During this past month I have been doing a lot of thinking of my teachers from my years in elementary and secondary schools.
I have already written about Mr. Felts and Mr. Conger. One of the others I have thought about is Mrs. Hearn. She was in the classroom and also doing school plays we had back in the ’50s. She and other teachers wrote the script and music for a production of “Delaware Diary.” I wish there had been video tapes back then, but no such luck. So, I will stick to mostly parts of her classroom.
Anyone who knows her knows that she was very strict. Very strict! And because of that strictness, a lot of students weren’t very happy to be in her classroom. My first memory of her was when we were practicing for the “Delaware Diary” in the evenings. I was only late once, but that once was enough. She was so mad at me that she didn’t even want to be the person to bawl me out for being late. So, she told one of my classmates to bawl me out for her.
My interest in Mrs. Hearn’s teaching goes back to the day she asked if any student in the class wanted to come to an informal class after school in her room, and we would write and read short stories. I was in my sophomore year of high school and had the free time, so I went. I was excited when I got there and found that she had arranged about eight or 10 chairs in a circle and was already sitting in one of them. The famous line, “If you build it, they will come” applies here because all the chairs were filled from the first day on.
Next was the fact that she would laugh. I don’t ever remember hearing her laugh in the regular class. So, we were off to a good start. One by one we read our stories and she and the whole class talked about them. She seemed so happy and relaxed to do that. I only remember one sentence. A girl named Katie had read one line in her story that went like this: “My dad is so dumb, he doesn’t know the difference between ‘red’ and ‘red-red’ lipstick.” I think what bothered me was that she would refer to her father as “dumb.” I don’t remember anything that I had written, but I remember how nice it was to feel relaxed in a classroom with Mrs. Hearn. Here is where I need to give her a lot of the credit for my enjoyment of writing these short articles I have had published since my first one back in April of 2016.
I need to comment about something that happened some 25 years later. It was when we had our class reunion at the Campbell House and while some of the guys were out in the hall, they met up with Mr. and Mrs. Hearn coming in the front door. They decided to invite them to come in to see our class.
When she got in, she started calling a lot of students by name. My memory is of her talking to Connie and Ron about the play they were in called “Arsenic and Old Lace.”
It felt good to see my classmates make over her at that time in her life. Three cheers for great classmates!
I have to add this last thought. Mrs. Hearn’s classroom had a small stage in it. Just one step up, and you were on the stage. During one of the classes, she had each person in the room walk across the stage. Up one side of the stage and down the other. As we finished, one by one, she told us what was wrong with our posture. She told us to imagine that a string around our chest was pulling us straight up. So, every once in a while, when I am out walking, I can hear her voice saying “Kay, stand up straighter!”
Thanks Mrs. Hearn!