Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Parlez Vous?

Lauren and I, every so often, talk about the number of kids we would like to have. It does not make much of a difference to me regarding how many, but more importantly that they are close together in age. I think siblings should be no more than 2 years apart. If I had my way they would be only a year a part. I think the closeness in age is good because of the built in friend factor.

My parents had 9 kids in 10 years, no twins, and there is a three year gap between two of my brothers. Do the math. Anyway, growing up, I benefited from having "built in" friends. When I was freshmen in highschool I went through a shift of friends. Besides my best friend Bob, the rest of the crowd I hung out with was constantly changing, except for my brothers.

The brother that is closest to my age is John, AKA LawnWhisperer. When I was freshmen he was a sophomore. We even had one or two classes together. One of the classes we shared was French 1. Due to alphabetical seating arrangements we even sat next to each other. Madame Brust, the teacher, insisted each student pick a French name to address each other. I picked Xavier as my French first name (well you know because of Prof. Charles Xavier the founder of the X-Men) and John picked Jean, because when it was pronounced in French it sounded like John. The teacher, until she learned our names, addressed us by our last names. We, my brother and I, were Monsieur Mitchell*

I remember thinking, "This class is going to be great. John and I could practice speaking a different language at home. We could help each other with homework. We would learn French and have a secret language that no one else in our family would know and we could speak in code. Sibling rivalry will make us compete for better grades. It is so cool that my brother is in my class."

Midway through the school year Madame Brust took an extended leave and we had a substitue teacher for two weeks. Her name was Mrs. Kalmanor (pronounced Cow Manure, No joke). Now, as most times with a subsitute teacher, the class got a little out of hand. The kids, including John, were doing their best to have a good time. If a kid got too out of hand Mrs. Kalmanor would make that student sit in a chair right next to her desk. It was the highschool equivalent of a time out. At one point Mrs. Kalmanor had had enough of John's shenanigans.

"MISTER MITCHELL." She yelled referring to my brother John who was laughing with a fellow student named Jim. "COME UP HERE and sit in THIS chair." She turned her back to the class as she wrote on the chalk board. John walked to the front of the classroom and sat in the chair. I, of course, also being Mister Mitchell walked to the front of the class and sat on John's lap. The class was doing its best to stifle their laughter. It took a few minutes for the teacher to stop writing on the board and return to her desk. She sat down oblivious to the fact that John and I were sharing a chair. She did a double take at us. The class erupted in laughter.

"WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING?" She screamed.

"Well," I said "You told Mister Mitchell to sit in this chair. I am also Mister Mitchell."

"I meant the other one." She said through gritted teeth and tight lips.

"You should really have specified then." John said.

Mrs. Kalmanor lowered her head into her hands and with a barely audible whisper she said, "Both of you, return to your seats."

Needless to say, when Madame Brust returned to the class she was not happy with us. She separated us to opposite ends of the room for the remainder of the year. With the separation we could no longer assist each other in French. We both failed the class for the year.

Now that I think about it, maybe it is a good idea that my kids are a few years apart.



*Mitchell is not my real last name. If I used my real last name on the internet my mom would have a bird.

27 comments:

Effie said...

LOL!

That poor substitute teacher probably went home and had a nervous breakdown!

We did that to one teacher once--bad class! She never came back...

lawnwhisperer said...

Yeah, It was that class that proved that I was smarter than Bill. When put in the same class, with all the same variables, I outperformed Bill. Yes, we both failed the class for the semester, and both switched to Spanish the next session, but my final grade was a 59. Bill finished with a 58. I am smarter.

stepblog said...

Feel no sorrow for Mrs. Cow Manure Effie, she was a bee-yah.

When I was freshman, with William, there was a "Mitchell" in every grade. Freshman, sophomore, junior, senior. It just seemed natural, I figured everyone must have a "Mitchell" in their school.

It is still to me an amazing testament to Mr. and Mrs. "Mitchell" that none of these boys ended up in prison.

And one last thing that I must confess - we raised money to get Madame Brust a gift certificate for Madame Brust either upon her return or departure. I was in charge of it. There was money left over, and I just kept it. About $15. I've been carrying this around all these year.

Rude Cactus said...

