Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hunt's Tomato Team

I left my childhood scrapbook out after scanning photos a few posts back. Each of my kids looked through it on the sly and unanimously FREAKED out (on separate occasions) about my 3rd grade teacher's humongous hair.

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.


Sandi said...

woot for me.

Sandi said...

I'm at work and the photo's don't show up here for some I will have to come back and see if I can pick the boy of your dreams.
p.s. you are WAYYY more smart than little miss Oprah.

Garden of Egan said...

I can't figure out who the love of your life is cuz I can't get past your teachers hair. Wow, and that dress with the white starched collar! How old are you? I'm pretty sure I'm way older than you, but I think you must be about 20 years behind my grade school pictures.
I wonder how long it took for Miss Hunt to get ready for school.
And what's with the kid who forgot to look forward? You know, the third row he checking out some living creature in Miss Hunt's hair?
I'm glad the Universe has changed the styles for the better. Aren't you?

Jillybean said...

Not only did your teacher have really big hair, but she looks like she's about 16 years old.
I didn't realize it until you mentioned it, but my best teacher ever had ginormous hair!
There must be a connection. Perhaps we should go hand out bumpits to the schoolteachers?

Did you have your crush on that foxy kid standing next to you?

Jami said...

I'm guessing the guy with the tie. Because he's so different from everyone else.

Miss Hunt is like 12 years old in that photo, isn't she? She's just wearing her hair up to fool us. How on earth did that girl get to work by 7:30 every morning? That's a three-hour do if ever I saw one!

Jami said...

It's a wig. Gotta be.

Braden said...

That was an awesome post. I can't think of anything witty or clever or funny to say because stories like that about teachers always just make me so happy. It gives me hope that one day one of my students will defend me to his or her progeny: "Yeah, Dr. Bell had a big nose, but he changed my life..."

That seriously was beautiful. Thank heavens for the Miss Hunts all around.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Sandi, woot for you!

Jami, yes, it's gotta be a wig. I actually don't remember her with hair like that so it must be her photo hair. I remember her with a cute little bob.

I think she was a midget. Or at least her dad was a midget so she was a mid-size midget.

btw, I'm not looking at the camera either. There must have been a lot of action going on around us.
Jami and Jilly, my lips are sealed until tomorrow when I do the big reveal. hee hee

Garden of Egan, how old are you? That is the question.

Jilly maybe the bumpits give some sort of brain power to those dumb enough to wear them.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Braden, ha ha ha you and your big nose are killing me.

wesley's mom (sue) said...

Oh my gosh. That hair. I'm dying.

Sandi said...

LOL @ her photo day hair...haha cracks me up! I think your lubber boy is the one standing right next to you with the beach-bum/hippie choker on.....
as for the ability to strike a's a girl thing. My girls are ALL so pro at it!
I love your pics....and I especially love your peek-a-boo suit with the black socks...what a great look!!!

Sandi said...

P.S. Hooray for great teachers who bring out the dummy in all of us! I surely hope that is what your friend Braden is aspiring to do :)

Garden of Egan said...

Older than dirt.

I guess I should pull out my gradeschool photos. Maybe I have delusions of awesomeness that really do look worse than your gradeschool pictures.

I'll just shut up now before I get struck by the Universe.

Martha said...

Yeah, I think it's the kid in the back row on the left with the white tie. He's a cutie. Plus he must have been tall to be in the very back row. But the boy right next to you is alright too and you're looking away from him because your shy. Your arms are almost touching! So it's between those two.

The Mom said...

I'm voting for the long haired blonde in the front row.
Unless it's a girl with pants on.
No, we didn't wear pants to school back then, did we?

If Miss Hunt is findable, I think she'd love to read this post . . .

I am Lorinda W- you can call me LoW said...

Second row, thirdr from the left.

And if it's not him, why the heck not?!?! He's a fox!!!


The Crash Test Dummy said...

ha ha ha I can hardly keep my mouth shut at some of you. Can't wait to do the big reveal.

Garden, ha ha we all have delusions of awesomeness. Have your kids not dashed your delusions yet? Go pull out your grade school photos. That will do the trick.

I will post my age soon. Most of you already know it, right? I've posted it before.

DeNae said...

I loved this story!! And I loved your munchkin teacher and her hair-and-a-spare!

And what an awesome tale of destiny foretold. No swords in stones required; just the perfect storm of teacher's name, invitation to speak, and a little hunger pang for narrative conflict.

And poo, Crash. I was totally going to wear my gingham peekaboo swimsuit to Storymakers. But now I'll just look like a poser.

DeNae said...

Oh, and blondie on the front row, 4th from the left, dressed like David Cassidy.

Kricket said...

And what's with the front row girl on the end? Is she about to strangle a small black kitten in her hands? Ah, Franklin Elementary (home of the coolest library loft EVER--can you imagine the letting kids climb up there now?) we hail thee.

Sandi said...

Hmm...Low is right. Mr. 3rd from the left on the 2nd row is a hottie. Look at me. I have gone from feeling guilty from drooling over Taylor Lautner and here you've got me checking 3rd graders!

April said...

I'm with Sandi, you are standing beside your crash crush. You two are mirroring each other. Was the girl on the other side your competition? She's leaning towards him. hehehehe!

Anjeny said...

Wow..that is one big hair there. I wonder, did she get headache from carrying such gigantic hair, do you know? LOL

And the names of your teachers, sounds like a made up story book that really her last name? Hunts? and the other one, Otter? Oh wait, I can't really be asking about this, I married a man with a "food" last name..sheesh.

I was going to say the boy next to you but since you're kinda ok with the hair thingy, i'm going for the boy behind, not the one in the white shirt, the other one.

You look so adorable but I have to agree with your kids, I'm pretty sure you're picking your nose..LOL. And omg, you look soooooo adorable in the peek-a-poo swim suit..eheh.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

hee hee hee hee hee hee

That's all I can say right now about the Crash crush.

Anjeny,those were their real honest to Pete names. We also had a 5th grade teacher named Mr. Beach, but we don't talk about him because he turned out to be not the kind of beach I would ever want to frequent.

Sandi, LOLOL that you're checking out third graders. Ha ha This competition at home between my kids made my hub a little jealous I think. ha ha He didn't approve of my choice in little boys.

Kricket!!! You have to be Krissy. Please tell me I'm right. If Kricket is Krissy, she was another one of MY BESTEST friends in the world who moved away but we wrote letters faithfully every single week for years and years. And I had totally forgotten about the loft in the library. You're right, that was such a RAD loft.

DeNae, is Kricket, Krissy? DeNae knows Krissy too.

DeNae how do you pump out such pithy comments? You ROCK, girl.

Sandi said...

Only English teachers use words like pithy. Oh and I forgot to be mad at your teacher for stealing your idea...shame shame shame!

Kricket said...


The Crash Test Dummy said...

Sandi, I KNOW! Thanks, girlfriend.

KRICKET!I KNEW IT! How surreal to have old old old dear friends and new dear friends in the same room.

April said...

I totally missed the crash crush first time round...I see him! Wearing THE shirt! DUH! But I have a reason for my slowness this week. Two words. Flying monkeys.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Um I think I failed at picking him out and now it's like I don't even know you any longer!!! But I know about you which is totally different and stalkerish!

That teacher's hair had to of been taxed?

The Crash Test Dummy said...

April, don't second guess yourself.

ha ha Shelle, I think we better do lunch again soon.

verifier says flump.

I'm such a flump. I'm feeling awfully flumpy today.

Tiffany said...

I loved miss Hunt, she was so tiny and cute.