Miss German was another one of Samuel Woodfill School's gender ambiguous teachers. There was no question that she was a middle-aged woman. All thirty of us second graders were aware of that.
Miss German also wore a whistle all the time. I think all of the teachers owned a whistle. It was more effective than screaming at us little criminals.
There are a couple of things regarding Miss Germans class that have stayed with me, lo these many years.
First of all, I was tardy nearly every day. I've never been a daytime person. Getting up at seven in the morning to a cold bedroom was no treat. I put my clothes on while sitting on the floor in front of the heat vent.
Miss German looked at me and declared, "See this boy? He is always tardy. He has made his sister late to school. Do not grow up to be like him!"
As I recall if anyone came to school with a new pair of shoes, you were immediately singled out for her ritual. You were made to stand in a circle of children, while they looked at you and sang:
"Oh see his (or her) new shoes, his shiny new shoes. They're made of soft leather for all kinds of weather, oh see his new shoes, his shiny new shoes." How humiliating!
Miss German not only taught us spelling, math and reading, but also taught us most of the songs from the musical Oklahoma.
I learned these 51 years ago and they are still stuck in my head!
That little blond girl from Kindergarten was in my class, but alas had lost interest in me. However she looked hot in her new bright blue cat-eye glasses.
The Yellow-bird group was for the pathetic losers that were stuck on the first grade Dick and Jane book with no hope of advancement. I longed to be in the Bluebird group. I think I finally made it.
My Dad owned a grocery store and I was under the mistaken impression my family was rich. We weren't, but we were not poor. One day he brought home about fifty cases of Coca-cola.
This was back when Coke came in those little six and a half ounce bottles. He got a good deal and brought them home for storage.
I volunteered him to bring enough of them to class for my 7th birthday. He also brought potato chips and some toy streamers. The whole class had a great time, as they were all wound-up with a sugar buzz and had a time twirling the streamers, much like those little Chinese girls do in the Olympics.
I gave my very first musical performance in her class. I had received a Melodica for my birthday and played Somewhere Over The Rainbow. I still play this song on guitar.
Miss German was one of a kind. About a dozen or so years ago I learned that she was in a nearby nursing home.
And whenever the residents got too noisy, she would stand up from her wheel-chair and shout, "Now class, I want you all to be quiet...right now!" She would have blown her whistle is she still had it.