posted by BoneyM
Mark Twain elementary was run by women teachers. There were no male teachers. This was made possible by the principle Miss Wiggims who was was a bitter and angry lesbian and who only hired tough women. Miss Wiggims was really something. She stood 6 feet tall and 180 pounds with broad shoulders and big strong arms. Even today, I don't think any man would have wanted to mess with her. She carried herself in a violent male physical manner like she was going to take your head off. And she had a temper that could be set off from the most minor thing. Everyone feared her. I used to hear her yell at students in her office in the most angry manner imagineable and I heard from her office in the hallway how she used to take some of the male students that misbehaved and shake them violently. I know she would have preferred to beat the hell out of them. When she walked down the hallway, it wasn't normal. With each step she slammed her high-healed shoes on the marble hallway so hard you could hear her a mile away and you always knew when she was coming. Those pounding high heals at that fast pace, first silent then louder and louder as she got closer to your classroom. You knew trouble was coming or she wouldn't be going there. And everyone knew it too. Everyone would become mouse-like quiet and listen to those steps as they got nearer and hope to God she wasn't coming to your classroom.
There would be punishment for misbehavior. Typical that I remember was that you would be benched at recess and lunchtime for two weeks. That meant that you had to sit on the bench during those times. If you tried to cut it short, not completing the two weeks on the bench, then you would get another two weeks for it. Some people actually got away with it but many others didn't.
Basically, the principle and the teachers at that school were real bitches. And it was nice to finally get out of Mark Twain. Giannini was no picnic either. It was a pain in the ass with their drill-sargeant gym teachers who ran the school like bootcamp. Education in those days was conducted by force. It was a miserable experience.
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The Western Neighborhoods Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.