A Moment in My Life – Friday, August 13, 2021
Jeannie Yee Davis
One thing led to another during my walk yesterday as I thought about the topic for today’s column. I do a lot of brainstorming during my walks and birthed many stories, but nothing concrete came to me at that moment. On and on, I wandered with the blank slate in my mind and the invisible chalk between my fingers. I began laughing because if there’s nothing in my head inspiring me, I could keep on pushing myself, and at the end of the walk, the slate will still be blank.
I laughed and laughed. It was too funny to expect something out of nothing, which reminded me of my fourth-grade class in Vancouver, Canada, where Miss Boychek, the meanest teacher in the universe, made us stand in the aisle until we knew the answer to her math question. Soon, most of the students were lining the aisles hovering over the few remaining seated. Eventually, more of us joined the seated ones. Somehow, I always ended up being one of the few left standing. It’s hilarious thinking back to that moment, but I tell you, at the time, fear was more fitting than funny as I envisioned myself still standing there, a pillar supporting the building years later. After all, if I knew the answer, why would I subject myself to Miss Boychek’s torture?
Then came a prince to my rescue—my brainiac classmate. The other day, I shared that I have trouble recognizing faces, which makes me sound like a hypocrite because, in this scenario, I can still see this little Chinese boy’s face as he lipped the answer across to me and saved me from being a building fixture. In this case, I don’t remember his name, but I can’t forget his face. Boys often got the bad rap, and quite often, they deserved it, but there was nothing bad about this boy. I wonder what became of him. I would love to see him again and properly thank him.
Miss Boychek, the meanest teacher in the universe, and I kid you not. In Vancouver, teachers were allowed to administer corporate punishment with a thick leather strap. I was an angel and never tasted the strap. Yeah, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Okay, fine. I was too chicken to misbehave. If you had Miss Boychek for your teacher, you would be, too—unlike my classmate, Suzie Gee. Oh man, Suzie. Suzie, Suzie, Suzie. Where is she now? Sigh. That girl had thick skin. Oh, I hurt for her. I’ve cried for her. Tears well up as I think of her now. If only she heard how often I yelled at her in my mind to sit down, shut up, behave, stop challenging Miss Boychek, but no, she never heard me. Dumb kid! Made me so mad, but even so, I can’t say she deserved to get whipped almost every day or even once. Nobody deserved a whipping, ever! Miss Boychek and Suzie spent a lot of time in the cloakroom, where the crack of the strap mirrored the echoes of Suzie’s cries filled the classroom scaring the rest of us silent and draining the blood out of our bodies.
Wow, one thing really did lead to another where I started with nothing that led me to a version of nothing that led to a whopper of something, and two tissues later, I remember a time I much rather not remember. Although, if not for the bad memories, I wouldn’t have the good ones. If not for Miss Boychek’s torture, I probably wouldn’t have my prince’s face imprinted in my mind to this day. I wish I remembered his name. Now, he’ll always be my mystery man. Ooh, that sounds like an excellent title for another story. I wonder whatever became of my mystery man. I wonder how Suzie turned out! I hope she didn’t get scarred for life. I even wonder, just a little, whatever happened to Miss Boychek. I wonder, where are they now?