My mother could hit anyone in the house, while she was on the phone, anywhere in the house.

I don’t know how she did it or if she still has that skill. It was a good learning experience for everyone who was on the other end of her shoe.

She was never really athletic, except for doing push-ups after a huge meal. Somehow she could manage to hurl her shoe at any of us who dared talk while she was on the phone. We learned after getting pelted a couple of hundred smacks. I eventually learned that it was a no-no to try to carry on a conversation while she was on the phone.

I’ve seen shoes turn corners, go upstairs and hit with accuracy of a Marine and hit anyone who dared chat while she’s talking. I don’t know how she did it while maintaining a fake laugh with whom she was on the phone. The person on the other line never knew what she was doing on the other end. THAT is the sign of an expert.

When I tried to explain this to my friend, Steve, he thought I was making this story up. You should have seen his face when he witnessed it. He thought his mom was unique in hitting people with a shoe but MY mom could go upstairs and pause in midair. He was astounded.

All this gave me practice for what was coming up in sixth grade. I don’t know what the limits are in prosecuting abuse, so I will not be using this teacher’s name, but I’m pretty sure this person could not get away with this today. This teacher was an expert in hitting anyone in the class with a fully loaded eraser. And I mean FULLY LOADED WITH CHALK DUST. We learned very quickly that when this teacher was teaching, full attention was required. It almost became a badge of honor to be hit with this eraser – well, not quite because the hit was accompanied by a long detention. So the thrill of getting hit was squelched.

One day the teacher was droning on and on about some lame subject, and I was visiting with my friend across the aisle. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the arm of my teacher slowly reaching for the eraser. As the teacher cocked the arm, beginning to throw, I knew I was the target. Just as the eraser was in the thrown position, I ducked and “Julie,” the class brain, got pelted with the eraser. As laughter filled the classroom, the dust was settling and “Julie” was shocked at what just happened to her. The teacher apologized while glaring at me the same time. I knew I was in bad trouble but I think if all the information was revealed, the teacher knew there would be real trouble. I was given detention plus I had to clean all the erasers too. Lesson learned!

I don’t know whatever happened to either the teacher or “Julie,” but the detention was well worth it! This made my respect for my teacher grow a lot. This teacher ended up being one of my favorites. This teacher attended my Bar Mitzvah along with Dr. Sanguanry from my dad’s TV station. My younger brother was all of three during the ceremony. I made it through without fainting or puking. It was a big deal for a 13-year-old kid. I led the ceremony and it was frightening. At the end, the Rabbi was giving me a blessing and he happened to say “On your Bar Mitzvah…” and almost on cue my younger brother shouted “Bar Mitzvah!!” at the top of his voice. It was something I’ll never forget.

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