Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Anklets, Saddle Shoes, and Droplets


Last week you learned that I pee when I laugh too much. This happened a lot in grade school. In fifth grade I began my friendship with the bus driver because of blotches left by pee. He found a way to deal with the problem without embarrassing me.
         In seventh grade I also met gentleness with regard to my peeing. But this time I knew real embarrassment.
         The incident began when Sister Mary McCauley, our seventh grade teacher, asked our class to speak for three minutes about something that interested us.
         One by one we walked resolutely up to the front of the room. The boys mostly talked about wars and westerns. One of them had been to Yellowstone and described Old Faithful. The girls related how she’d learned to play the piano. Several talked about their favorite movie stars. One classmate had seen the Atlantic Ocean and talked about the thunder of its waves.

             
         When my time came, I hurried down the aisle to the front of the room. Already a history buff, I’d chosen to talk about the Liberty Bell that hung in the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia.
         The boys knew my weakness because we’d all gone through grade school together. So as soon as I started talking, they crossed their eyes and tried on their most grotesque faces. I started giggling.
         Then it happened: pee trickled down my legs. I tried holding them tightly together, but that only made the boys redouble their efforts.
         More drips and dribbles.
         I stood in a spreading puddle of pee.
         I had to talk for three minutes to get a good grade, so I forged on with facts and dates.
         More seepage.
         The pee wet the tops of my white anklets.
         The puddle kept spreading around my white and brown saddle shoes.
How much pee does a kid’s bladder hold? I wondered.
Finally, I finished and raced down the aisle to my desk. Maybe when I sat down, the pool of pee would magically disappear.
         Sister Mary McCauley’s voice brought me to a halt. “Dolores, there seems to be a wet spot on the floor. Would you please get a rag and wipe it up. I’d appreciate that.”
         The boys guffawed; the girls tittered.  
         I got a rag from the closet, wiped up the puddle, trashed the sodden cloth, and sat down quietly at my desk. Behind me, a classmate who was sweet on me whispered, “I liked your speech best.”
         Well, at least it was the most entertaining. A real show-and-tell.

40 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm so sorry that happened to you, but so grateful the teacher didn't make a big deal about it. Maybe you just had (have?) a weak bladder. When I see Elvis Aaron Schwarz I always warn him about what will happen if he gets me started giggling.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Dear Janie, Sister Mary McCauley was a wonderful teacher and she'd had me for fith and sixth grades also and so knew my tendency toward giggling and peeing! Peace.

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  2. Dee,
    I am sorry for that affliction and how embarrassing for you at that tender age. Actually the teacher could have handled it in a kinder manner. I think she could have told the class to take a 2-min break, get towels and step on them over the puddle to soak up the pee.
    But that classmate was pretty funny.

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    1. Dear Manzanita, the whole thing was a debacle! I can't imagine myself on the dance floor and this happening. Has anything like this every happened to a dancer while dancing, Manzanita????? Peace.

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  3. I think what you described was a "pee & tell"!

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    1. Dear Fishducky, exactly!!!!! Peace.

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  4. Oh, my, what a story! I love how you reacted to it, and that the classmate behind you said such a sweet thing. Your honesty, Dee, and transparency in your story telling are really something special. But then, you're pretty special yourself!

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    1. Dear Shelly, and you are kind! And.....a wonderful teacher who's probably had children with this same problem in your classrooms. Peace.

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  5. Children can be cruel. Fortunately you had one classmate who was kind.

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    1. Dear Susan, yes he was kind, but then I don't think the other seventh graders thought they were being unkind, I think they were just being preadolescents who saw a chance to point a finger at someone who was--at least for those three minutes--different. Not like them. Peace.

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  6. I'm sorry your teacher did not know how to better deal with the moment, but your class mate was lovely. I think back to seventh grade and my friends and can sort them into the girl behind you and the boys in the front row.

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    1. Dear Joanne, yes, he was so kind. Throughout high school, when I had such a bad case of acne that I became even more shy and self-conscious, he was always kind to me. Peace.

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  7. I'm so glad your classmate was kind, much more so than the teacher. Kind friends helped me through the first four years of school when I was teased and bullied for being so tall.

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    1. Dear Inger, I hate to think of you being teased and bullied. I don't really recall any bullying at St. Mary's Grade or High School--where I went to school for 11 years. But bullying since then has become an epidemic and so painful for so many children. Peace.

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  8. I'm glad all that is in your past, and that you can write about it today with such aplomb. You have shown that there is a story in everything that happens to us. Thanks for this, Dee. :-)

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    1. Dear DJan, you know I'm 3/4 Irish and we can spin a tale out of anything. Anyone else would tell this anecdote in four sentences! Peace.

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  9. Oh, my, Dee! I think I would have just died on the spot! You showed such courage and aplomb to go on and finish your speech. I loved your classmate's reaction -- and even more,your telling of this memorable story!

