Mrs. Carmen Matthews is a religious lady. Her faith is strong... her faith gives her guidance, assurance, and the strength to carry on. Her whole world is centered on her church and the people she has come to love there. Mrs. Matthews is also a public school teacher. She teaches Band at Wadleigh Middle School.
On Sundays, where Mrs. Matthews lives, it is not unusual to see small groups of ladies and gents walking to church, dressed in their finest... all eager to hear those fine hymns bellowing out of the grand 2-stories-tall pipe organ at the church. Unlike those good christian ladies, Mrs. Matthews dresses this way every day.
She never ceases to amaze her students when she walks into the classroom each day, formally dressed to the nines. No sweats and Nike's for this elegant music teacher. One memorable day Mrs. Matthews came to school dressed in pink, from head to toe.
Pillbox hats were in style then and she wore a pink one that matched the pink of her tailored jacket and skirt. The skirt went down to just above her ankles, like all the skirts she wore. Even her pink pumps matched the color of the suit and the hat. The blouse she wore was as close to white as pink can get and set the ensemble off quite nicely.
Her face stood out starkly against all that pink. She is an attractive woman who wears no makeup other than a foundation base. She is no Halle Berry but they both share the same skin color. The strangest thing of all is that Mrs. Matthews would apply the foundation base to her lips, like lipstick.
The makeup base on cheeks, forehead, nose, chin, and lips was the oddest looking thing! Once you got over Mrs. Matthews' curious appearance, though, you would have to love her for the easy way she has of teaching you how to play a musical instrument well... and for her kindness too.
Remember, she teaches middle school and like most middle school teachers her patience will occasionally be tested. When she is angry it is wondrous to witness the transformation from sweet-as-pie, 'school-marmish' teacher to tall Amazon warrior-woman.
Her back goes straight... the shoulders hunch up... her arms go stiff as boards... her fists clench tightly... and she continuously stomps one foot like an angry bull. Her tight-lipped grimace has smeared the makeup base off her lips which are once again their natural pink color, actually a better match for her outfit.
With bulging eyes and threatening stance she confronts the clarinet player who has continuously disrupted her lesson. She gives him a long look, then walks over to the light switches and proceeds to turn all the classroom lights off. Without a word, Mrs. Matthews goes and sits at her desk in the dark.
The students are pin-drop quiet sitting there where only shadows are visible. They all sit just that way until the period ends and the bell rings. The following morning Mrs. Matthews comes to class dressed all in green, with her usual bright smile in place. This public school teacher believes in taking life one day at a time.
By Lewis Ferguson