Mrs Tidwell managed to humiliate me in several ways during my year in her 4th grade class at Highland School. She refused to write my name on my Thanksgiving Turkey name tag because she said I colored it in poorly. She wouldn’t let me sing Beautiful Dreamer for our class play (a minsteral show, complete with classmates in blackface of all things) because I couldn’t hit the high notes — Janice something or the other got to sing it instead. She let me play a violin duet of Shortnin’ Bread with my friend Rhonda instead. We weren’t very good.
Mrs Tidwell also liked to throw candy out to her class and watch us scramble on the floor. I refused to scramble. Perhaps that’s why she was unkind to me.
She loved opera and let her students know she would much rather be on stage singing Italian arias instead of teaching us our multiplication facts. The fact that she was shaped like an opera singer only made me wish she had chosen that career path even more, especially when she decided to have her class perform Carmen for the entire school.
We probably didn’t perform the entire opera, but I remember one scene. Of course I didn’t get to be a Carmen (she broke the class into 4 or 5 groups and we performed in different areas of our gymnasium, so there were 4 or 5 Carmens). Instead, I got to be a bullfighter, crawling on my knees and holding my hands out to my beloved Carmen along with several other crawling bullfighters. At least I wasn’t the bull.
Anyway, my daughter is filming that scene from Carmen right now with a few classmates from her Spanish class. I just peeked out the window. Guess who’s playing Carmen?
You guessed it — Clare. And she’s directing it too. So, Mrs Tidwell, where ever you are, someone with my genes gets to be Carmen.
We won’t be putting on any mistral shows though, that’s a promise.