69 in the ’70s (or the Post That Makes My Mother Faint)

5 May

Mr. Parks was perhaps the coolest elementary teacher on the planet. Well over 6-feet-tall with that late 70s Ken-doll hair, he suspended a Superman mannequin from the ceiling of his room, had a pet tarantula who was allowed to leave the cage, and dressed like the Tooth Fairy on Halloween.

I of course, got the other sixth-grade teacher. I recall little about her, although my report card that year does note “Dawn is a smart student with real leadership potential who spends too much time socializing.”

This has been on every report card of my life, by the way. Also every employee review.

But it is not his pink tutu or tarantula that forever seared Mr. Parks into my mind.

No, that is reserved for the sixth grade sex-education discussion. Because our teacher, bespectacled and far more librarian than libertine, was *way* too timid to deal with such things, the  job fell to Mr. Parks. Both classes packed into his classroom to watch “the movie.”

Afterward, he told us we could write our questions anonymously, and send them to the front of the class, and he would answer them.

Now, I do not recall whether it was by pre-arranged plot, or we had reached some hormonal tipping point en masse. But I do know that every child in the portable who had a pencil turned in the same question.

I still remember Mr. Parks’ face as he opened question after question. First, raising his eyebrows. Then,  then looking resigned as the pile of papers stacked up.

Finally, he sighed.

“I see you all have the same question.”

He walked to the board, and drew this.

Illustration #1

Illustration #1

And explained calmly. “When two people are in love, of course they kiss like this.”

Then, he turned back to the board and drew again.

Illustration #69

Illustration #69

He turned back to us — still speaking calmly, but turning crimson.

“And sometimes, when people get married, they kiss like this. You can see it looks like a 6 and a 9. That’s why it’s called ’69’.”

The class was big-eyed and silent as that sank in. Mr. Parks continued.

He turned and erased the board, then faced us again.

“I know that’s not a very detailed explanation. But if you have any further questions, I will be happy to send a note home to your parents, and I will let them know you are all very curious.”

And with that, our sixth-grade sex education came to an end.

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13 Responses to “69 in the ’70s (or the Post That Makes My Mother Faint)”

  1. Elle May 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    LMAO! I know I couldn’t have remained that calm. He must have been awesome. hehe

  2. Toni May 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    Holy cow! That poor guy! I think he handled it pretty well for having little time to prepare. He answered the question without going into too much description.

  3. Eeyore May 5, 2009 at 4:26 pm #

    So THAT’S why…

  4. Doug May 5, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

    If you were my age, you would be proud of graduating from high school in 1969. Yes, we are the Class of 69. And, we’re planning our 40th reunion for this summer. 69…all the way.

  5. Tara P May 5, 2009 at 6:35 pm #

    That’s awesome! I literally laughed out loud when I saw the drawings!

  6. judymom May 5, 2009 at 7:34 pm #

    you waited til you were 5 and got your main education under our bed—but we caught you in timeithink.

  7. ingrid May 5, 2009 at 8:41 pm #

    My eyebrows still haven’t come down! Too funny! Really he did handle that rather well. Wouldn’t it be awesome to talk to him now and ask him what was going through his mind at the time? Besides, oh, s–t!
    ~ingrid

  8. Tami Lyn May 5, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    OMG-I just laughed so hard everyone in the lunchroom turned around and looked at me.

    That was a quick thinker, that teacher.

    I was in 9th grade and in a truck with 3 teenage boys. They mentioned it and I had no idea. So Fred was trying to explain it to me, kind of like the 6 and the 9 drawing. I’m still clueless and he said ‘the tail of six and the tail of the nine would be your feet-where the bubbles meet would be your va-jay jay and his whoohaa…..lightbulb!!

    My kids learned on the bus……..

  9. RJ Flamingo May 6, 2009 at 8:39 am #

    Hahahahaha! We wouldn’t have dared to ask anything even REMOTELY like that, in my Jewish parochial school in 6th grade! You definitely had the coolest teacher on the planet…

  10. Leah May 6, 2009 at 10:20 am #

    you got to hand it to him for even coming up with an answer.

  11. Becky May 6, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    *shudder, shudder*

    Man, I’m gonna have to have that talk with my son soon.

    *shudder, shudder*

  12. bornagaingoodgirl May 6, 2009 at 12:35 pm #

    Mr. Parks is my hero

  13. Bernice May 11, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    hilarious… i cannot wait to show this to my sister, who is a 6th and 7th grade teacher in a Catholic school in Dallas. I kinda want to send a note to some of her students asking them to ask Miss Kearney to explain it to them. I think that would be funny! (or would that be mean?)

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