Oct 4, 2013

Spring 1968: Corrupting a Mean Boy

Growing up strictly fundamentalist prepared me for a lifetime of civil disobedience.  We had to be on guard constantly.  Teachers, other kids, police officers, store clerks, anybody who belonged to the World would try anything, from seduction to threats, to get us to deny God.

In second grade at Hasche Elementary School in Racine, Wisconsin, my teacher, Miss Donovan, was adept at promoting evil.  She was tall and thin, with black hair and bright red lips and a perpetual scowl.   Evil.

1. She told us that proper nouns, specific People, Places, and Things, had to be capitalized.  So on the spelling test, I capitalized "Heaven," and got it marked wrong.

"Heaven is a specific place!"  I yelled.  "You can't make me say it's not!"'






Hansche School was torn down a few years ago
2. We had to do dreaded square dancing.  Nazarenes were not permitted to dance, ever.  I told my parents, who had the preacher call and set her straight, but not before I had to sit in the corner for a full class session.

3. She made us learn the expression "Nobody's perfect."  But Nazarenes were perfect!  The foundation of our theology was Christian perfection, the inability to ever commit any sins.  "You can't make me say it,"  I protested.  "It's a lie!"

Another day sitting in the corner!


I couldn't take much more of Miss Donovan's mind-control torture.

I decided on a pre-emptive strike.


There was a Mean Boy in my class named "Mean Dave" to distinguish him from Nice Dave.  He had muscles and sandy hair and a brash smile.  I didn't associate with Mean Boys much, but Mean Dave was always getting in trouble with Miss Donovan, too, and in wartime, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  And did I mention the muscles?

We borrowed some gag gifts from Mean Dave's older brother, and while Miss. Donovan was out patrolling the kids at recess, we sneaked into the classroom and put fake vomit under her desk, a whoopie cushion on her chair, and pop-up snakes in her chalk drawer. To be on the safe side, we also wrote "Donovan eats worms!" on the blackboard.

At the end of recess, she marched into the classroom, shrieked "Who wrote this!", and forced us all to put our heads on our desks until someone confessed.  But we could hear her opening the chalk drawer -- shrieking as the snakes popped out -- then a farting sound as she sat in her chair -- then a shriek as she thought she stepped in vomit.


Mean Dave and I were discovered almost immediately. We had to stay after school, AND apologize to Miss Donovan. AND Mean Dave was not allowed to play with me anymore.  His parents said I was a bad influence.

Imagine -- a "perfect" Nazarene was a bad influence on a Mean Boy!