It does look a little top heavy now that I see it through their eyes, but I never noticed it before.
I also never noticed my natural ability to strike a pose for the camera before either.
Especially during story time.
Kids notice the darndest things. They are pretty sure I'm picking my nose in the above aforementioned photo.
I have to admit I got a little defensive when my kids poked fun of my teacher.
They don't understand how special a teacher whose hair is bigger than her body can make you feel. Thirty five years later I can still remember the tears of joy streaming down my parents faces when Miss Hunt presented me with the No "Lion" I've been Trying award for exceptional progress in math.
My kids think that award is stinkin' HEE-larious, being as I had to cheat my way through pre-algebra in college and all.
Teenagers who get A's in pre-calculus and geometry have no regard for the minority of troubled grown ups, like myself, who have come to look upon math as a moral issue. It just goes against my code of ethics to allow letters and numbers to multiply and divide.
Can I help it if I'm religious that way?
Another thing I distinctly remember about Miss Hunt is the day she came to my house the summer before school started to snap a photo of me for her class bulletin board.
This is not the actual photo that graced the third grade bulletin board all year long, but this is the actual outfit I was wearing in that photo.
I know because I wore it every day that summer.
In my day, long black socks went with everything. And so did blue gingham peek-a-boo swimsuits adorned with cherries.
It never once crossed my mind that perhaps wearing that swimsuit wasn't my best foot forward, and I don't think it crossed Miss Hunt's mind either.
In a way Miss Hunt discovered the Crash Test Dummy in me.
You know how Oprah says that everyone has seven defining moments during their lifetime? Well, my first Crash Test Dummy defining moment occurred on the day Miss Hunt pulled a group of us out of class to brain storm for our class slogan. We met in Mrs. Otter's classroom across the hall, because her fourth graders were at lunch, and I got to sit at Brian Bastian's empty desk, which brought me so perilously close to him in spirit that for the rest of the day I felt like I'd been sipping on sparkling apple cider.
As the group threw out ideas for Miss Hunt's class slogan I focused on Mrs. Otter's class slogan perched above the chalk board in die cut lettering (because vinyl lettering was still just a twinkle in die-cut lettering's eyes):
Mrs. Otter's Otters
Why not Mrs. Otter's Otter Pops? I thought. Or Mrs. Otter's Teeter Totters? Or Mrs. Otter's Alma Maters?
Mrs. Otter's class slogan, I decided, was simply redundant, and altogether too literal. Where was the double meaning and the word play? More importantly, where was the allusion to food?
Believe it or not, I was excruciatingly shy in public (when I wasn't wearing black socks and a swim suit) and I never spoke a complete sentence out loud until the 5th grade, with the exception of that brain storming session, when seated at Brian Bastian's desk, I channeled the universe and blurted out:
"Hunt's Tomato Team!"
There was a moment of stunned silence, partly because no one had ever heard me speak before, and partly because everyone's minds were working to connect the dots.
"Brilliant!" Miss Hunt finally cried out. "Now let's design the t-shirt."
In the media frenzy following the unveiling of the Hunt's Tomato Team t-shirts, Miss Hunt took full credit for the ketchup allusion, bless her big-haired heart, but I have never forgotten who piped her that allusion and where it came from, and it planted in me a suspicion that maybe, just maybe, life had something in store for me far bigger than story problems and swim suits.
All my kids guessed, on the first try, who in this photo I had a crush on.
Let's see how well you guys can predict the dummy's 3rd grade taste in boys.