Slide Show Day Ends

The end of the saga of my foreign language education…

Slide show day wasn’t nearly as exciting for me as it was for the teacher or the rest of the class. My class mates were getting a day where they didn’t have to work on conjugating Italian verbs. The teacher was finally going to lose her nemesis – me

She would throw me out and have me suspended. I’d never been thrown out of anything. Now it was inevitable. Suspension meant I would not be attending my graduation. The worst part of the situation was that it was all over something I didn’t do.

If Stress Makes You Look Older, I Probably Looked Twenty.

USS Buckley (DE-51)

USS Buckley. Not named for the teacher. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The strain of the situation was visible on me.

As I walked out of Buckley’s class to head to Italian he called me over and asked me what was wrong. If I had to quote him, I think he actually asked what the hell was wrong with me and if I’d gotten dumped again. He shook his head while I told him what was wrong.

The bell rang and he told me he’d write me a note that he’d delayed me. Note in hand, I walked toward my fate. My stride must’ve communicated that my issue was not resolved. The coach called me back to him. I emphasized that there was no doubt the Italian teacher would have me suspended from school for something I did not do and that being late to class was not a defense the year before.

Mr. Buckley went into his room and returned a few moments later. “Go to class, give her the late note”, he said. Then he handed me an envelope. “Once you are in class, if she tries to throw you out for something you truly haven’t done, give her this note. I’m trusting you. If you don’t have to give her the envelope, I want it back, unopened.”

Excuse Me, While I Whip This Out

English: Swiss Guard, Vatican.

English: Swiss Guard, Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was an upside down picture of a Vatican Guard on the screen when I entered the room. They’d done it again. The look in her eye said that her prime suspect had walked in. She took the note and snarled “sit”.

A few upside down slides later, she pointed at me and said “get out. I’ll see you in the office after class for your suspension.” I gathered my books and handed her the envelope on my way out. I was halfway down the hall when I heard her call my name.

“Get in here, sit, and don’t you say a word.”

I didn’t speak a word of Italian or English in that class room for the last month of the school year. Maybe you read that and thought I was just quiet. That’s not true. I mean exactly what the words say. Not a word passed my lips for a month in that class.

Before the day ended, I stopped by Mr. Buckley’s classroom. I told him about getting thrown out of class and being called back. He smiled and said “thanks for telling me, I’ll handle it.” I had to ask what the note in the envelope said. He just smiled and said “thanks for telling me, I’ll handle it.” Even seventeen year old me knew it was time to stop asking.

The threats to have me suspended stopped. I graduated with enough foreign language credits to get me in to college. As a matter of fact I got a B in Italian. It was my only grade above a hard-earned C in three years.

What Does A B Passing High School Italian Get You?

Do you know that when Italians pronounce the letter B just as we do in English? I do. Don’t let that passing grade fool you. Like the rest of the students in that class, I can’t speak Italian. Couldn’t then, can’t now.

On the positive side of this, if you were to show me upside down pictures of tourist sites of Rome, I could identify at least seven out of ten. So I’ve got that going for me.

I’ve heard of people making lists of the ten people, dead or alive, that they’d invite to a dinner party. If I ever had that sort of dream party, Mr. Buckley would be on the guest list. I’d ask him one more time what the note in the envelope said and be grateful for whatever the answer was, even if it was the same as it was in the spring of 1979. I’d say thank you.

Thanks Buck.


28 Comments on “Slide Show Day Ends”

  1. T E Stazyk says:

    You mean we’re not going to find out what was in that letter?

  2. Laura says:

    No. I’m sorry. This is unacceptable. You have to find out, somehow.

  3. “My Darling Contessa,

    It has not been Blurt who has been putting the slides in upside down, it has been me, Buckley. Somehow in my mind I imagined you asking for my help with the slide projector and then, in my fantasy-mind, one thing would lead to another and I would finally be abe to tell you how I feel about you. I started doing the thing with the slides last year, and I guess it has gone out of control. Please do not take out your anger on Blurt, he’s innocent.

    If you are considering taking any action against me, please think twice. I know about the Fiat and the whole incident with the shop teacher. While I have already forgiven you for those wanton acts, I’m not sure the administration would share my compassionate views.



  4. Betty says:

    Did you go to a catholic high school? By the actions of Mrs Italiano, it certainly sounds like it.

  5. Wendy says:

    So we have to guess the contents? Okay, here goes…
    A $50 bill? A copy of a compromising photo? A promise to expose her doctored credentials? A confession that he was the culprit?

    • omawarisan says:

      It must have been big, whatever it was. The reaction was instant.

      Thinking of her in a compromising position makes me throw up in my mouth. Not just a little. Continuously. Like Monty Python’s Mr. Creosote projectile vomiting.

  6. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Wow. Your high school was far more interesting than mine. Mr. Buckley was an angel, or just a guy with a lot of dirt on Mrs. Italiano. And no one else ever confessed to turning the slides upside down?

  7. Michelle Gillies says:

    Everyone needs a Mr. Buckley in their life. Unfortunately, we get way to many of the “Italian Teacher” type.

  8. Linda Sand says:

    Maybe it’s language teachers in general. My classmates called our high school Spanish teacher “The SOB with the PhD.” He taught us to memorize but not to speak. I transferred schools in the middle of my second year of Spanish and got a teacher who actually taught the language. Since I hadn’t learned to speak it before, I got sent back to Spanish 1 again. I passes Spanish 1 twice and got credit for both.

  9. Oh, my gosh! I want to see what the note said! I do wonder if he had some dirt on her, or if she had a thing for him…

  10. Debbie says:

    Loved your story, even if it doesn’t satisfy my curiosity over what was in Buck’s note! Just goes to show how little we knew of our teachers back then — and how even time hasn’t remedied that situation! Glad you passed, though, and got to your graduation.

    • omawarisan says:

      I’m glad too. I can’t imagine having to explain to my grandfather, no you can’t come to my graduation, see, there was this slide show stunt, but I didnt do it.

  11. List of X says:

    I don’t know what was the note said, but I bet it was upside down 🙂

    • omawarisan says:

      a lot of people think it was an admission. I hadn’t thought about that possibility. I like the theory in the last post that she did it…because I don’t like her.

  12. Blogdramedy says:

    So I guess you’re coming with me to Italy in April. Pack light.

  13. Bucky may have witnessed behavior that was inappropriate for a teacher and was willing to share. Or maybe he promised her coveted tickets to some event she wanted to attend. Kind of mean of the other kid to keep turning slides when it became clear the threat of suspension was hanging over your head. Now that you are trained in law enforcement work perhaps you can use your finely honed skills at your next reunion to add a third part to this story. . .whodunit?

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