Post 31:
“Troublemaker”

Post 31: “Troublemaker”

From 13-Year-Old Anne’s Journal —

December 10, 1982 – GOOD

“A new teacher came named Mr. Applewood. He accused Laura of everything. Then Willie spilled his bag & he blames her. Pa walked in & yelled at him. Later the school board fires him & Miss Beadle comes back.”

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From Anne —

Ah, Hannibal “Crabby” Applewood.  His face looks like a piece of rotted tree bark.  But his voice!  A deep timbre, a sophisticated way with vowels, a mellifluous diction.  This actor, Richard Basehart, starred in Fellini’s  La Strada (1954)Then again, he was also on The Love Boat.

My journal statement is definitely accurate: he conveniently accuses Laura of everything, no proof in sight.  And she does a poor job defending herself.

What’s most fun is Mr. Applewood’s descent into a foam-at-the-mouth fury that’s so biblical he ends up firing himself.  It’s really perfectly done.

Reminds me of a time I got in trouble at school, about a year before this journal was written. A class-clown classmate made me laugh … and I couldn’t stop. The teacher tried to spank me with a yardstick — but it didn’t hurt at all. She had less classroom control than Miss Beadle.  (But she was a good teacher who encouraged my writing – thanks, Mrs. Wilson).

Tracy: Did you ever get busted in school?

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From Tracy —

Yes I did get busted at school. But more on that later. First I want to point out that everyone was on Loveboat. That’s what made it great! So you can hardly be considered to be a has-been for having been on that show. I agree with Anne that Mr. Baseheart acted his Shakespearian butt off for LHOP. He practically gnaws on the blackboard.

Now then, there are some of you who are probably still reeling from Anne’s tale of being wacked with a yardstick … in the 1970s instead of the 1870s. Yes kids, corporal punishment was alive and well in the public schools then and varied widely from state to state. Get ready for the irony — in Indiana prisoners made the paddles in their workshops right along with the license plates.

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But back to the W.G. This episode was incredibly important to me at the time because before I saw it I was falsely accused at school and got paddled for it. So it was nice to know that Laura could have it happen to her. Misery loves company. Of course in all fairness I must mention the only other time I got paddled was for something I did do. Strangely both incidents involved hats, gloves and scarfs.

Here’s the false accusation story as I remember it: I was on my way to the bathroom by myself in the second grade and this substitute teacher I’d never seen before told me to straighten up the coat closet in the hallway. I tried to explain that I was in class but she got mad and told me to do it. So I did. It was a disaster area and I was just starting to make headway when my teacher came looking for me. She started yelling at me and asking me why I wasn’t back in class. Once again I tried to explain but she marched me back and when class was over I got paddled good. Like Anne I remember I was surprised it didn’t hurt that much. What hurt was the humiliation of it and waiting for the paddling. That was torture. And oh yeah, I was falsely accused. Shortly after that my mother marched into the principal’s office and told him that he needed to get control of his pregnant and hormonally crazy teachers. I was so proud of her. It was almost as good as Pa coming in and busting Hannibal Lecter just as he’s about to lay into Laura.

The other incident I got in trouble for? Well, a bully started throwing his hat and gloves, etc. at me at the end of class. I had always ignored him but not on that day. I threw his stuff back at him with gusto and then we both started going full tilt grabbing other kids’ gear, throwing it, running all over the classroom and giggling like wild monkeys. The teacher caught us and we were paddled. In a way it was worth it.

Hmmm. Was it ever not winter when I was growing up? It seems like most of my memories involve snow on the ground. Brrrrr.

But Spring is officially here now as of March 20. Thank the Gods. It has been a long, hard winter.

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