If we look at our pattern of experience, there is always something(s) that make us wonder how we got into the situation. I was in 10th Grade, (First time) and I was less than athletic to say the least. This was a public high school that happened to be all girls. The other public high school was all boys and the drop out rate was stratospheric! Across the street from my high school was a catholic high school, St. Mary's. It sat caddy corner to Battin. They had real, live BOYS as well as girls in that school and our outdoor athletic field,,,(Empty lot) sat directly across from it. My gym teacher was older than dirt! I knew this because she had taught my Mom and my Mom had me when she was 32. Ancient of Days she was, Miss Gates, and meaner than a scorpion with a bad hairdo. (which she resembled). My maiden name began with a "V" so I was lucky enough to be in the back row with the Zimmermans, the Youngs and a Zotarelli. This is called keeping a low profile.

Miss Gates was as blind as a bat and couldn't see to the back row. (Yee-HAH!) One day we went out to the 'Athletic Field' to play softball. She had a method of picking the teams and because it was a large class, there would be a line of people waiting to bat. I was at the end of this line because I kept stepping behind who ever came in back of me. Once I was behind Zotarelli, I knew Alindos was willing to change places with me and so on throughout the alphabet. I guess I was a sort of Non-Mascot.

We were all wearing these horrible gym suits that were royal blue and looked like rompers. They were designed to make us all look like large, blue flesh bags. Even the catholic school had nicer gym suits than we did. (Their's had skirts at least.) The day arrived when, for some reason I will never know, Miss Gates decided to stand in back of the group. She spotted me doing my do-si-do with Arlene Bennett and promptly blew the supersonic whistle! Grabbing me by the collar, she marched me to home plate and slapped the bat into my hands.

"OK, you little sneak, let's see you make believe that you're Babe Ruth!" I had been making believe that I was Kim Novak for the past 2 weeks so this was a rough transition for me.

"Oh Well..." thinks I, "I'll just swing and miss and maybe she'll leave me alone for a while."

The pitcher was one of these girls that looked like she would be at home working as a longshoreman and even her underhanded pitches were scary! As she threw the ball at me, I visualized Miss Gates head.........I swung that bat! AND "OH NO YOU DIDN'T!"

OH YES, I SURE DID!!!! It sailed across the street and busted a window on the third floor hallway of St. Mary's.

Miss Gates never chased me from the end of the line again, and I never picked up a bat again.

SWAMPETTA (Swampetta@aol.com)




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