My Mrs. Olsen [semi-OT]


This comic brought back memories of my own Mrs. Olsen.

My Mrs. Olsen was my 8th grade history teacher, Mrs. Ryan. Where Mrs. Olsen is a big woman, Mrs. Ryan was frail, bird-like. She was born when Teddy Roosevelt was president, which was impressive even then.

And I was her Caulfield. I suppose I was everybody’s Caulfield growing up, but Mrs. Ryan was having none of it. She was strict and she scared me. And I didn’t have a janitor friend enabling me when I wanted to undermine her authority (not that I’d ever accuse her of being stupid, mind you: just not as clever as I was, of course).

But my unwillingness to get with the program was bad enough. That she hated me was common knowledge.

Instead of writing a paper about comparative religions, I created a board game where the players passed through various religions’ afterlives.

(getting to the comic reference…)

In April, I convinced her to let us have an Anzac Day party during class. Because, you know, it was history. There was cake. There were balloons.

After a while, one of the balloons became the centerpiece of a volleyball game. And in the middle of it, Mrs. Ryan came out from behind her desk and joined us, at one point giving that balloon an impressive spike. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been more shocked if our neighbor’s dog stood on his hind legs and recited Hamlet’s soliloquy.

I’d like to say that I immediately realized that all the assumptions I’d made about Mrs. Ryan were wrong: but I was thirteen. It came later.

I still have that board game. I got an A.