truth be told, the hunky professor that i currently am swooning over is acutally just the latest in a long line of former teachers (and, ok, throw in a former boss) whom i have hopelessly crushed on. while each of those crush stories is uniquely delicious, i am going to tell you now about a series of events that preceeded all of this adolescent and post-adolescent longing for the inappropriate. the story i tell you might seem familliar; there was one night i was flipping channels and the television movie i landed on could very well have been a telling of this very same story. the names are changed to protect the innocent... and the guilty.
once upon a time i went to suburban town high school. i was new to the city, the country, the school, the whole nine yards. it was a chance to find myself, to try new things, to make new friends. i jumped at the chance to join s.t.h.s.' s newly forming drama club. well, actually, we were technically called the thespians
, and we took all the jokes that came with the moniker. thespians was being run by a young woman who was fairly new to the school herself, mrs. betty lumberjack. mrs. l was full of the joy of teaching--she had a thirst to share theatre and english with all her young, malleable students.
mrs. l was the kind of teacher who really went the extra mile, and really took an active interest in her kids. she'd always be there if we needed a classroom to hide out in during any period of the day. she'd be there to give hugs, advice, rides home. but she was mercurial, and to be on her bad side was a dangerous place to be. as passionately as she embraced us, she could just as passionately reject us. my freshman year was full of plenty of ups and downs.
by my sophomore year i was fully immersed in what can only been known as the 'drama' crowd. i lived and breathed drama--the classes, the school plays, the social aspects. mrs. l grew closer to all of us. i'd go with her to school football games, and she'd point out all the players that she'd like to... well, be intimate
with. she told us stories of her years in college, her past loves, her current struggle to have a baby with her husband. she spent an awful lot of time with her students, outside of school. that spring, while the drama kids of s.t.h.s. put on a play with a strong female cast, mrs. l decided that the girls should spend some time together to bond in order to give the play authenticity.
a sleepover in the school auditorium? no, the school wouldn't allow it. ah, but a weekend in a mountain cabin owned by one of the student's parents? perfect! so all of us, including mrs. l, packed up for a place i'll call evergreen hills.
what was supposed to be just an intense night of eating oreos and playing card games turned in to a classic 90210
episode of 'let's play skeletons in the closet'
. every girl had a confession to make, a deep secret to reveal. we cried most of the night. i don't remember everyone's story, but i do remember we dared mrs. l to run topless down the street and she did. and i know we heard some dirty stories, and something about the trees on her old college campus smelling like semen. but you're getting the idea here: mrs. l was way out of line
sometime in my junior year things began to unravel. twice that year she cast strangers to the drama crowd in parts with me as their understudy. both times she confessed to me: "i should have cast you, i'm sorry, i don't know what i was thinking, you'd be so much better." nights after fall play rehearsal bunny and i would get a bite to eat and drive past the auditorium on our way to my house, and there would be mrs. l, still inside with a cast member. only this wasn't just any cast member. this was al, a seventeen year old young man that many of us knew mrs. l had the hots for. the two had some intense chemistry going on, and many of us saw it, but because she was so permissive and liberal, we didn't think much of it. it was all very humorous to think that she was having a real flirtation with one of us kids. and event hough she wasn't by any means a 'come hither' looking sort of woman, her openness seemed to attract the young men in the department. anyhow, sometimes we'd know she and al were up in the sound booth together--someone claims to have seen what looked like them getting up from a lower position before their heads came in to view in the window. someone else i'm sure interrupted an encounter in the costume room.
during all this i was mrs. l's 6th period teaching assistant. it was her junior english class, and al was a class member. i would have to open their student journals and record the grades. and of course, i read them... wouldn't you
? and, oh, the things al would write, and the things mrs. l would write back! a scandalous lovers' holiday weekend? some sort of code they'd developed to express desires?
and then... suddenly mrs. l snapped. in the middle of class she would call on al and embarrass him for no reason. completely unwarranted she'd pick fights with him in front of the whole class, and they would result in yelling matches, often with al storming out of the room. this was a far cry from normal. something clearly was amiss.
