One of my grade school teachers was Mrs. Rippy. I donít know if she was a widow or a divorceeí but she lived alone. She had a little Pekinese dog that was meaner than a skunk. I didnít like that dog one little bit. He always growled like he was going to eat me up, no matter how hard I tried to be friends.

None of the kids liked Mrs. Rippy. She was very strict, never smiled at anyone.

She lived two houses down from us. There was a vacant lot between our house and the ice cream parlor-pool room, combined. Iíll have to explain that. The ice cream parlor was in the front of the building and the pool room was in the back. The poor old guy who ran the place had a deformed hand and arm. He either dipped snuff or chewed tobacco, I donít remember which but it always oozed out the corner of his mouth. He had to hold the cone up close to his chest while he dipped the ice cream but we didnít care as long as we got a treat.

Any way, Mrs. Rippy lived next door to the ice cream parlor-pool room.

For some reason she took a liking to me. I didnít do math very well so she told me if I would come to her house in the afternoons she would help me.

My grandmother thought that was so nice of her, and she sent me there about three afternoons a week.

I hated going because after some of the other kids found out about it, they started calling me, teachers pet.

Well, since no one liked Mrs. Rippy, I sure didnít want to be her pet. But she did help me, Iíll have to admit that.

One day in school, however she called me in from the play ground and insisted I play with one of the girls that no one liked. Her name was Florence. She was not a nice little girl at all, thatís why no one liked her. I was afraid when the other kids saw me playing or even talking to her, they wouldnít like me either.

When I got home from school I told my grandmother about Mrs. Rippy making me play with Florence.

She went to Mrs. Rippy and told her she did not approve of what she had done and I had the right to choose my own friends.

After that I didnít have to play with Florence and I didnít have to go to Mrs. Rippyís anymore.

Later however, Florence changed. I suppose she thought since no one liked her it must be her fault. Eventually she made some friends, including me.

A golden memory from childhood.

 By Lora Cox © 2001