Sammy the Snake Slid Silently Down the Seashore.


My Friend... Sammy the Snake.As students work their way through school, they must take many important classes.

An argument can be made that any one of the following are the most enlightening: Math, English, Science, the Fine Arts, Physical Education, Drivers Ed., or a Vocational class.

The list is almost endless.

I am hesitant to leave out other classes because there are so many that are vital to a well-rounded education.

Kindergarten is one. If you are in my age bracket it may have been offered for only half a day. In my case, you attended in the AM or PM, depending on what side of the tracks you lived.

I got started by going to the early morning version. My first experience in growing up on the wrong side of the tracks.

Just to be fair, they switched us after Christmas break (back in the old days we could still call it Christmas break).

Personally, my choice for the most important class isn’t that difficult.

At least it’s easy today; 35 years after the fact. As with so many things in life, I had no idea at the time that it was important.

The class was Speech (thankfully, recess and lunch don’t qualify as classes because this would have made my decision much more difficult). And I am not talking about the kind of speech class where I demonstrated how to bake brownies (they were both a huge hit and delicious).

I can’t remember exactly when I started Speech class or how long they made me go (by they, I mean evil administrators).

My best recollection is that it began in 1st grade and I had to attend for roughly 27.4 years.

At least it seemed that long. Could have been longer, but it’s hard to tell (I have slept since then).

You see, I hated Speech class.

Actually, hate is too strong of word. Actually, it isn’t. I hated it.

Not because of the teacher, loved her.

Not because of the work. I liked the challenge of saying my S’s correctly (hence, Sammy the Snake Slid Silently down the Seashore… aah, I remember it like it was yesterday).

It was the circumstances that I hated. Mostly, because they pulled me out of class at least twice a week.

I dreaded leaving class, not because other students made fun of me (they probably did, I just have a “selective” memory and again, I am a big sleeper), but because I missed coloring.

Yes, my one clear memory of Speech is that I got yanked out of class and everyone else fired up their crayons.

Seems like a small thing, but nonetheless quite painful for me.

In a way, I feel like part of my youth was taken away (okay, maybe a little dramatic… but you only get to color for a very short period of your life).

My appreciation for Speech came years later. After I had conquered my S’s (sort of… it’s still a daily battle) and a slight stuttering problem (although oddly enough, I never stuttered while on the phone).

Now, all that is left are my memories of Speech. And an inability to color inside the lines.

Every so often, I think about my time spent in Speech class.

Usually the memories are good ones. I am appreciative of the skills I learned when I have to talk in front of a large group of people. And I am also thankful that I am now in a position to recommend students for speech services. This comes in handy when I run into a 1st grader whom I can’t understand.

But most of all, I think about those years of speech when I walk by a classroom and see students who are incredibly happy because they are…. coloring. And this makes me jealous.

But then I remember Sammy the Snake. And Mrs. Davis my Speech Teacher.

I guess the lesson here is that sometimes you just don’t realize the importance of a class or a teacher until later in life.

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