As I enter mother's house, my eyes are drawn to the telephone which sits on the kitchen counter. It's a corded phone and I can see that the receiver is off. I haven't called this morning, so I am not aware of this calamity. I quickly ask her what in the world is the phone doing off the hook. "Oh, I guess I must have left it off when I was calling Lewis" she says. Lewis is the brother of mother's late husband Yates. For any and everybody that attended Polk Central High School back in the day, they will remember him as their US History teacher.
Not only was "Mr. Williams" my history teacher, and my mother's second husband's brother, but we are all distantly related through my daddy's people. His father, Hamilton and my great grandfather "Bryse" better known as "Uncle Bryse" were brothers. This made for embarrassing comments in his class, which he gladly blurted out from time to time. My Grandmother Myrtle, was known to be called "Catbird" in her younger years. I had no idea why or how she acquired this embarrasing name, and had no intentions of asking him, but, as if grandmother's given name "Myrtle" wasn't embarrasing enough, when your teacher calls you "Catbird" in front of all your friends, it tends to make a teenager blush.
It was a well known fact that Lewis Williams was one of, if not THE hardest teacher at Polk Central High. If you wanted to make passing grades in his class, it was practically a "given" that you would have to do the dirty word, "cheat." Looking back, I have to thank my lucky stars for the fad of the day, "mini skirts."
My girlfriends and I concocted a plan that would secure us each, a spot in our graduation exercises. We came up with a scheme to wear mini skirts on the day of Mr. Williams' tests. Now everyone knew that Mr. Williams was infamous for giving only multiple choice tests, so my friends and I would meet outside his door on the day of the dreaded test and hand down the answers, which would be written on a tiny piece of paper, just the right size to fit under a mini skirt. Quickly heading to our desks, we would place the little slip of paper bearing the prospective answers, between our legs just barely peeping out from under our skirt, glancing down from time to time with Mr. Williams not being the wiser. However dishonest this plan was, we looked at it as being a means of survival, right up unto the day that one of my bestfriends "Pam" got busted. I don't know how in the world I made it out of that class with a "D," but all of us were indebted to my friend Pam from then on out for being the sacrificial lamb and not spilling the beans on us.
I had many questions as to what happened when the ladies woke up and where did they go, but decided to leave it be, knowing that from experience, it was in reality, her dog Annie who had come in the house and made her way down the hall and into mothers bed.
The next time I see Mr. Williams, I will have to tell him this story. Maybe he'll give me an "A" for it.