Monday, 1 August 2016

Iron lady

It seems that every time I come out to Victoria for my summer visit to Demeter, I am confronted by another ghost in the obituaries.

They called Margaret Thatcher "The Iron Lady".  They never met Mrs Dupree.

She was our iron-willed, iron-tongued, and iron-lunged PE teacher. She also taught Social Studies (now there's irony), but I escaped getting her for "Soash", instead spending my English classes trying not to listen to her bellowing at the Grade Eights next door.  The other teachers, no doubt inured by years of this, ignored the enraged yells emanating through the wall.

Having Mrs Dupree for PE was terrifying enough, especially as I possessed no abilities in sports apart from, to her utter mystification, endurance running.  I rode my bike to school and played clarinet, resulting in increased lung capacity, I guess.

When I was in Grade Nine, she came up with the idea of rotating volley-ball skill exams.  The "spiking" test took place on the gymnasium stage.  Cowed, and with little hope of passing, I blindly spiked the volleyball straight up -- and it descended with the entire metal-encased florescent ceiling lamp, missing Mrs Dupree and me by inches.

As the glass tubes shattered and scattered, the stage was plunged into semi-darkness.

That wasn't the scary part.

Frozen in horror, I gazed as Mrs Dupree shook like a volcano about to explode.  She finally let forth a howl of laughter.

"You should see your face!"  she roared.


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