School days are here again

Published 1:19 pm Wednesday, August 3, 2005

By Staff
The smells of fresh notebook paper, unsharpened pencils and new erasers fill the air, while shiny pencil boxes, untouched notebooks and boxes of crayons line the shelves in stores – all indications that the new school year is beginning.
I still remember my first day of school. I'm the last of four children and my mother acted with the same emotions as the first day she dropped me off at college – complete hysterics.
For some reason, kindergarten has remained vivid in my brain as opposed to all my other classes, and I credit that to a wonderful teacher.
Mrs. Mayhall was my kindergarten teacher. When she wasn't teaching children, she was concocting potions and placing spells on naughty children. Sound strange? She was a witch in her spare time.
Mrs. Mayhall would reward the good children with gummy worms. After we gobbled them down she would tell us the worms were real and the reason they were colorful was because she put a spell on them.
On Halloween she would invite us to her haunted house – even after we had graduated from kindergarten. Inside, we were blindfolded and we would place our hands in gooey bowls, which were filled with cow eyeballs, intestines and other edible products.
Despite her crazy "witchiness," I learned a lot and had fun doing it. I distinctly remember sitting in a circle with the rest of my classmates one particular afternoon, after our afternoon nap. Mrs. Mayhall asked me to go over to the sink and bring her a glass.
When I brought back a clear plastic cup, she sent me right back to the sink and told me to bring her a glass. I was confused. In my household, the cup I brought her was also called a glass. I went back and forth to the sink until finally I gave up. I was embarrassed and humiliated.
Rather than getting mad or frustrated, instead, she gently sat with me and carefully explained the difference between glass and plastic and then told me to go to the worm jar and pick out a gummy worm.
I was so proud when I went home and taught my brother and sisters the difference between a glass and a cup. It was fun to be included in the conversations at home – I had something to contribute for once.
I was the last of the Lancaster girls she would teach, and kindergarten was a long time ago, but I will never forget Mrs. Mayhall. Every time I see her she gives me a big hug and a witchy cackle, and I thank her for being patient with me and making the learning process so much fun.
Mary-Allison Lancaster is the Managing editor of The Brewton Standard. She can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 251.867.4876.

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