I sat Indian Style (or as they say now “criss-cross apple sauce”) closest to the base of the piano that Mrs. Miller was playing. I don’t recall if Mrs. Miller actually played songs or if she just plinked away on the keys to get the Kindergarten class’ attention. Almost every day she would read a story from the piano bench to the 18 or so kids sitting on the ground before her.
Usually I would sit in the middle of the pack, or more likely towards the back with Jeff Stewart and Mark Greeves, but not that day, that day I had something to prove. I don’t remember the story Mrs. Miller was reading because I was too busy concentrating on the task at hand. I had to time everything perfectly. Mrs. Miller, with the book facing her, would read a few sentences, then she would turn the book towards the class and with a very slow sweeping motion from our left to right (her right to left)show the class the pictures in the book.
As Mrs. Miller read, I slowly untied my shoe. As she showed the class the pictures I would try to quickly tie my shoe, muttering under my breath something about carrots and making rabbit ears. I tied and untied my shoe several times during the story. Mrs. Miller finally finished the story and asked the class some questions about the moral of the story. I did not pay attention to the discussion I was busy tying and untying. I was frustrated that my plan did not work. Just as Mrs. Miller was dismissing the class back to our desks I untied and tied my shoe with much flourish. I exaggerated every move, crossing the laces, making a huge loop, pushing the loop through.
“Oh Billy!” Mrs. Miller said with a huge smile. “You are tying your own shoes. That’s great.”
I looked up and smiled, finally she noticed.
“Listen up everybody.” Mrs. Miller said to the class. “Billy has learned to tie his shoes. That means he gets a star on his accomplishment chart.”
Mrs. Miller took out a red shiny star from a small box and stuck it next to my name on a chart hanging on the chalk board. “And now Billy has 3 stars so he gets to help hand out our snacks today.”
It was one of the greatest days of my early life. I think I was one of the last kids in my class to learn how to tie my shoe. It was a big accomplishment for someone who looked like this.
Yes that is Mrs. Miller.
When people used to ask my dad how he did it raising so many kids he used to respond by saying he really only need to teach the first few and the rest of us learned from them. I learned how to tie my shoes from my brothers. I am not sure which one. Dennis probably took too long to explain. Kevin was probably too quick. My guess it was either Dan or John who taught me to tie my shoes. It was also probaly Dan or John who would give me noogies to make my hair look like that.
Most of the sneakers for the kids in my house have Velcro straps. There is no real need to teach them how to tie shoes. Do you think that as their generation grows that their shoes will always have a Velcro straps?