Principal Toes

When I first began my teaching career, I took a position as an English teacher in a middle school, grades six through eight. I had just spent four years in the U. S. Navy and was pleased to get the job although I would have preferred to have started in a high school. It was my music background that help me get the job as the school needed a full-time English teacher and a part-time music teacher. I fit the bill. At that time during the mid-60’s, our school was racially segregated as were all of the schools in our county. However, changes were on the way. One fall, as we prepared for the opening of school, our principal, who hailed from Mississippi, called a faculty meeting to introduce us to a new teacher, Miss Harper, who was black. Miss Harper had not yet arrived so Mr. Jones was preparing us for her ahead of time. I’ll never forget his “gracious” comment he made to our faculty: “We’re lucky; she doesn’t smell.”
When Gladys Harper arrived and joined the faculty, she very quickly assimilated herself and earned our respect right away. The tension though between her and our principal, however, remained palpable. Around Thanksgiving, we had a celebration for “Library Week.” We assembled in the library where snacks were spread about on the table. Gladys was present and sitting at one end of the table. As we nibbled at the various items, she pointed to a bowl of nuts at the other end of the table and asked, “Would someone pass me those “principal toes?”


About bobosbest

I am a 79-year-old retired English teacher whose writing goals are fulfilled by publishing these blogs. I have a wonderful married partner, Dimitris Tsitsiras, who is from Greece. Life is good and still an adventure.
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