our elementary school music teacher was a crazypants. is a crazypants. though crazier in the brainpan than the pants. first of all, there's the hair. to this day, I have never seen hair like that. we all knew she wore a wig. doesn't matter if she did or not; we knew it.
and she had this fascination with organizing her students in terms of height. on the first day of music class every year, she'd have us stand in a line around the room and she'd set to scrutinizing. heaven forbid a second row child be a fraction of an inch shorter than a first row child. lindbergh himself might roll over in his grave. chorus concerts were an even bigger production. she'd draw four lines on the chalkboard at the front of the class, number them one through four, and one by one, every kid in the class had to come up to be measured. "you look like a two," she'd say, "but step over to three just in case. no, you're definitely not a three. maybe a one?" it took one full class period to determine our height and a second to assign us all spots on the risers - ones behind twos, twos behind threes, and fours in front hiding them all. maybe she thought we were toys. little child-toys that moved and sang and grew to precisely four heights.
she was also a prolific composer. almost all her songs entailed the worship of lindbergh the person, lindbergh the school, the united states, or all three. we sang them often. so often, in fact, that I can still hail to lindbergh and name all fifty states in alphabetical order by memory.
this spring, after a long (longer than I've been alive) career of brainwashing small children, mrs. ende is retiring. a friend of mine decided to hunt down as many lindbergh grads as possible to sing one last hail and farewell to this pillar of our childhoods. so, less than 24 hours after graduating from university, I went trooping back to elementary school today. there were thirteen of us, ranging from the class of '96 (moi) to the class of '00. during the morning assembly, we sang our praises to lindbergh and the fifty states and did it all by memory. the little punks in the audience sang along - eleven years later and even the hand motions are the same!
and it was awesome. two of my former teachers were in the audience. all the teachers and even the kids were smiling these huge smiles. I just love happy people.
"we hail to thee o lindbergh, school we hold so dear
we pledge thee our devotion, though we be far or near..."
successfully brainwashed and loving it...