My mother held a variety of jobs when my brother and I were younger. She was a kindergarten librarian. Hmm. It never occurred to me, but how extensive a library does a kindergarten have? She was a payroll accountant for a general contracting office. Her commute to and from work was nearly three hours and she traveled with a huge sum of cash. Because of this fact she carried with her a .38 snubnose revolver loaded with hollow point bullets. I remember an older gentleman explaining to me how the hollow point bullets would result in the back of someone's head exploding. But only should she shoot the assailant in the face. Luckily she never had to shoot anyone, face or otherwise.
Of all her jobs, the one I held the most feeling for was my mother's years as an instructor for behavior-disordered middleschoolers.
I'm not sure what instructing was ever accomplished. All I remember of the job was her descriptions of how she spent the entire day wresting angry teenagers. Boys and girls, ages twelve to fifteen. All day long she wrestled kids who the system had forgotten, most of them residents of the Harpst Home Orphanage or mentally challenged kids.
It never struck me as odd. I saw it as an aspect of my mom's particular class room setting. These kids acted up in class, but instead of a pink slip, they got a headlock from my five foot four, one hundred and twenty pound mother.
I visited my mom's class once or twice. I remember how much darker the behavior-disorder's class was than the "regular" classrooms. Heavy drapes hid the sun. Everyone seemed to sit around and glower.
I secretly hoped one of them would go into a rage. Perhaps if I moved suddenly a beast-child would startle and my mom would be prompted to toss out a muthaload of mayhem. Alas, no. The kids (older than I was at the time) were totally polite and nothing happened.
And these were big-ass sixth graders! Some of them probably belonged in high school. At home, nursing a bruised leg or wrist, she'd talk about the physical aspects of her teaching job, and Andy and I would sit, a little concern buried inside, but ok with it. I thought it was kind of cool too. My mom could kick some ass.
Today, I wonder how much of the pain she hid from her young boys. Did the other instructors view her as the "rasslin" teacher? Was this the only thing available to a young, single mother with two sons to feed? I still wonder if she was ever hurt - like really hurt when those six foot tall men/boys went wild and started tossing books and pencils... and fists. Maybe I'll ask her about it someday.