Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February is Black History Month


I overheard bits of a commercial this morning as I was straightening my hair, and the commercial recognized a local woman for her service within the community (I'm not sure who she is or what she does) in honor of Black History Month. I never remember that February is BHM. When I heard that phrase "Black History Month," I immediately thought of my 7th grade Social Studies teacher, Ms. Lula Mae Brown. Goodness, Ms. Lula Mae Brown was 100 years old back when I was a 7th grader at Woodruff Jr. High. She was short and wide. She always wore skirts, and you could hear her pantyhose rub together when she walked. Her skin was soot black. She wore glasses; although, I don't know why. They were always severely crooked on her face. One lens was below one eye and the other lens was above the eye.

She was known for being a little "off her rocker." Her eyes looked in two different directions at the same time, so you never knew if she was looking at you or at someone on the opposite side of the room. She was also known for throwing staplers when she got mad!

Her class was a joke! I'm not sure if I ever listened in her class. I sat at the back of the room--the next to last desk in the row. My friend and distant cousin, N. Sherbert, sat in front of me, and one of my best friends K. Simmons sat behind me. The three of us got away with murder, probably because Ms. Lula Mae Brown couldn't see us from the front of the room. We talked and giggled and cut-up all the time. Oh, I remember this girl (I probably shouldn't mention her name. You never know with things on the internet!) Anyway, I'll call the girl Tonya. Tonya sat beside K. Simmons, and Tonya was FOREVER asking us for a piece of gum! Everyday. Without fail. I was sick of it! So, myself, N. Sherbert and K. Simmons planned something dirty and mean. I had a tube of Strawberry Avon lotion in my bookbag that another friend had given me. I never used it because it was runny and it stank! So, I carefully unwrapped a piece of gum, being careful not to bend or crease the wrapper, and rubbed that old, runny, stinky Avon strawberry lotion all over that stick up gum and carefully re-wrapped it. And that's the piece I gave Tonya when she asked for gum that day. She did put it in her mouth, but immediately spit it out. My partners-in- crime and I laughed until we almost peed! You know, I'm sitting here thinking to myself that I should be ashamed. What a horrible thing to do! I'm better than that! But, even today, 16 or 17 years later, I'M LAUGHING OUT LOUD!!

I mentioned Ms. Lula Mae Brown had a reputation for throwing staplers. I don't remember ever witnessing it, but she would beat that heavy, black stapler on her wooden desk, and the sound seamed to echo forever. She caught me with gum one day. I ALWAYS chewed gum at school. I was a pro at hiding it, or so I thought. That's why it's so suprising that, of all people, Ms. Lula Mae Brown--the 100-year old woman whose eyes looked in two different directions--was the one to call me out! I don't remember what preceded her catching me. All I remember is that she beat that stapler on her desk. One eye was on me, the other eye on the ceiling, and she yelled, "Ssssssomebody'sssss got guuummmmm, Ssssherbert!" I was embarrassed--I didn't like getting in trouble at school--but I wanted to laugh at the same time. I will remember that forever.

I'll get back to Black History Month. Ms. Lula Mae Brown was the "coordinator" of Black History Month. Every February during my 3 years at Woodruff Junior High School, Ms. Lula Mae would get on the loud speaker during the morning announcements and share facts about important black Americans that left their mark in history, and she would end her speech with, "Whhhooo em I?" Every year, she made her speech about Harriet Tubman. She would say, "I wuz bun a slave in Murland in da 1800's. I helped utha slaves escape thu da Undaground Railroad. Whhhoo em I?" We laughed! And laughed! And laughed every time!! I loved the month of February for those 3 years all because of Ms. Lula Mae Brown. Ms. Lula Mae Brown, you ARE Black History Month to me!!

Sincerely,
Leigh

1 comment:

  1. I haven't heard that story of the gum in FOREVER! It still makes me laugh.

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