FORGIVING MY TEACHER FROM BYGONE DAYS NULL

I am a happily married 45 year old father of two. I have been living in the US since 1992. I grew up on the island of Jamaica. Back in September 1979 I entered Grade 5 at a primary school in rural Jamaica where I had a very strict class teacher named Ms. Cynthia Lawson. In Jamaican schools corporal punishment is still the chief means by which teachers discipline their young charges. Ms. Lawson kept her cane (rod of discipline dangling from the blackboard). I first became acquainted with it one Thursday afternoon when I forgot to do do some math homework which Ms. Lawson had given the prior day. I received six cane-strokes on the palms of my hands. From this day in September 1979 to early December 1979 I felt the cane on numerous occasions resulting from chatting in class, incomplete or no homework or inability to answer oral quiz questions. Then I would get it on my hands or on my legs. Christmas vacation came and during the holidays I began gorging down vast amounts of food. My 11th birthday came in January 1980 and I would eat six very large meals a day, so that by February I came to look like a young Sumo wrestler. By May of 1980 I had a supremely gigantic belly which extended 18 inches out from the front of my pants. Even when given the largest available shirts, I could only fasten the buttons by my chest, and went to school with my belly exposed.

One Wednesday late morning Ms. Lawson gave a Math test which I found quite easy. My beautiful female classmate sitting behind me was clueless, however, and kept asking me to give her the answers. I relented and wrote the answers on a small scrap of paper and tried slipping it to her. Ms. Lawson caught me in tha act and called up the girl and me. Ms. Lawson explained our infraction to the class then reached for her cane. First she gave me six strokes across my back then ordered me to turn around. Then she gave me six strokes on my belly. She then caned the girl on her legs. Another day I was caught shooting the breeze and got six strokes across my belly. Another afternoon I got back to class 15 minutes after the end of lunch-break and Ms.Lawson gave me ten very hard strokes on the belly leaving bruises. She stuck the tip of the cane into my navel and issued a stern warning about my coming in late again.Just about everybody in Ms. Lawson's class made straight A's. If our grades started to slip the cane would be flayed violently across the classroom leaving bruises and welts on your skin. The welts and bruises on my skin turned into ugly black scars, and I had a lot of these on the front of my belly. My parents asserted that the scars were proof that Ms. Lawson was doing her job well. I, however, hated Ms. Lawson for the pain she was inflicting upon me.
After school I would go into the bakery-store to buy an assortment cakes daily. The proprietor, a German lady, saw the scars on my belly and was horrified. The adults in the neighborhood were not.
Over the ensuing years I slimmed down but I always maintained a desire to enact vengeance against Ms. Lawson. I entered University in 1987 and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry in 1991. I came to the US in 1992, got married, returned to school for my Masters, then later my PhD. As a college professor I realize how under-appreciated teachers are.
In June of 2012 I decided to visit my cousins in Jamaica. I was at an upscale restaurant when I met Ms. Lawson for the first time in 32 years! The passage of time had left her much seasoned looking with gray hair. She was struck by my current appearance. Her last image of me had been a fat, pudgy-faced kid with an enormous belly. We hugged each other and I officially, tacitly forgave her. I offered her a Miami vacation in which she could stay at my house. She accepted and I paid her airfare. She spent three convivial days with my family and me, then returned home. .

Submitted by Anonymous


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