A story about Alvin Kelby.
MY MOM PASSED AWAY
IN THE SUMMER I TURNED SIX
Write that down.
Alvin, what's the point?
(Thomas writes in his notebook.)
Alvin's Mom passed away in the summer he turned six.
AND LEFT A SINGLE FATHER AND HIS SON.
BUT DAD HAD THE BOOKSTORE
WITH A LEAKY ROOF TO FIX.
SO I WAS ON MY OWN
FACING THE UNKNOWN,
THE TERRIFYING PROSPECT OF GRADE ONE.
BUT AT THE TIME HOW WAS I TO SEE
A KIND AND GENTLE SOUL WAS WAITING THERE FOR ME?
MRS. REMINGTON, OUR FIRST GRADE TEACHER
MADE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL A BETTER PLACE.
BUT HER SINGLE MOST DISTURBING FEATURE
WAS THE COARSE BLACK HAIR ON HER FACE.
MAYBE SHE WAS MENOPAUSAL.
LACK OF ESTROGEN WILL CAUSE
A LOT OF ODD CONDITIONS,
THE IRONY WOULD NEVER FAZE HER
NAMESAKE OF A FAMOUS RAZOR.
AND TO BE SO FACIALLY HIRSUTE.
BUT MRS. REMINGTON SMILED
AND SHE WOULD BRIGHTEN MY DAY.
BACK THEN A TEACHER HUGGED YOU
TO MAKE YOU FEEL OKAY.
THOUGH MY FACE SORTA STUNG
FROM MRS. REMINGTON’S BEARD,
WHEN SHE HELD ME, MY PROBLEMS DISAPPEARED.
MRS. LYNCH WAS AN IGNORAMUS,
MR. POLLACK WAS JUST PLAIN MEAN.
MRS. REMINGTON WAS NEARLY FAMOUS
FOR HER PARTIES AT HALLOWEEN.
PUMPKIN HEADS OF EVERY SHAPE
WERE CUT OUT OF CONSTRUCTION PAPER.
EACH AND EVERY ONE WOULD BE DISPLAYED.
THE HIGHLIGHT FOR THE CHILDREN WAS
TO MAKE A REALLY SPECIAL COSTUME
FOR THE YEARLY HALLOWEEN PARADE.
MRS. REMINGTON SMILED
AND SHE WAS CLEARLY CONTENT
AS SHE LOVINGLY PRESIDED
OVER THIS, THE MAIN EVENT.
SO WE’D NERVOUSLY WALK
PAST HER CRITICAL EYES
AND WE’D VIE FOR MRS. REMINGTON’S TOP PRIZE.
There was this one kid wearing cardboard wings,
a coat hanger halo, carrying a bell and a homemade book that said Tom Sawyer.
Nobody had a clue what he was supposed to be.
ALVIN Except me.
(Alvin becomes his younger self.)
Oh, oh, oh, Mrs. Remington!
Pamela Koshan thought he was the Statue of Liberty.
Mrs. Remington, I know!
Donnie Carter thought he was a Thanksgiving turkey.
Mrs. Remington, I know. He’s Clarence.
The angel from It’s A Wonderful Life. He was my mother’s favorite.
The class laughed.
I cried. And Mrs. Remington announced that I was next.
BUT MRS. REMINGTON SMILED
IN THAT WAY THAT SHE HAD.
A SMILE THAT MADE YOU REALIZE
THAT THINGS WERE NOT SO BAD.
AND I KNEW FROM HER FACE
THAT THIS FEELING WOULD PASS.
SO I WENT TO TAKE MY TURN BEFORE THE CLASS.
Those poor kids were still trying to figure out who the heck Clarence was...
... when I shuffled onto the platform in fuzzy slippers and bathrobe,
with pink sponge curlers in my hair.
"Alvin Kelby," Mrs. Remington said, "And what are you supposed to be?"
I’m a ghost. The ghost of my mother.
LUNCH THAT DAY WAS AWFUL LONELY
SITTING BY MYSELF AND ONLY
WEARING FUZZY SLIPPERS AND CHENILLE.
WHILE ALL THE KIDS WERE MAKING FUN
IN CAME MRS. REMINGTON
WITH CLARENCE DRAGGING SLOWLY ON HER HEEL.
"Clarence," she said, "I’d like you to meet Mrs. Kelby. She’s a big fan of yours."
AND MRS. REMINGTON SMILED
‘CAUSE MRS. REMINGTON KNEW
THAT THE BATTLEFIELD OF CHILDHOOD
WAS EASIER WITH TWO.
MRS. REMINGTON WATCHED,
AS THE ANGELS DO,
AND ON HALLOWEEN THAT YEAR
SHE SAW TWO MASKS DISAPPEAR
WHEN MY MOTHER MET HER ANGEL
AND I MET YOU.