It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when the Awesome Opossum and I became BEST FRIENDS, but I believe the seed was planted during Senorita Jones’ Spanish I class; not because we had an especially fun time, but because we survived.
Senorita Jones was a first year teacher. She was super excited to teach. In our school system, every student is required to take two years of a foreign language. So every Spanish I class is a melting pot of academic achievements. You had freshmen honors students like the Awesome Opossum and me and you have juniors (in their twenties) who are struggling (or not struggling) to push through to that diploma. Senorita Jones did not stand a chance.
There were three guys in particular who stand out in my memory; let’s call them Heckle, Jeckle and Moe. Heckle was a goth stoner with an affinity for Jncos. He was mostly along for the sassy comments. Jeckle was a linebacker for our (incredibly bad) football team. He was a human wall. Slightly more aggressive and offensive than Heckle, he was still not the worst.
Moe was the ringleader. He dabbled in drugs and sports, but I think being a total asshole was his main extracurricular. These three guys were all over six feet tall and all at least old enough to vote, if not rent a car.
Srta. Jones wanted our class to be fun. We had easy homework. She let us make jokes with her (Obviously, A.O. and I did not make any jokes. We were freshmen and serious students.), she let us play games. She could not sense that she was losing total control of our class.
Heckle, Jeckle and Moe started out the year gently enough. They told her she was pretty. They flirted with her. Then one of them would fall asleep in class. Or come really late, testing the boundaries of her discipline.
The jokes started to get a little bit bluer. Jeckle told Srta. Jones that he was going to bend her over his knee and spank her. She should have had him suspended, but she just taught us how to write responses to “Como estas?” by writing “Estoy muy triste” on the board.
The capper was when Moe told her he was going to throw her out the window. Instead of going to our principal, a fair but serious woman, Srta. Jones got someone who could really take control of the situation.
Srta. Mayes did not play. She was a terrifying woman. If you have ever read the Viola Swamp books, you can draw an easy comparison. If you haven’t then I feel terrible about your childhood literature choices.
The next day, Moe was moved to El Diablo’s class. That scared Heckle and Jeckle so much that they behaved like angels (idiot angels) for the rest of the year.
Srta. Jones never taught again. She left our high school a broken woman; slinking off into the mist in search of a new career (the economy was much better then). H, J and M all probably graduated and maybe one of them went to college. Maybe.
The Awesome Opossum went on to have Srta. Mayes for Spanish II, where she dubbed the teacher “El Diablo”; a title which sticks to this day. As for me, I don’t remember what Spanish II class I was in, but I still speak the language, so I guess everything turned out ok.