You're One of those Vale boys.


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Thread: You're One of those Vale boys.

  1. #1

    You're One of those Vale boys.

    The town I grew up in Andover was an affluent town, I happen to live in what was considered the blue collar section and was often referred to as the wrong side of the tracks, last I knew average home price there was around the half a million dollar mark. It goes to show you that in a rich town they can look down their nose at anyone. Mr. Green who the story was written about is remembered well, I doubt in the best terms but a guy with tons of character.


    You’re one of those Vale boys by Bob Brown
    Mr. Green had a way with words, or at least words and phrases you could remember decades later. I doubt in today’s world of Politically Correct education there is another teacher out there like him. Algebra, that’s what he was supposed to be teaching back then, none of the math stuck, but some of his sayings and observations have.

    There are some things in life that make us all perk up and pay attention, dragging your fingernails down a blackboard, if it isn’t at the top of the list is pretty darn close. Lost in a haze of either boredom or teenage thoughts that morning the loud screeching sounds of Mr. Green’s finger nails made shivers go up and down my spine. He dragged them very slowly down the blackboard as if playing an instrument. The rest of the class responds in kind, we sit up and refocus our attentions to the man who could have passed, ‘if was a little shorter’ as a leprechaun dressed in a cheap suit, the tinge of red hair and classic Irish looks only added to the illusion. He gave out his trademark laugh, it could have been used by any comic book villain “Aun-Haaa!” done in a very sing song fashion. He never seemed to grow weary of doing this and I’m sure it brought him pure joy; the smile on his face really was a mirror to his soul. I have no idea where he came from or where he really lived, teachers never revealed that kind stuff to back then, but I am pretty sure it had to be somewhere near Marblehead Mass. As he frequently proclaimed when one of us less gifted in the mysteries of Jr. High math got a question correct, we were rewarded by the phrase “And the dawn comes over Marblehead.”

    On this particular day I was not going to be rewarded with the phrase. Surprised that he was actually asking ‘me’ a question. I had no idea what we were talking about that day or what secret code to the universe we were solving at that particular moment, the minutes remaining until the class ended were usually about as far as I got in doing actual math. Mr. Green not known for his patience or delicate forms of encouragement, lit into me with a barrage of remarks, either meant get me to step up and pay attention or shame me into what was often referred to back then as, “working to my potential.” There was no chance for me to reply, nor was any response required back then, we didn’t talk back to teachers. The diatribe ended with “You're just one of those Vale boys.” I had not really given much thought to where I had come from, not until that day anyway. I had always thought I lived in Andover. That morning while a teenager in the early 70s, I gained an identity that would follow me for the rest of my life. I am one of those Vale boys.
    God hates a coward Revelation 21:8

    “Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”

    Hidden Content ,

    To encourage and facilitate "me"

  2. #2
    Bob,

    An enjoyable character piece; you bring your teacher to life in just three paragraphs. I'm not familiar with "Vale boys" as a description - do they have something of a reputation?

    There were a few SPaG issues with the piece. Here are some suggested tweaks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Plasticweld View Post
    You’re one of those Vale boys by Bob Brown
    Mr. Green had a way with words, or at least words and phrases you could remember decades later. I doubt in today’s world of politically correct education there is another teacher out there like him. Algebra, that’s what he was supposed to be teaching back then. None of the math stuck, but some of his sayings and observations have.

    There are some things in life that make us all perk up and pay attention - dragging your fingernails down a blackboard, if it isn’t at the top of the list, is pretty darn close. Lost in a haze of either boredom or teenage thoughts that morning, the loud screeching sounds of Mr. Green’s finger nails made shivers go up and down my spine. He dragged them very slowly down the blackboard as if playing an instrument. The rest of the class responded in kind - we sat up and refocused our attention on the man who could have passed, ‘if he was a little shorter’ as a leprechaun dressed in a cheap suit; the tinge of red hair and classic Irish looks only added to the illusion. He gave out his trademark laugh, which could have been used by any comic book villain: “Aun-Haaa!” done in a very sing-song fashion. He never seemed to grow weary of doing this and I’m sure it brought him pure joy; the smile on his face really was a mirror to his soul. I have no idea where he came from or where he really lived, teachers never revealed that kind stuff to back then, but I am pretty sure it had to be somewhere near Marblehead Mass, as he frequently proclaimed when one of us less gifted in the mysteries of Jr. High math got a question correct, we were rewarded by the phrase “And the dawn comes over Marblehead.”

    On this particular day I was not going to be rewarded with the phrase. Surprised that he was actually asking me a question, I had no idea what we were talking about that day or what secret code to the universe we were solving at that particular moment; the minutes remaining until the class ended were usually about as far as I got in doing actual math. Mr. Green, not known for his patience or delicate forms of encouragement, lit into me with a barrage of remarks, either meant get me to step up and pay attention or shame me into what was often referred to back then as, “working to my potential.” There was no chance for me to reply, nor was any response required back then, we didn’t talk back to teachers. The diatribe ended with “You're just one of those Vale boys.” I had not really given much thought to where I had come from, not until that day anyway. I had always thought I lived in Andover. That morning, while a teenager in the early 70s, I gained an identity that would follow me for the rest of my life. I am one of those Vale boys.
    Other than one bit where you drop into present tense, it's mostly just punctuation choices. I'd suggest trying to find where the natural pauses are when reading it aloud - commas for short pauses, semicolons for slightly longer ones, etc.

    I hope that some of this has been helpful,

    HC
    My novels Hidden Content , Hidden Content and Hidden Content are available from Amazon

    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

    You can find me on Twitter: Hidden Content

  3. #3
    Thanks a ton for helping me out with that...:}
    God hates a coward Revelation 21:8

    “Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”

    Hidden Content ,

    To encourage and facilitate "me"

  4. #4
    I rather liked this. You showed an intimate reflection of one of your memories and I found it poignant and worthwhile.

    My one gripe was in one of your sentences: " teachers never revealed that kind stuff to back then,". I don't think this sentence works. Maybe you meant that teachers never revealed that kind of stuff back then but that's now how you wrote it. Probably just a typo or formatting error but I thought I would mention it.

    Thanks for sharing, it was a treat!

  5. #5
    Good catch you are 100 percent right about the sentence. I honestly have no idea how as a writer I can look at something I wrote... read it to myself as one thing when it says something completely different. I had read this back and forth a couple of times and never picked that up. I guess there is nothing better than a second set of eyes to read over your work. Thanks for the kind words and pointing out my mistake...Bob
    God hates a coward Revelation 21:8

    “Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”

    Hidden Content ,

    To encourage and facilitate "me"

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