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    1. Dear Kathy, I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I so remember that puddle. My face must have been bright red at the time! Peace.

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  10. *sigh*

    I love that your classmate was so kind, even when your teacher wasn't. Now a days, sadly, I don't think that situation would be handled so well by students or teachers alike.

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    1. Dear Juli, I've met some wonderful teachers through blogging and I think that they'd be very understanding and handle the situation well. But I do know, as you do, that many teachers are not full of compassion or understanding. Teaching is a job for them. Something done for a paycheck. In reality, those teachers who are exceptional are those for whom teaching is more than a job. It's a vocation. Peace.

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  11. That has to qualify as your most embarrassing moment, right? Oh my. I was so shy in school I probably would never have gone back after that.

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    1. Dear Karen, that's about right--I do remember it as being so embarrassing that my cheeks got hot. Probably red as a valentine! Peace.

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  12. I do love your kind classmate. Do you ever see him or her these days?
    And yes, embarrassing. Beautifully told - as always. Thank you.

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    1. Dear Sue, That classmate's name was John Tom. I haven't seen him since graduating from high school. I left for college, then convent and then another 45 years away from Independence. By the time I returned here in 2009, he'd died.
      He always seemed to find something to like in me. Peace.

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  13. Dee,

    I feel so bad that this happened to you.

    I had to walk quite a ways from school, and one day I couldn't hold it. I remembered thanking God that I had a long padded coat on so hopefully no one could see. I think the crossing guard suspected, but at least she didn't say anything to my grade-school friends.

    Anyway, I'm glad the classmate behind you was so kind.

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    1. Dear Elisa, I'm sorry that you, too, have experienced this. Like you, I hope none of your friends noticed and I'm grateful to that crossing guard for not saying anything about it. Peace.

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  14. It seemes like you had a lot of friends who saw you through it. I like the youngster who told you that he liked your speech the best. (I hope he was being serious.)
    I hope that this no longer happens to you.

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    1. Dear Lorna, yes, he was being serious. He had a crush on me for several years, and was always kind when I had such bad acne in high school. Peace.

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  15. Even though I feel your embarrassment, Dee, I started to laugh because your words are so smartly crafted. I started to laugh, then started coughing, and, well, now I need to change my pants. Some of us are born with small tanks, and I'm one of them, Dee, so have empathy for you and that embarrassing speech. I'm amazed at how you carried in spite of your embarrassment. It is nice that angel of a boy was behind you, for much of your life.

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    1. Dear Penny, I have a very "small tank" and not much muscle tone! And I carried on because I so wanted a good grade! Peace.

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  16. Oh, bless your heart! In the second grade, we had a horribly mean substitute teacher while our sweet one was out for a few months. She told us not to get out of our seats or raise our hand no matter what! Being a rule driven child, I obeyed. I had to go so badly and when I could hold it no longer, I wet my pants and it puddled on the floor under and behind my desk ....I was mortified, but more so when the teacher saw it because she humiliated me in front of the class! Now when I have to go, no matter what is going on, I get up and find a bathroom!

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    1. Dear Nancy, that woman should never have been allowed to teach. That's not teaching, it's tyrannizing. And I can surely understand why today you find a bathroom right away when the urge comes. I do the same. Peace.

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  17. I think you must have been a strong person even back then, Dee, to cope so well with such an embarrassing incident. I was so shy at that age that I would have found it almost impossible to stand up and talk to the class at all, without something like this happening. Your classmate was extraordinarily kind to reassure you in this way.

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    1. Dear Perpetua, he was kind then and at other times. I was shy also, but I so wanted to share the exciting information I'd learned about the Liberty Bell .... and I wanted a good grade for talking for three minutes! Peace.

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  18. I wish children could live in unself-conscious abandon. Never in contact with an ocean of hostile or mocking faces.

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    1. Dear Mary, I wish that too. But always children and people sight what's different for them and they somehow feel more secure by pointing this out instead of walking in the other person's shoes for twelve steps and discovering the ways we are alike. Peace.

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  19. Your reminiscences of school days are sad and funny too. It was lovely for your schoolmate to make you feel better and I’m not surprised that the rest of the class including the teacher were not supportive- it’s still the same I suspect – children can be so mean, but the teacher should know better.

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    1. Dear Vagabonde, for myself, I find that life is filled with pennies. That is, everything has two sides--one side is funny and meaningful; the other side is sad and also meaningful. The important thing for me has always been finding the meaning in every situation and learning from it. I've spent my life doing that and I'm still a novice when it comes to knowing how to live out my humanity. Peace.

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  20. I can't imagine how you managed to carry on talking while the pee ran down your legs. You are a very brave woman.
    I was very impressed with the way your teacher handled it. And I never expected the kids to be so kind.

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