but this is high school, remember, and every social situation is based on politics. and being on mrs. l's side was crucial to survival, a key of sorts to keeping your place in the system. so no one told her they saw what was going on. no one told on her to anyone else, for that matter. at least, i know i didn't. around christmastime mrs. l asked three of us girls to join her for lunch off campus. over veggie burgers she told us that she was finally pregnant. naturally, we were ecstatic--for her and her husband. we knew it had been a struggle for them.
it was probably spring when rumblings of repercussions began to happen. i don't remember how i found out, but i was made aware that al was planning on taking mrs. l to court. mrs. l asked me to write a letter on her behalf to the school board; they were trying to take away her teaching credential. i guess that's what happens when seventeen year old boys claim they were raped by their female teachers. not wanting to lose my 'cool' status, and, feigning outrage, i wrote a letter on her behalf. i guess i must have left out the parts about her and i fighting, about the list of hundreds of curse and sexual words she'd said that i jokingly written up earlier, i didn't mention the sixth period outbursts, the sound booth or late night incidents, or the journals i read. i pledged my faith to her side. like i said, this was high school--you do what every one else was doing. and all my classmates--juliet, becky, jimmy, among others--well, we were all about to become seniors, and i didn't want to spend my last year at s.t.h.s. as an outcast.
no matter what our letters said, the school board told mrs. l she wasn't allowed back at s.t.h.s. that summer she gave birth to her son, while preparations went underway for al's lawsuit.
al believed he was the father of mrs. l's baby, and wanted to have paternity tests taken. trouble was, at the time there was no law regarding sex with adult females and minor males; al was only able to take mrs. l to court for 'oral copulation', and because, as we know, babies aren't made that way, the paternity test request was denied. as the trial wore on, few people would take al's side. mrs. l was a powerful woman when it came down to it. i made an offhand comment about knowing more than i'd let on about earlier to a friend of al's with whom i shared a class. before i could blink i had lawyers calling my house asking me to tell them what i knew. did i have to? i wondered. no, they couldn't and didn't make me. al lost the case, but mrs. l permanently lost her high school teaching credential, and he moved on to a civil trial. (as an aside, based on the headlines in our local newspaper, bunny and i made up the following song: "congratulations, no oral copulation, glad to see you gave up student sex! [clap, clap]") al had long left s.t.h.s., and graduated, presumably, from elsewhere. mrs l and her husband had a son a couple of years later.
the teacher who replaced mrs. l my senior year became my first teacher crush, and, boy, howdy, did that cause some scandal. but those are tales for another time.
and though mrs. l can't teach high school, she sure can teach college, and as a matter of fact, she does.
...at my school.
i have seen her once in the over two years i've been there. she teaches low level english classes--stuff i was, thankfully, exempt from having to take. i emailed her to tell her i was there--she sent me a polite reply, but i sensed she wasn't thrilled i was there. i have a feeling along the way she realized i didn't buy in to her story completely. in fact, i wish they could have ordered those paternity tests. and i wish i had spoken up... but i didn't, and i can't go back and change it.
an incident like this, i've realized, doesn't happen in every high school. it certainly made headlines, and it certainly had an impact on many lives. betty is still married to mr. l--in fact, i believe he's just joined the faculty at my school, and will be a prof of mine next quarter. i'll admit, i feel a little weird about it. after all, i kind of think his oldest kid belongs to a former high school classmate of mine!
so the whole student-teacher love affair situation goes back to my younger years. and i can't shake it--i walk the same halls as mrs. l every day, once again, and i also moon and pine over my beloved hunky professor. my ten year reunion is coming up, too--some folks from those years are starting to trickle back in to my life. there's talk of having a 'drama' kids reunion. (some of us had a mini reunion two years ago when a former classmate of ours was murdered and we all met up at the memorial service. and we managed to turn that reunion into scandalous drama, too, go figure.) ...you can take the girl out of 'drama', but you can't take the drama out of the girl!