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I’m Called Little Buttercup, Sweet Little Buttercup

August 25, 2010

The Pioneer Woman is having a camera giveaway. Go to her website (she’s linked over there on the right) and let her know who your favorite teacher is/was, and you may have a chance to win a camera. I probably shouldn’t tell you this because now my chances will be lowered for winning the camera. I think that if any of you win the camera, after going there because I told you so, you should share the camera with me.

I wrote that my favorite teacher was Mr. Chuck Wood, Junior High School Choir Director Extraordinaire.

Boy, did I love me the Chuck Wood. He was a tough mother trucker of a teacher and scared just about everybody he taught. I had a healthy fear of him but we must have had some sort of chemical balance between us because I was on his good side. Which, if you think about how annoying I must have been in junior high school, is a miracle that any adult could tolerate me.

Mr. Wood, when angry, was known to smack a few students upside of the head, in front of the rest of the choir. My buddy Derrick Muffy  got smacked on the head by the very own brush he was using.  Derrick Derrick Derrick.  Why did you feel the need to brush your hair in the middle of choir? People – Merrick’s brush, which he pulled out of his back pocket, was about the size of a Big Mac. Brushes were big back in the 70s.

I loved how tough Mr. Wood was and I wanted to do right by Mr. Wood. I wanted to stay in tune and I wanted that first chair in the alto section. Mr. Wood made us fight for that chair every Friday. If someone wanted it, they could challenge for it and then there was a sing-off. So you had to stand up, in your chair – so did the challenger, and Mr. Wood gave you something to sing. If someone from the 4th chair challenged you, they would move up to the first chair. But I don’t think the 1st chair would have to go to the 4th chair, I think we’d all just shuffle down a chair – and then have to challenge for our chair the next week. It was scary, if you had any fear of performing in front of others. Which I did not, back then.

Wasn’t that riveting?

However, that is when I developed my stage fright. Mr. Wood had given me the role of Buttercup in the operetta, HMS Pinafore. I was so excited! Until I realized that I’d have to perform solos, on stage, for 3 nights. After several practices I turned it down. So he gave it to the 3 runners up. I just couldn’t do it. And I do believe I still haven’t forgiven myself for that.

I know, right? Let it go! I was 15 and incredibly immature (a little less than I am today!) But still, I could have been Buttercup.

I’m called Little Buttercup, sweet little Buttercup, I!

Rumor went around, after high school graduation, that Mr. Wood was dead. My choir girlfriends and I had always hoped for a Junior High School Choir Reunion and were so sad to imagine Mr. Wood gone. However, that rumor was put to rest by another rumor that he was not dead. My choir girlfriends and I thought that was awesome and then nobody really cared enough to put together a Junior High School Choir Reunion. Which is so typical, isn’t it? I’m not sure if he’s dead or alive, I can’t find him on the internets. But if I did, you can rest assured that I wouldn’t do much about it. Because that’s the kind of student I am. I quit when given the solo.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2010 8:50 am

    I love teachers like that, the ones that really stick with you. I had an English teacher my sophomore year named Mrs Harris. Oh, she was scary. She was getting old and getting VERY burnt out, and the only thing that kept her going was her advanced classes. Even that wasn’t helping much; she caught this kid sleeping in her class one day and decided to water the plant above his head. He woke up spluttering. Also she loved to throw erasers at us when we’d gotten an answer particularly wrong. Somehow I was on her good side, I suppose because I could actually write, and because grammar comes as easily to me as breathing. I think she retired a couple years after I graduated.

    When I was in the 5th grade, we did a Christmas pageant that involved Santa feeling all out of touch with today’s kids, so he turns himself into a 1950s Santa. Like the Fonz, really. I got the part of the 1950s Mrs Claus, complete with poodle skirt, saddle shoes, and crinoline. I thought it was great fun till I actually had to get in front of the audience — and then I froze. So ended my dramatic career.

  2. Collectable Sue permalink
    September 1, 2010 11:03 pm

    Awe…..Mr Wood. He was the Best! What a great teacher, he taught so many of us soooo much, like “sing through your diaphragm”. He was probably the most influential teacher for many of us Olson Jr. High kids from the early 70’s

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