The Coast News Group
Small Talk

They really do say the darnedest things

This week, a giggle was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with funny.
I still get my best laughs from the elementary school. For openers, the front office had a note from a harried, hurried teacher which read, “Annie has a stomach. I am hoping you can help her with this.” We chuckled about that one all day.
Then there was the pair of second-grade girls who dutifully escorted their friend into the office because “she had a sprained ankle.”
Once inside the comfy office with its books and pillows, they both began limping around, and announced to the school secretary that they were also suffering from that very contagious sprained ankle thing.
She laughingly responded, “Do you two think I just fell off the turnip truck?” Their wide-eyed response was “Oh! Did that sprain your ankle, too?”
I am still laughing from the precocious kindergartner who had a simple, straightforward answer when I asked her if she had lost the book that was due.
“No,” she insisted. “I know exactly where it is. I just can’t find it.” Well, there you are.
Turns out it’s in her bookcase, somewhere, but just where remains to be seen.
Another youngster prompted not so much laughter as my finest acting ability. This little cutie was absolutely terrified because her tooth had come out while she was eating and there was some blood involved.
The school secretary and I did an award-winning bit about how fabulous it was to lose a tooth. “Wowee! You are so lucky! You lost a tooth! That’s really exciting!” we bantered back and forth.
She looked at us like we had lost our minds. But we kept in character and finally, with the gift of an animal eraser and a special box to put the tooth in, we convinced her that maybe losing a tooth wasn’t such a bad deal after all.
When she smiled upon leaving the office, I felt like I had found a cure for cancer.
Then, as I was cleaning out my always overstuffed desk, I came across an envelope full of letters written to me by a class at the end of last school year. Their teacher is a friend of mine, of course, which is what prompted the whole thing, but there are no halfway measures with these adorable fourth-graders.
One drew a picture of a book titled, “Why people love Mrs. Gillette: 1,000 pages.” Sweet. The same child said I was a “phenomenal librarian.” I’d love to take it face value, but I suspect phenomenal was one of their spelling words that week. Another drew a book titled, “The Gillette” with a back-page review reading, “It is a really funny book!” You’ve got to love that.
Another admitted,” I am glad you are not like most teachers, because you don’t change every year.” I wish. And the clincher was, “I read some of your books that I hadn’t read before, and loved them instantly! You are the greatest person ever!”
It has to be true. It was written in purple ink, in capital letters and underlined … twice.