Sorry Mrs. Pilla
By Lolae Joline Lambert
Mrs. Pilla was my teacher in High School. She was an excellent teacher, with a strange habit of treating the class to outbursts of Opera, if she needed our attention or to get us to cooperate. She was an accomplished Opera singer and the method was effective while injecting a degree of culture into the minds of students usually thinking about fast cars, Friday nights, Drive In Theatres, Roller Skating, Sock Hops, clothing, football games, romance, and the rumors of the day. I enjoyed her class, and I might have even learned a thing or two. One lesson I learned was not only life changing, but still bothers me to this day. As I have never had the opportunity to tell her directly of my transgression, this apology is long overdue.
It all started with an assignment. We were to read “Les Miserables” each night and discuss it the next day until the book was completed. That was my first transgression. I did not read the book. I read the first and last chapter and then listened each day and took a few notes. I had learned long ago that assignments like this were open to interpretation and the instructor’s interpretation is what he or she wanted fed back to them via all varying types of tests.Therefore, it was easy. No work really involved except to pay attention in class. I was very attentive!
Weeks later it was time for the test. Most tests usually consisted of fill in the blanks, matching, or true and false; all easy to guess. However, this time I became familiar with my first one question test, something in college I encountered often. For this day, the test question was. Tell me the main theme of the novel and how did the author proceed in making that theme work around the history of the time? What a question!
Luckily I was prepared and we could even use our notes. This seemed funny to me at the time because most students didn’t take notes. So, I began to weave the information Mrs. Pilla had planted in my brain into my words and hand in what was I thought at least a presentable critique given I still had not read the book.
The next day in class, it was evident Mrs. Pilla was not as they like to say today a happy camper. The students had not done so well on the test with one exception. Mrs. Pillla announced to the class that there obviously was only one person who actually read the book and that was me. I sat stunned. I knew that was not the truth, but in my defense, I was in shock. What was I to do? I thought about correcting her on the spot, but realized that was not a good idea. I told myself I would tell her after class, but I didn’t. I was determined to set the record straight, but days went on and life continued. I had my “A”, and was it so bad that I am good at listening? Soon, the entire event was forgotten. But inside I knew that I should have explained to her the truth and taken the consequences.
If only she had not said I was the only one who READ the book, it could have been over. If she had said I was the only one who did well on the test or paid attention to the discussions, it would have been easy to forget. No, she had to say actually read the book, the one thing I knew I did not do.
There are all kinds of lessons in life. Yet, this one had an impact that still vibrates within me to this day. What are the lessons? Do the assignment. If you are supposed to read something, read it. If you need to make something right do it immediately. Time will only prohibit the process. Know that lessons don’t have to be earth shattering to be important. Make the apology. You will sleep better.
There is a post script to this story. In the end Mrs. Pilla without knowing it made this story an obsession of mine. I have since read the book many times. I have learned much about the world through the pages of the novel. I own the musical tape and when I play it as I do often; I hear the lessons of the novel in the songs. Many of my ideas and thoughts stem from the themes within the story.
No Mrs. Pilla I did not read the book for that test and I am sorry. I apologize for not doing the assignment and for not owning up to it, allowing you to think I worked very hard for the grade and to my fellow students, who may have worked harder, especially since most of them probably, did do the assignment. But, if it is any consolation at all, I may have read the novel more times than anyone else from the class and understand the themes better. I have finally earned that “A”.
About the Author
Lolae Joline Lambert resides in a quaint village in Southern New Jersey. Always looking for new adventures, she is entrepreneurial by nature. Her careers have included real estate sales, real estate investing, and property management. She was Director of a Christian Preschool, and is currently a Substitute Teacher. Writing has been her life long love. For Speaking Engagements and Book Signings, please contact the Author at email@example.com. For more information, visit her website, http://www.lolaejolinelambert.com.