Teacher: Mrs. Osborne
My second grade year got off to a bad start. During first grade, I somehow became aware of Mrs. Hershberger, the second grade teacher. She was always really nice and I couldn’t wait to have her as a teacher. She would always say “hi” to me in the hallway and I remember saying things to her about being in her class the next year.
Alas, when I showed up for school in second grade, she wasn’t there. I’m not sure where she went, but as she is to this day teaching at the college in that town, I’d guess she left to go teach at the college. Regardless, it was a grand disappointment.
I don’t remember much about the teacher we did have, other than I don’t remember her being very happy. It might just be that time has faded all but the most distinctive memories, but I have this mental image of her sitting at her desk, glaring.
Aside from that, I only have one stand-out memory from second grade, but it’s in what I would call the “character-defining” category: I remember having my first sarcastic (or “smart-aleck” if you prefer) thought. It’s possible I had some before this time, but this is the earliest one I can recall.
We went on a field trip for the day to a dairy farm. I don’t know where you go on field trips in other states, but in Wisconsin, a dairy farm is pretty standard. Now that I think about it, though, it seems odd. It’s a pretty fair bet that several kids in our class grew up on dairy farms, so why take them to one on a field trip? Anyway, it was a chance to get out of school, which is what field trips are all about, right?
We’d poked around the farm for the morning, and it was time for lunch. We’d all brought lunches from home, but I’m pretty sure the milk was provided for us — and I’m also pretty sure it was in cartons, not from the storage tank in the next building over. Before lunch, though, we all had to wash our hands. There was some kind of large sink that allowed several kids at once, so it went fairly quickly.
I distinctly remember the farmer telling all of us, “When you’re done washing your hands, wave them up and down to air-dry them. That’s the farmer way to dry your hands!”
And I distinctly remember thinking, “Yeah, right. You just don’t want us to use up all your paper towels.” I didn’t say it out loud, as I still had a healthy fear of getting in trouble, but I think that one thought amused me enough to spur other similar thoughts, which eventually started getting said out loud, which eventually got me here: still making remarks that amuse me, and if it gets an audience, so much the better.
That’s pretty much all I got for second grade. Third grade was a smidgeon more exciting.