Friday, November 5, 2010

Learning Prepositions

aboard, about, above, across, after, against, along, amid, among, anti, around, as, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, besides, between, beyond, but, by, concerning, considering, despite, down, during, except, excepting, excluding, following, for, from, in, inside, into, like, minus, near, of, off, on, onto, opposite, outside, over, per, plus, regarding, round, save, since, than, through, to, toward, towards, under, underneath, unlike, until, up, upon, versus, via, with, within, without

How did other children learn their prepositions without the benefit of Mrs. Orr's legendary arms? 

She was a few years from retiring when I was in fourth grade. It was obvious the shine had worn off teaching. She seemed tired the entire year, except when we learned prepositions. 

Frozen in the 1920's, her jersey dresses looked like costumes off the set of Cannery Row. Belted with short sleeves. Classy, but outdated. 

She became animated during this rote memory work. We were embarrassed, but had to stand and repeat them together, while doing the hand motion for that word. 

Her arms had an indecent enthusiasm for the task. They escaped the confines of their sleeves upon any hint of a prepositional list. 

As she wrote the list on the chalkboard - and while she energetically did the hand motions - the underneath, fleshy part of her arms flew about. They flapped like worn out, leathery elephant ears trying to fly. No amount of hydration or lotion could have brought them back to life. 

It formed an unforgettable trauma bond. 

My worst fear has come about. I'm glad I don't have to write on a chalkboard. I'm also grateful for long sleeves, and try diligently to stay hydrated. And moisturized. Perhaps it's not too late to find a preventative exercise? 

Weight and gravity, can they be defied? It's too late. It is. But maybe I can use them to fly. 


Maureen said...

It's never too late.

I'd love to see you try to shape these wonderful reminiscences into poems. (I already get an image from your description of that "Cannery Row" look.) Thematically, you have a lot of great material for a collection.

Anonymous said...

what a cool story, very enjoyable!

Anonymous said...

Hillarious, as usual I am off to bed with a smile. You are to young for bat wings.

Kathleen Overby said...

A class mate corrected me. She taught 7th grade English. Woops. :)

S. Etole said...

Lots of good reading here to catch up on ... it probably won't be long before I'll need flying lessons!

Sandra Heska King said...

Oh dear. I don't remember to oil my flaps.

Marcus Goodyear said...

I don't know what I love better--the idea of flying with flappy arms or the fact that you tied it all together around a grammar lesson.

My favorite grammar memory is sentence diagramming. I loved those visual puzzles. When I was an English teacher, I tried to teach my students to diagram. But the district told me that diagramming sentences was no longer deemed to be an effective strategy. I submitted to their desires, but it made me a little sad.

M.L. Gallagher said...

This is brilliant! I love it! Fly indeed. May I join you?

Melisa said...

Oh this makes me laugh!! The visuals!! I'm heading to the gym first thing!! Thanks!