As most of you know, I spend a lot of time these days just loafing, drinking coffee, and visiting with friends. Frequently I also visit with travelers and am eager to share some of our history with them.
Last week, I spoke to some visitors as I passed their table on my way to my usual place at Del’s. Later, they were looking at items in the gift shop and were asking questions about our area.
As we talked, I mentioned that I had taught here in the past, and the woman said she knew I was a teacher when I entered the restaurant because of the way I walked and the way I stood.
Her remarks sort of surprised me because I had not thought of those features as identifying marks for teachers. Of course, I took her comments as a compliment because I am still very proud to be a teacher. I then began to try to figure out what she meant by my walking and my stance. Because I have known several hundred teachers, I tried to compare a few of us to see if I could remember such similarities and came up blank.
In the past, we might have been identified by the way we dressed or the way we talked, but I always felt that most of us were individuals with our own habits. Of course, as kids, we used to say we could identify teachers by the shoes they wore because in those days, many of the women wore shoes with Roman heels and shoe laces. We dubbed those as school teacher shoes and might not have been very complimentary when describing them.
As to the way I walk, I recall one of my mentors mentioning her surprise that I took rather short steps and walked a bit slowly. I hadn’t paid any attention to that other than to recall Dad used to tell me to hurry, at which times I would usually slow down a bit more just to cause some impatience. I also remember watching some people who took exceedingly long steps and thinking that must be tiring for them.
As to stance, I can’t figure what she found in mine to tag me as a teacher. Grandmother lectured me from my earliest years to stand straight and to sit up at the table. I have tried to follow her directions about standing straight. Many of the teachers I have known have also stood up straight, but so have most of the other people I have been around. Of course, both Dad and Grandmother would get after me these days because I walk even more slowly and don’t always stand as straight as I once did.
I have been thinking about the teachers I know here in town and can’t see that any of them could be identified by their stance or their way of walking. I just wonder where the traveler got the idea of identifying us as she did. She obviously had a reason and whatever it was, it worked in this case.
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.