while teaching, Mrs. Moore sat at her desk and basted my dress back together enough that I could wear it home.