Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mrs. Roane and the Painted Rubbers

Throughout the fifth grade, I was known as Granny Rubbers.  The gray streak in my hair (my birthmark) was the source for much amusement for ALL the boys.  And I was always taunted with names like "Spot" and with the song, "Gonna wash that gray right out of my hair...".  So it made sense that they referred to me as Granny.  Why the "Rubbers" you ask?

My parents shopped discount stores, outlets, and thrift stores to provide a lot of the clothes for us kids.  And they were often excited when they found the BEST deal on "hip" new styles.  Then the day came when they brought home a pair of sneakers with a rubber sole that lifted me approximately a foot off the ground.  This was 20 years  before Sketcher Shape Ups were popular.   "Ann, this is the newest thing in shoes.  They're cool!  Really!"  When I put them on, I suddenly became taller than every single person I knew.  Oh yes, I was proud of these bad boys.

I strutted myself down the halls, looking as cool as an 11yr old in special needs shoes could look.  That's exactly what they were...special needs shoes.  What more could a girl struggling with fitting in want?  I was wearing shoes that made me trip, stumble and look like I needed help boarding the short bus. And from the moment I walked into Mrs. Roane's fifth grade class, I was known as "Granny Rubbers".

I hated those shoes.  I hated being teased.  And I especially hated my teacher Mrs. Roane.  How could one teacher dislike a student (me) so much?  She once scolded and punished me for drawing too much detail when illustrating The Chicago Fire.  She destroyed my Paper Mache' head of Abe Lincoln by placing other students' projects on TOP of Abe, crushing his poor balloon shaped skull.  The only redeeming thing she did, was to save me from my rubbery hell.

It was about a week after I sported my brand new rubbers to school, and we were working on a class project that involved paint.  If any of you know me well, it's that paint LOVES me and everything around me.  With paint placed in small buckets all around the room, I weaved in and out like a cat on the prowl.  HA!  Yeah right.  It was more like Godzilla taking out Tokyo.  As I stomped my big rubbers around the room, bright blue paint began to seep across the classroom floor.  Mrs. Roane knew it was me.  The evidence was all over my feet.  I had giant footprints all over the room....and she was furious.

I begged her to let me wash the paint off my new shoes, for I knew my parents would be angry.  I only had that one pair.  She refused.  I was told I had to clean the entire floor by hand, and I could not wash my shoes until the classroom was clean.  By the time I finished cleaning, the rubbers were permanently painted blue.  And so, they were retired, after only one week of torture.

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