Have a Marlis Day!

Miss Jane

Posted on: January 16, 2012

On the first day my mother walked me to kindergarten. I was checked by a nurse, declared sound, and given this KGN Health Award. Mom must have thought it important, since she saved it for me along with my kindergarten workbook and first valentines. I keep them in my cedar chest and visit them every few years, inhaling the pungent cedar and recalling the distant memories. I sometimes wonder what will happen to them when I’m gone. Maybe a sentimental grandchild will claim them. I hope so.

I remember children sitting at long wooden tables, where we colored and printed our names. We played circle games, sang, and recited nursery rhymes. But mostly, I remember Miss Jane. I thought she was a big woman, but I guess everyone appears big when you’re three feet tall. She wore wire-rimmed glasses and silvery-gray hair pulled back into a loose bun. She had soft hands and always smelled like spring flowers.

In the game, she pulled me against her soft middle, my nose pressed into the fabric of her dress. She wrapped her arms around me and whispered, “Who is speaking, Marlis? Now listen carefully – it’s one of your classmates.”  Once more the chosen child recited the proper words, but I didn’t care who it was, I just loved being held close to Miss Jane’s bosomy softness, inhaling her sweet fragrance. After some coaxing, I’d mutter “Donnie? Jerry? Woody? PR?” I think I missed on purpose; I loved being in Miss Jane’s warm embrace.  In my family, the women showed affection with a swift peck on the cheek, and the men showed no affection at all. In retrospect, maybe it was my first hug and I wanted it to last forever.  For a few blissful minutes the universe was just Miss Jane and me. After a while, my teacher would gently turn me around. “Oh look, Marlis, it’s Austin!” I’d return to my place among the other children, filled with peace, and love, and all the sweetness of Miss Jane. The only picture I have is this one I clipped years ago from a newspaper honoring the teachers of yester-years in our town.

To this day, I’m a hugger. I hug my family, friends, and even my dog. I’ve been known to hug strangers at bookfairs when they speak kindly of my books.  Somehow, I think it all started with Miss Jane. May God bless the Miss Janes of the world.


9 Responses to "Miss Jane"

mmm, Aunt Mar, what a sweet memory. I don’t recall hugs from my kindergarden teacher, Mrs. Rhode, but I do recall hugs from family and to this day am so grateful for their lasting warmth. Thanks for sharing. xo

I have a big hug waiting for you, my dear niece.
Hopefully, you’ll be coming home for Easter.
Aunt Mar

Hi Marlis, Gay Cornelison & I enjoyed today’s blog about your teacher, Miss Jane.
I read it to Miss Gay in the lobby of the Ecke YMCA after we walked around the excercise track. I hope you a great day. Jay R Tuttle

So sweet, Marlis. P.R. said it brought back many memories; however, he does not remember being snuggled close to Miss Jane’s bosom—that memory he surely would not have forgotten or kept it in his deep secrets. He probably did not even know what a bosom was!!!! Phyllis

Ask PR if he remembers his high school typing teacher’s bosom.

Thanks Marlis for sharing a sentimental time in your life! In our throw away society not many have items from kindergarten.

Marlis, I can’t talk about that! PR

Neat story! I’m a hugger, too!

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