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Why is it that some things stick around and clutter up your brain, and other things that you would love to remember in clear detail get all fuzzy?

For instance, stupid things teachers have said to you. That you think of all the time.

1. I was driving to work on Monday and listening to Fresh Air* and one of the interviewees was named Rachel, which reminded me of this story I wrote about a girl named Rachel. Now, both of these Rachels, on Fresh Air and in my story, happened to be Christian. Nothing weird about that, right? You wouldn’t be shocked to learn that someone named Rachel was Christian? But the teacher whose class I wrote the story for? She’s Jewish. And she said, in a comment on my story, that maybe I should change the character’s name because “Rachel” sounds more Jewish than Christian. Um, hi? A) I can name her whatever I want. B) Are you crazy? Yes, it’s a Jewish name, but, and correct me here if I’m wrong, the Christian tradition came out of the Jewish tradition. We stole your names. Live with it.

2. When I was in 6th grade with the aforementioned Mrs. Neuville, it was the first time I’d ever been in a traditional classroom. Before that I was in a Waldorf-y school and then homeschooled. And Mrs. Neuville forever tainted my impression of her in the following incident. We had to write a book report. I thought this was pretty exciting. So I reread Anne of Green Gables and wrote my little report. You know how Anne lives in an orphan asylum before she’s adopted? I mentioned that in my report. I used the word “asylum.” And Mrs. Neuville marked me down because she didn’t think “asylum” was the right word. I was flabbergasted. If it had happened later in my school career, I totally would’ve stood up to her. But I think I was in shock. That was the word that LM Montgomery, the author, used. I, the reader, was only writing a book report.

Why oh why do I hold onto these things? They make me laugh, sure, but really, I’d rather have better memories of say, anything else.

*Listen for worst explanation ever of living ‘in the world but not of it.’ Not like I would do any better if I were on national radio, but still. It was pretty lame and she just talked about ‘in the world’ – there was no ‘not of it’ discussion which I thought was pretty lame.

May 2005

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