Nine kids in ten years. Wow. Just...wow!

cat said...

"I picked Xavier as my French first name (well you know because of Prof. Charles Xavier the founder of the X-Men)..."

My first thought was that you were paying tribute to Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla (brother of Rafaella Gabriela Sarsaparilla) of SchoolHouse Rock fame (Thank you, pronouns!), and then I remembered, "No, wait... I'M the Grammar Rock geek!" And then I laughed. Because that is a freaking awesome song.

Kristine said...

Your mom would have a bird!! LOL.
My mom use to say, "You're father is going to Sh** a golden twinkie when he sees this!" lol.

Jonathon said...

Ha! That's the BEST reason to have kids close to the same age.

PS: I'm still slack-jawed that you have 8 brothers and sisters, all seperated by a year or so.

Whoa.

lehighmary said...

I can't believe that you did that! Poor subs!

Anonymous said...

I think Pat was in a lot of classes with most of his brothers. (Maybe even a nephew)

Anonymous said...

Does Parlez Vous mean that you and John two on oned Mrs Kalmanor?

Allyson said...

That would be Voulez Vous

N said...

HIL-AR-I-OUS!!!!

i just love your funny stories. and i always had a thing for trouble-making boys. i find them fascinating.

had i been in your french class, i would have been in love with you both.

One Hot Mama said...

That's cool that you're from a big family. We have six so far, with the seventh bun in the oven, but the "baby" is 4 now so there will be a big gap. Otherwise they are all about 2.5 to almost 3 years apart. The boys are best buds (my oldest two) and the four girls play together well too. Now this poor little tail-ender baby. Oh well, guess I'll just have to have another in a few years!

TBG said...

Could you imagine being a substitute teaching with a name like Cow Manure, I would so not sub if I had that name, what am I talking about I would never sub, kids are rotten to subs!

eclectic said...

Your mom would have a bird? Can we eat it for Thanksgiving? Funny story, Mr. Mitchell.

kalki said...

So you were one of those kids....

I respect that.

kimmyk said...

LOL @ Your mom having a bird.

Your poor teacher. My twin sister and I useta change classes in the early years and mess with our teachers. Those were good times.

Nilbo said...

God, I would have KILLED for a gift as pure and precious as a substitute named Mrs. Cow Manure.

Our daughters are three years apart. During elementary school and the teenage years, they were only occasionally friends. But since high school, they have become welded into one soul ... I love that it has happened, especially because there were times I feared it never would.

nelly said...

i had a german teacher named cowl, so we had to address her as frau cowl (of which we left out the 'l')
we use to saw how now frau cow!!

my boys are 21 months apart, and though very young at the moment, i am hoping that they will be best of friends (with more siblings in the years to come). my hubby is oldest of 6 and they are all best of friends!!

Jewl said...

I can not imagine having 9 kids in 10 years...I have said it before, your mother must be a saint!

Circus Kelli said...

Bwahahahaha -- I love that very last line!

And, can I say how grateful I am that I only have ONE boy, and how even more grateful I am for the space between Punkin and the two littles?

Kami said...

That poor cow manure woman.

andy said...

i was 'olivier' like Laurence Olivier. Sweet, huh...

Wyatt was June 11th, huh? Wes came on June 13th. Plus he's huge two. Today he weighed somewhere around 19 pounds, if my scale at home is anywhere close to right...

Right on!

MetroDad said...

Dude...I knew you were one of 9 kids. I had no idea that your mom had all of you in a 10-year time span. God bless her! To deal with the terrible twos for a decade is frightening to me right now.

No_Newz said...

That was sweeeeet! So much like our family, Ang is closest in age to me and my bestest built in friend. Glad you didn't make Mom have a bird! :D
Lois

maggie said...

my dad told me about her
i cant believe that was really her last name

susie said...

I've had numerous people tell me the bit about having kids close in age and how great it is. My next sibling was 6 years older than me and the one before that was another 6. They were all that's cool when I was a kid and had jobs while I was still in high school and bought me clothes and took me places. Both took me to Disney World on separate occasions.

That said we've been trying our best to give Liam a sibling close in age for the past year and it hasn't been working out. Sometimes it can't be helped.