Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday Night at the Cafe: A Walk Past Old Western High

Here's a short video shot last month while I walked to Georgetown Hospital to visit a friend. I turned a corner and there was the legendary old Western High School, now the Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts. Western is indeed legendary in my family since my parents met there and my aunts and uncles all went there.

I've heard many stories, from my uncle blowing up the chemistry lab to the day when my quite-reserved mother, sitting near the front of the class, dropped the entire contents of her purse on the floor, spilling (dozens, hundreds, thousands - the amount changed over the years) of pennies she'd amassed at the bottom of her purse all over the English class floor (I seemed to have inherited the same gift). The dreaded Dr. McPherson, who was apparently a pre-Potter version of Delores Umbridge, was quite horrified by the interruption, my mother was quite terrified by the incident, and my dad jumped up from a nearby desk and came to her rescue, scooping up all the pennies and kindly returning them to her under the dreaded stare of Dr. McPherson. And, as the story goes, that's how it all began.

Fortunately, at least for me and for my Brother the Methodist, it turned out rather well.


Anonymous said...

Can anything good have come out of Dr. McPherson's classes? Well, it appears so. I had her for one semester and actually learned a good deal. There is nothing like randomly calling on 6 or more students each day to comment on the literature readings to get you to do your homework. She was a true Verminophobiac. One of my friends said that somebody had dropped a cleanex on the floor one day and he saw her pick it up with two rulers and place it in the wastebasket. You were assigned seats alphabetically and if you were in a front row and had a cold, you had better just take a seat in the back. Miss McPherson was all of 4' 10". was quite bowlegged, and always wore red plaid skirts and blouses. She had complete control of her class.
Brad Miter '51

Unknown said...

Awesome post, Brad. Great story! You're going to make my dad's day. There is a reason it seems that my brother and I were raised with stories of the legendary Dr. McPherson and you do illustrate another good reason. You still haven't forgotten her! Imagine that.


Unknown said...

Oh My! the comments about Dr. McPherson gave me such a good laugh! I will be 83 the last of this month and was lucky enough to have been a student in her class.
I found her picture in my Yearbook
and she is such a little thing that
we wonder at the way she had us all
bamboozled! Well, Buddy Gillette kept her on her toes while the rest
of us cowered. Some years later I met her on the street and told her what a good teacher she had been.....enough that I clepped out of English. Her quiet voice evidently penetrated