Slide Show Day EndsPosted: December 5, 2012
The end of the saga of my foreign language education…
Slide show day wasn’t nearly as exciting for me as it was for the teacher or the rest of the class. My class mates were getting a day where they didn’t have to work on conjugating Italian verbs. The teacher was finally going to lose her nemesis – me
She would throw me out and have me suspended. I’d never been thrown out of anything. Now it was inevitable. Suspension meant I would not be attending my graduation. The worst part of the situation was that it was all over something I didn’t do.
If Stress Makes You Look Older, I Probably Looked Twenty.
The strain of the situation was visible on me.
As I walked out of Buckley’s class to head to Italian he called me over and asked me what was wrong. If I had to quote him, I think he actually asked what the hell was wrong with me and if I’d gotten dumped again. He shook his head while I told him what was wrong.
The bell rang and he told me he’d write me a note that he’d delayed me. Note in hand, I walked toward my fate. My stride must’ve communicated that my issue was not resolved. The coach called me back to him. I emphasized that there was no doubt the Italian teacher would have me suspended from school for something I did not do and that being late to class was not a defense the year before.
Mr. Buckley went into his room and returned a few moments later. “Go to class, give her the late note”, he said. Then he handed me an envelope. “Once you are in class, if she tries to throw you out for something you truly haven’t done, give her this note. I’m trusting you. If you don’t have to give her the envelope, I want it back, unopened.”
Excuse Me, While I Whip This Out
There was an upside down picture of a Vatican Guard on the screen when I entered the room. They’d done it again. The look in her eye said that her prime suspect had walked in. She took the note and snarled “sit”.
A few upside down slides later, she pointed at me and said “get out. I’ll see you in the office after class for your suspension.” I gathered my books and handed her the envelope on my way out. I was halfway down the hall when I heard her call my name.
“Get in here, sit, and don’t you say a word.”
I didn’t speak a word of Italian or English in that class room for the last month of the school year. Maybe you read that and thought I was just quiet. That’s not true. I mean exactly what the words say. Not a word passed my lips for a month in that class.
Before the day ended, I stopped by Mr. Buckley’s classroom. I told him about getting thrown out of class and being called back. He smiled and said “thanks for telling me, I’ll handle it.” I had to ask what the note in the envelope said. He just smiled and said “thanks for telling me, I’ll handle it.” Even seventeen year old me knew it was time to stop asking.
The threats to have me suspended stopped. I graduated with enough foreign language credits to get me in to college. As a matter of fact I got a B in Italian. It was my only grade above a hard-earned C in three years.
What Does A B Passing High School Italian Get You?
Do you know that when Italians pronounce the letter B just as we do in English? I do. Don’t let that passing grade fool you. Like the rest of the students in that class, I can’t speak Italian. Couldn’t then, can’t now.
On the positive side of this, if you were to show me upside down pictures of tourist sites of Rome, I could identify at least seven out of ten. So I’ve got that going for me.
I’ve heard of people making lists of the ten people, dead or alive, that they’d invite to a dinner party. If I ever had that sort of dream party, Mr. Buckley would be on the guest list. I’d ask him one more time what the note in the envelope said and be grateful for whatever the answer was, even if it was the same as it was in the spring of 1979. I’d say thank you.
- Slide Show Day (Part One) (blurtblog.net)