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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

There Is A Call For You In The Office

Our radio station's weatherman is a celebrity. At one time, he made trips to schools, to educate classes about meteorology, it is a very special day. The children and parents are photographed and mentioned on the radio. It is the urban version of 15 minutes of fame. I wrote a letter to the station explaining why my class was worthy, and you hope to get chosen. I did this and offered a homemade cheese cake if Mr. G. would come to my school.

He didn't come, but on my way to work he mentioned my name, the school and my cheesecake offer,   It was fun to hear. The school was far from the station, and not accessible by train, we lost due to bad location. I was a minor celebrity that day.

In those years there weren't cell phones. We could not use them in the classroom if there were.. All calls came through the office, and the secretaries paged you... My class was babysat and I was told to report to the office for a call.  This usually meant bad news, today it didn't.

I received a call from a man who had heard the announcement on the radio. There is no privacy in a busy school office. The supervisors and student were all there. The man explained that he remembered me from High School. He knew my brother, ( I am an only child) .he recognized my voice. We had dated briefly, and he regretted our break-up,  things were not going well in his marriage, and he never forgot me. Was there any hope for us?

I went from celebrity, to marriage counselor. I explained I am not the person you seek. This is my married name not the name I had in High School. I do not have a fact we have never met! He did not believe me. I went on to tell him this was a fantasy... to forget the past, and patch things up with his wife. Memories are fun, but live in the present!

At this point I had the attention of the entire office. I had stopped office traffic. I was uncomfortable with my new almost famous status. I said goodbye and asked my admirer not to contact me again. I stopped writing letters, I ate the cheesecake.

1 comment:

  1. Loved your story and only disappointed that your admirer didn't call to solve the lack of transportation problem for Mr. G. The rest of your story reminds me of a few semi-related incidents in my life. "My Reunion on the Q44A Bus" with a former classmate was the first memory triggered by your story. She and I each acknowledged that we knew one another "somehow" and spent the rest of our trip figuring out the connection. When I departed the bus, I realized that the teacher that we both had for art was NOT our connection because I had had that teacher in 7th grade and the other girl had had that teacher in 8th grade!

    My "celebrity" status in the town where I both lived and taught created a number of amusing and annoying circumstances from being stopped in stores, in the street, and even on the wedding reception dance floor (during a friend's wedding) for spontaneous "parent-teacher conferences... with the parents of EX-students to having surprise visitors show up at my front door. This decreased in frequency when I finally moved to another town. But the most memorable phone call in the office had nothing to do with celebrity status. The call was from a pushy salesperson from my college's alumni yearbook company. I was furious that the person thought it appropriate to call me at work to verify that my information was up-to-date and then launched into the sales pitch that I should buy this newly updated directory of my Class of 19_ _ "for only $100!" This was in the 1980's when the dollar had more buying power.

    Of interest regarding the public airing of your business when on the phone in the office, however, was that there was a hidden perk that I discovered fairly early on. Since EVERYONE heard your business, the phone call had witnesses. This was very comforting if a parent was inappropriate or later accused a teacher of unprofessionalism on the phone. Nothing like built-in witnesses to make your feel protected and supported. God bless those secretaries, the best defense for our besieged psyches. They comforted the universe from students and parents to staff....So the public aspect of those office phone calls sometimes were life-savers, once the embarrassment faded into the mist.