Tonight has been rearranging night, I have moved a bunch of stuff around in the living room, putting candle holders where I actually want them, instead of where I dumped them to get them put up. My candle holders of choice are various black iron ones, I’m on the hunt for a set of black iron taper holders, next. I need those for my favorite shelf to look right.

Right now, I have a Circle E “Pineapple Sage” burning beside me, it smells much more like pineapple than anything else and actually reminds me of the pineapple upside down cake they used to make in elementary school.

Now, they weren’t the greatest little pieces of cake, but they were made with real pineapple and pineapple juice. We always had it with tacos for some reason. A reason that I still do not understand as really, pineapple and tacos do not go together. They just don’t.

I remember sitting at the lunch table, a plastic tray in front of me, one taco shell, a small cup of cheese, a small cup of meat, and piles of lettuce as well. A cut up orange and a carton of milk rounded it out, along with the cake, of course. Lunch sucked from the fourth grade on, for me, as my fourth grade teacher decided that tormenting me for being fat (I was not, I was just a few pounds overweight at the time) and being poor (I was, what could I do about that.)

This teacher is the reason I gave up on school for years. I hated it. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the learning part, still do love to learn, the classes were good, access to so many books was fantastic, but, the teacher, well, she changed me.

One time I remember her calling me and another poor girl to the front of the class, right before lunch, to ask us how we could afford ice cream, but got free lunch. Now, if I am remembering correctly ice cream was 25 or 30 cents at the time. If we were lucky we got it once a week, and at this point my little brother was not in school, yet, so it was only three of us.

I tried to explain how my parents scraped together the small amount of change, you’re talking 75-90 cents for all three of us, once a week, just so we could have a treat. My parents worked so hard to take care of us, working menial jobs, for tiny wages, just to keep a roof over our heads, and electricity on in the house. When we moved to Virginia, for my Dad to find work, my Dad worked at a gas station for minimum wage. 3.35 an hour I believe it was.

My Mom worked in a pizza place, waitressing, around Dad’s schedule, again making waitress minimum. They did everything they could to keep us together and healthy, yet this bitch of a teacher treated me horribly for being poor. The other girl, T, was being raised by her Grandmother, and of course she had very little money. I don’t know how she feels, but it still affects me to this day.

It affects me to the point that I want to spend money we don’t have, to show that we are not poor, solely because I don’t want to feel like that little girl again. I fight myself to not shop for things we don’t need, as I know I am only shopping to make myself feel better.

I’m almost 37 years old and this still bothers me. This teacher is still around, I ran into her not too long ago, but did not speak. Luckily, she doesn’t teach anymore, so she cannot torment other poor children. It eats me up that it still gets to me, but knowing that it does makes me try even harder to be a better person. I never down someone for being poor. If someone asks me for a dollar, I try to give it to them, as I would rather be fooled a dozen times over, than let one person go hungry.

When approached by a young woman (and I most be approachable looking) I have given gas money to someone who asked. I have done these things because of that teacher, to spite her, actually, so maybe the torment and pain that she gave to fourth grade me was all worth it.