A Mushrrom Saga (Part 2 of 3)

Union Elementary School, Utah 1957 — It’s my first month in the first grade. I enjoy nap time, but recess is grand as there is just so much to explore on the school baseball fields and nearby irrigation canals. During one of my first recesses, I spy some Meadow Mushrooms sprouting beneath the old wooden bleachers. Alas, I have neither trowel nor basket, so I dig them out with a stick and use my baseball cap as a makeshift basket. The other kids, watch me dig and soon a crowd of older kids is around telling me to throw those Toadstools” away, as they’ll kill you. “Oh baloney,” I say, “these are yummy. Come on, I’ll take them to show Mrs. Jacobsen, my new first-grade teacher. She’ll tell you to just look for the pink gills.” Soon some of my buddies are digging up mushrooms too. The older kids were dubious, but we first-graders were so proud!

Bad move. Mrs. Jacobsen was horrified at the capful of Meadow Mushrooms we had so proudly placed on her desk after recess. “These are POISONOUS TOADSTOOLS,” she declared and summarily tossed them in the trash can, and called for the janitor to take them away. I was humiliated, and began to cry.

Later, I remember tearfully telling my Mom, what had happened after recess. She just chuckled, and said: “… sometimes even our teachers are wrong. Nobody knows everything about everything. I am proud of you, but do not to pick mushrooms at school anymore—it will just upset everyone again.”

At six years old, this first-grader was learning to distrust authority figures.

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