Sunday, December 03, 2006

Brown Tommy

As I'm looking through all these old emails (I decided it was silly to have six different email accounts so I'm going to get rid of the hotmail one; cleaning it out), I keep finding great stories from previous years at school. This is one of my favorites.

There was this kid, "Tommy ." He was in my class in my first year, when I taught first grade, and also in my third grade class two years later. Although having a really really hard life which included an alcoholic mother, no father, an extremely abusive stepfather, and eventually getting taken away from his mother and stepfather because of this, he somehow retained some innocence. He would tell jokes like this:

Tommy: "How many space boots did the cow have?"

Me: "I don't know, how many space boots?"

Tommy : (laughing hysterically) "Five: one for each foot and one for its tail!"

Me: "Tommy, did you make that one up yourself?"

Tommy : (proudly) "How did you guess?"

Anyway, when it came time for standardized testing, I told the kids that they were going to look at their test books and make sure that they had the correct book. I also said that their names would be written in a different format: Last Name, First Name. Tommy - who is a very intelligent boy - was apparently not listening because when he got his test, he yelled, "Teacher, how they knew my color?!?"

Tommy is black. Actually, a sort of medium light brown. His last name also happened to be Brown. (Not too worried about putting that on the blog because his first name is changed and there are plenty of Browns out there). His test said: "Brown, Tommy" and Tommy thought it was the adjective describing him. He was surprised that the other kids didn't have things like "Light Skinded Lily" and "Dark Brown Frankie."

He was one of my favorites. He'd be about 13 by now and I really hope he's OK.

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