Alice’s note: This story first appeared in my blog The Bright Lights of Muleshoe on September 21, 2011. Since the beginning of this new school year is right around the corner, I thought this might be an appropriate time to share this story about a few things that happened at Muleshoe High School back in the day.
Funny stuff happens in classrooms and schools everywhere every year. Teachers fail to write down those funny things everywhere every year. I’m one of those teachers. We foolishly think we will remember all those funny stories. And of course we don’t. But I was able to remember a couple of them that might bring a smile or two.
Like the time Coach Ted Lepps and teacher Kevin Noack plotted a prank against MHS principal Dave Jenkins. They knew he had a Subway sandwich every day for lunch, so on the appointed day they stealthily followed him , parked at a discreet distance, waited for him to go in to the Subway shop, and then one of them jumped in Mr. Jenkins’ pick-up, where he had conveniently left the keys, and drove it around to the north side of the building where Mr. Jenkins would not be able to see it when he came out. They waited, no doubt full of smirks and giggles, until he came out, found no pick-up, and stood there dumbfounded, until they had laughed enough and let him in on the joke by honking their horn. I’m sure it would have been a lot more fun to be there in person, but it was also fun to watch them regale everyone with the details back at school.
And then I also remember one of the faculty Christmas gift-exchanges when counselor Linda Marr and I pulled off our own little caper when we teamed up to create this great poster that we were giving Mr. Jenkins’ wife Shari at the party. LInda found this great poster of this really hot guy in a skimpy bathing suit grinning and holding a sign that said “Will Work for Sex” and I had taken a picture of Mr. Jenkins’ face that we had enlarged, cut out, and positioned on the poster so that he now had the hot body holding the sign. Poor unsuspecting Shari opened the poster and then of course had no choice but to display it for all to see. That was fun. Bless Mr. Jenkins ‘heart, he always took these things with a grain of salt, and we always had a good time at work, which made it fun to get up in the mornings.
All of the pranks never got in the way of teaching the kids, either. In spite of all the jokes, he did run a smooth ship because he knew he could trust us to still get the job done. Just like the Sophie the sofa cat incident illustrates (“The Sofa Cat, March 7, 2010”), we knew if we took care of business, he would take it in stride and life would go on.
I remember the time that Linda Marr did a number on me. Historically one of our cafeteria’s best meals was always its turkey dinner at Thanksgiving and Christmas. This one year I actually had a student assistant for one period which happened to be the period right before lunch, so on one of those turkey meal days, I sent Josie to the cafeteria to get a tray for me. She did, and left it in the workroom at my usual place at the table. When the bell rang, I went to the workroom to enjoy my meal and the company of the other teachers who regularly ate there. Things were just fine until I bit down on a foreign object in my dressing and spit out a plastic cricket! Well, we all had a good laugh, I wondered how it got there, and continued eating. Up popped another one in the mashed potatoes! And then another under the slice of turkey! And I think by the time it was over, I counted five of the little critters. As you can see, I don’t let a little plastic keep me from enjoying a meal. Now I suspected the student aide had been bribed into being an accomplice, so later that day I cornered her in the hall, and despite her ducking, she ‘fessed up that Mrs. Marr had instructed her to bring my tray by her office so she could implant the insects. Those crickets lived in my desk drawer for several years and always brought a smile to my face. I have no idea what substitute teachers thought when they saw them nestled among the paper clips. After the substitutes jumped back in surprise from seeing bugs in my desk, I hope they, too, smiled.
We had been discussing the connotation of words in my junior English class, and it just so happened that McDonald’s had recently come to town. I asked if the kids thought of Muleshoe as a town or a city, and several in the class agreed we were a city. Really? I questioned them, and was informed very seriously by boy S that of course we were a city-we had a McDonald’s…
Then there was time when Al Bishop was the high school principal and the students were whining about the dress code or something else that kids tend to whine about as being grossly unfair. I think the issue in question was about wearing shorts, or the length of shorts, whatever. This prompted a discussion among the teachers about appropriate dress, and who knows what else at this point. Probably we were whining about being taken for granted, and it was decided we should turn the tables on the little darlin’s and have a shorts-for-teachers day. So we did. Most all the teachers did wear shorts on the appointed day, and those who didn’t at least went out of their typical dress zone and wore something much more casual. This was back in the days when it was easy to separate the students from the teachers based on what each group wore, so when prim and proper Mrs. Wrinkle showed up in capris, well, the kids didn’t know what to think. We thought it was great! We had fun that day.
And despite the mundane and frustrating days we also had, it is nice to be able to think back and laugh over stuff like this. Maybe all this reliving the past will jump start my memory, and I will remember a few more of the stories I failed to write down. I hope so.
To read more stories about adventures at school, go to www.aliceliles.com and type key words in the Search Line, like tales from school, Muleshoe High School, Mr. Jenkins, football, teachers’ names, and other things related to school.
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent