I remember a lot of things about Mrs. Pease.
I remember that she laughed hard and often. She had short curly hair that she parted to one side. When a fly had the gall to sneak into our classroom, she would adopt the persona of Quick Draw McPease and hunt it down with a fly swatter. We all giggled watching her stalk the tiny buzzing intruders.
In the fall, when we all had the sniffles, she would conduct an orchestra and point to us when we were supposed to sniff, cough or sneeze on cue with the music. I’m going to bet that the halls of North East Christian Academy never sounded so ill. ;)
One day, we had a special presentation about abuse. The presenter talked about neglect, physical and verbal abuse. It was the first time I recognized what had been happening as something universally frowned upon. The sexual abuse had felt wrong but I was confused and disillusioned by years of lies and manipulation.
At the end of the presentation, the presenter asked us all to put our heads down on our desk, close our eyes and raise our hands if we wanted to talk about any abuse we had experienced.
My momma didn’t raise no fool.
There’s always some jerk watching during an altar call. I didn’t know this person and I was for sure not sharing even the smallest morsel of my secret with this stranger, if that was his real name.
After he left, our day went on. I felt like I should say something but to whom? I sat in my desk thinking through the possible scenarios. I thought through all of the threats and realized that because my father was a year dead and in the ground many would likely not be possible. I watched Mrs. Pease and wondered if she would believe me.
I raised my hand as my classmates worked through their assignments.
“Can I talk to you alone?”
She said yes and walked me out into the hallway.
I don’t remember crying exactly. I don’t even remember what I said. I just know that she was there and she told me that we needed to tell my mother. I was terrified. The cat was now out of the bag.
The rest of the day was suspense on meth. Mrs. Pease called my mother in for a meeting. I thought my chest was going to close up and cut off my air supply. I waited to die.
When my mother arrived I sat down in a chair next to her and Mrs. Pease. I remember looking down at my feet. I felt so small. I was so small.
Mrs. Pease probably tried to prepare my mother. I don’t remember that part. I just remember her asking me, “Do you want to tell your mom or would you like me too?”
I asked her to and then, just as my mother heard those hard words, I begged her not to hate my daddy.
I was still so worried for him.
I remember a lot about Mrs. Pease.
I remember one thing the most.
She stood by me. Even in the midst of delivering some of the worst news my mother will ever hear, she stayed with me.
She also listened, believed and advocated.
Somehow, her physical presence and support is what I remember the most.
So now, I am thinking through the right questions to ask my old school to get the answers that I want.
What I really want to know is, where is she now?
She is just one of many women who saved my life and I would like to say thank you.
If you happen to be from El Paso and know who she is, I would be over the moon to talk to her again. Spread this. Share with your friends. Ask around.
Help me thank her.
Desperately Seeking Quick Draw McPease,