Snowflakes and Killer Desks


An occasional day of yucky weather is not a bad thing. To me, it’s a guilt-free pass to putter around the house in my PJ’s.

On Saturday, I had a very successful day of puttery. (Yes, this is indeed a new word.) I didn’t even shower until late afternoon, and then I didn’t dress; I just put on clean PJ’s.  The puttering continued into Sunday.  It was great to have some much-needed unstructured time and solitude over the weekend. For two solid hours, I visited with Alli via Skype. Craft projects were finished, and I got all my gifts wrapped. I sipped coffee in front of the Christmas tree with Larry curled up by my side.  Wait. I’m sorry, that was Bella Bunny.

Bella Bunny snuggling on the couch

But I did have some time with Larry, too.

Larry enjoying the tree and the train

I was pretty much oblivious to the cruddy weather until Monday.  By then our area had been embraced by gray skies, cold temps and rain or snow and ice for at least five days straight. It was beginning to get to me.

Tuesday morning we woke to snow, which was followed by sunny skies.  No, we didn’t have the sled-able kind of snow you’re probably thinking of, but more like a dusting.

Ganier Ridge, Radnor Lake – Nashville By Larry Crew

This, in Nashville is enough to keep everyone at home and concerned about basic survival.  When the “S” word is mentioned in the forecast, it seems like our whole city rushes to the store for milk and bread. Schools and businesses close early.  People cook chili.

It never snows that I don’t think about my first grade teacher, Miss Mary Hall. It began to flurry one morning in the winter of 1966 (And so you won’t have to calculate that, I’m 53. You’re welcome.) She had the whole class bundle up and we all went outside to play. Before we came in, she produced a magnifying glass from her coat pocket and shared with us the wonder of individual snowflakes.

Snowflakes, 1984  by LLC

Snowflakes, 1984 by LLC

As we took turns looking at the six pointed crystals on her dark sleeve, Miss. Hall told us that just like children, no two snowflakes are alike. That we were each special.

She always made learning fun.

Bless her heart. I’m pretty sure that I always made teaching a challenge.

Probably upon the recommendation of Miss Hall, my second grade teacher, Miss Williams put me on the front row, right in front of where she always stood to teach.

We had these old, wooden, double desks. Eddie Wauford, also a high maintenance kid, was my desk mate. Sharing came easy to me, but sharing with a slob did not. I was a tidy little germaphobic OCD patient in the making. The young Mr. Wauford was anything, but.

His side of our double desk was literally jam-packed with wadded up paper, used and nasty tissues, broken pencils, chewed erasers, “skinned” crayons. You get the picture.

My side was organized with my writing tablet, drawing tablet, crayons, library book and fat pencils lined up in perfect order.

Bless his heart; Eddie was very special if you know what I mean. Not only was his nose always snotty, but he was a crier. He would have little fits of anger where his face would turn red and he’d bawl his eyes out. Personally, I thought the kid was stressed out. Realistically, he had some major issues I couldn’t comprehend at the age of seven.

I was not without fault. Along with my propensity for pranks and mischief, I had the unladylike habit of leaning back in my chair. I would hook my feet under the front of the desk for balance. Miss Williams, when she would catch me, would tap the top of my toes with her pointer and give me the stink eye.

One, especially emotional day for Eddie Wauford, Miss Williams had her back to us writing something on the chalk board. (Remember those?) I was in my usual position, leaning back, feet hooked under the front of the desk.

All of a sudden what Miss Williams kept saying would happen, actually happened! My chair fell backwards and since I had my feet hooked under the front of that colossal desk, it and Eddie Wauford went with me.

Miss Williams jumped 2 feet off the ground at the unmistakably sound of two young, fragile skulls against asbestos tile.

What she found when she turned around was me and Eddie Wauford trapped under that darn desk, arms and legs flailing. All that crap he had on his side had fallen out. He was covered in papers and snotty tissues and was kicking his legs. His face was bright red. He screamed and cried and if he weren’t trapped, I’m pretty sure he would have beaten me up.

I was stunned, possibly amused. Maybe a little brain-damaged.

The desk was so heavy that Miss Williams was no help. She had to get another kid to take a note to Mr. Brown, the janitor to come lift the thing off of us.

In the meantime, Eddie Wauford squalled and squalled. I lay motionless, just observing. I swear he tried to strangle me. Well, the best he could, being that a desk was on top of him. Only one of his arms could really reach me, and he couldn’t get a grip since he was shaking so badly. Although totally grossed out by the nasty tissues surrounding us, and a bit concerned about my panties showing, I got tickled at our predicament. I couldn’t stop laughing, which made Eddie cry louder. The poor kid was beet red from his head to his toes by the time Mr. Brown came to rescue us from the killer desk.

To this day I can still see the look on Mr. Brown’s face when he walked in the room. I knew I had company with my issue of laughing at the wrong times. As soon as we were free, Miss Williams had to hold Eddie Wauford to keep him from just finishing me off right then and there. He was taken to the office. I was just sure he was in big trouble for making a bad situation worse by coming undone and freaking out with all that loud wailing. I was wrong. They had to call his Mom to come and get him. Seems he was a bit traumatized. And he had some possible internal injuries.

The next day, Eddie was out sick and Miss Williams moved me to another desk.

With an attached chair.


In the back of the room.

The good news was, my special place as an outcast was by the window.

One day, not long after the Great Desk Episode of 1967 while I was looking out that window, it began to snow. I thought about the magical day with Miss Hall and the snowflakes. It made me happy.  And for a brief time, I forgot all about special Eddie Wauford and the desk.

Libby Lu in 2nd grade

Libby Lu in 2nd grade

I hear we have more snow coming in this weekend. I’m off to get milk and bread.

I think I’ll make chili for dinner.

Snowflakes, 1984 by LLC

Snowflakes, 1984 by LLC

For those of you with snow, enjoy it and let it take you to your happy place. Always appreciate the fact that we, like the snowflakes are each unique and special and we have to get along together. Play nice, and don’t lean back in your chair!


Libby Lu

PS Names have been changed to protect the innocent.  I sure don’t want Eddie W. finding me!


8 thoughts on “Snowflakes and Killer Desks

  1. Laura

    Oh I just so love your memories & how vivid they are! Love You Libby Lu & I will say it again, I am so glad you are back writing again 🙂

  2. Nancy Dorman-Hickson

    Yeah, how come your memories are so vivid? I’m 53, too, and mine aren’t nearly as crisp as your telling. Great fun. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love your story! My little brother constantly rocked back in his chair – at home and at school. Only he was a first-class daydreamer, and he fell over EVERY DAY. One teacher used to send a note home to my mother – every day – telling my mother how many times he had fallen over that day. Didn’t do any good – he’s 57 now and still a daydreamer.

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