…I would be married and pregnant six times by now.
Today, in class, I asked my students to write stories using the new vocabulary words we learned this week, in combination with other people’s names in class. One girl asked if she could use my name too, and I consented.
And wow. The stories. In one of the stories, I ended up wanting to be an entrepreneur and own my own car mechanic shop, where I meet Dennis and we end up getting married and having triplets. In the other story, I already have three kids as a single mother, but then I meet Dennis, who has two kids of his own, and fall instantly in love with him and he proposes two seconds after we meet.
My students are obsessed with Dennis and with me marrying Dennis. (And Dennis, if you are reading this, take a deep breath, don’t freak out, this is just the way 12-year-olds think.) Everyday I hear: “Ms. C, are you and Dennis going to get married?” “Ms. C, you’re going to get married to Dennis.” “Ms. C, Dennis should cut his hair.” “Ms. C, when are we going to meet Dennis?” “Ms. C, you should tell your boyfriend that he should propose to you.” “Ms. C, does Dennis know you are going to have six children together?” “Can we have Dennis’ e-mail address so we can tell him to marry you?” (Dennis, don’t worry.)
All day long.
I put pictures of him and his family up on the file cabinet in my classroom next to my desk, so everyday my students crowd around my desk and gawk. They still ask the same questions, even though the pictures haven’t changed: Who’s that? Did Dennis cut his hair in that one? He looks like a hippie. He looks better with long hair. He should wear his hair up. He should wear his hair down. Is he holding a beer? Is he drunk?
I wonder why they are so fascinated with me and Dennis as a couple, and I am trying to remember if I ever held the same fascination in my own teachers’ relationships. Then again, I didn’t ever have any young teachers, dare I say that about myself, and so I think most of my teachers were married with kids already. I think I always thought my teachers just lived in the school and therefore unable to have any kind of life outside of the building.
It was similar in New Haven, too. My kids were always curious about who I spent my time with and where. They loved starting rumors about teachers in school there, and here too. I guess there are just certain truths about kids that transcend geographical borders: they have wild imaginations. And I’m glad for that because they certainly brightened my day. (And probably made Dennis choke and my mother squeal with glee.)