Mrs. Fusselli


Mrs. Fusselli was Mrs. G's kindergarten teacher. She ran the school out of her home, which was probably best because if anyone in the school district had come to supervise her methods, she would have undoubtedly stared icily at them until they left the premises ten to fifteen minutes later and got the hell out of dodge. 

Mrs. Fusselli was unusually tall and had orange hair that didn't move. If she bent over you to survey your work, the smell of Aqua Net was strong enough to temporarily burn your eyeballs. Mrs. Fusselli wasn't out and out mean, but referring to her as nice would be exceeding hospitable. She was strict and had no truck with monkey business whether you were six or forty-four. She called everyone by their surname.

Mrs. Fusselli likely thought she was encouraging when she looked over your coloring work sheet. "Miss Copeland," she would say to Mrs. G, "that is excellent coloring but in order to familiarize you with reality, I must tell you that dogs are not purple. I appreciate your creativity but real world sensibility inspires a life long mastery of a successful and worthwhile existence." Mrs. G. was six and far less interested in a worthwhile existence than the graham crackers and apple juice passed out at snack time.

One morning, Mrs. G. slammed her pinky finger in her grandmother's car door as she was getting out of the car to head to class. While Mrs. G. carried on, crying and screaming, her grandmother tried to comfort her. Mrs. Fusselli marched out of her house and demanded Mrs. G. wiggle her pinky finger to prove it wasn't broken. Mrs. G. did and Mrs. Fusselli declared Mrs. G's bruised an swollen finger a second-string accident. After all, it was her left hand, which according to Mrs. Fusselli was attached to an inferior limb. "Chin up, Miss Copeland. You're fine. It's not like your grandmother ran you over with her car." Mrs. G's grandmother kissed Mrs. G. head and told her to shake it off. This was a time when teachers, like dinosaurs, ruled the earth and didn't care what parents thought. Mrs. Fusselli wouldn't have it. And most parents, like Mrs. G's grandmother, didn't dare question a teacher's proficiency. They just lit up a Camel cigarette and drove off in their Dodge Dart.

On the day Mrs. G. was to graduate from kindergarten and receive her diploma, she opened the medicine chest to grab the tooth paste. A silver wrapper caught her eye and when she opened it, it was chocolate. It wasn't beyond Mrs. G's grandmother to hide candy (particular Applets and Cotlets) so Mrs. G. assumed this was her grandmother's new candy hideaway. Mrs. G. nibbled a square and within six minutes she had eaten the whole bar. She marched into the living room where her grandparents were sitting in their chairs no one else was allowed to sit in and told her grandmother she had found her covert chocolate stash in the medicine cabinet. Her grandmother shot her grandfather a terrified look and muttered, "Hells Bells, this is going to be a day." The "chocolate" was Ex-Lax.

Mrs. G. spent most of the morning on the pot, swearing to Jesus and Mary and Joseph that she would never eat unidentified chocolate or open the medicine chest again. "How are you doing in there?" Mrs. G's grandmother would ask outside the bathroom door. "How do you think I'm doing? You've poisoned me with your underground candy railroad." 

Mrs. G's grandmother called Mrs. Fusselli and explained the situation. Mrs. Fusselli insisted that Mrs. G. attend the graduation to teach her an important lesson about consuming "food" from a medicine chest and building character.

Of course, Mrs. G's grandparents drug her to the graduation, and Mrs. G. walked up to receive her diploma focused on squeezing her butt cheeks as tightly as she could, and, frankly, not pooping her pants at such an esteemed ceremony. When Mrs. Fusselli handed Mrs. G. her diploma, She said, "Miss Copeland, I am proud of you for coming. You will realize from first-grade on, life is hard." So is your helmet head thought Mrs. G, but she just took her diploma and found her grandparents pronto to get her ass home. Mrs. G's grandfather drove as fast as he could, which was five miles over the speed limit. Unlike Mrs. G, he was not a law breaker. They made it home just in time, and Mrs. G. spent several more hours on the pot and had to miss her favorite show, Cagney and Lacey . But her grandfather, no doubt feeling sympathy for a six-year-old's simple mistake, yelled the plot to her as she sat in the bathroom.

Now that's the kind of love a kindergartner deserves.

Mrs. Fusselli didn't get it, the need for kindness and love children hunger for, and in hindsight, maybe she didn't get it when she needed it most.

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    derfwadmanor - Derfwad Manor - Mrs. Fusselli

Reader Comments (26)

Hilarious. Now that's the way to start the day with a laugh. Thanks for being you, Mrs. G.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter1Les

I agree with Leslie, what a great morning story! You always bring a smile to my face and usually outright laughter.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJennie

What a dame! At least she wasn't like my second grade teachers who told little kids that if the didn't take off their rain boots their brains would fall down to their feet!
When we told our mother ,she announced that it was a ridiculous and stupid thing to say.
An early great awakening: Adults don't know everything!

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersmartcat

Oh, if I could only have such a great belly laugh every Monday! Destined to become a classic.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeepsaloola

Thanks for the morning chuckle and for being a loving teacher to kids and adults too.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Oh, Mrs. G., I do love you!

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRachel from Maine

I like it. That helmet-haired woman probably needed a dadgum hug.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen H

Yelling the plot through the door really screams love. You are right. And hindsight's compassion, even if Mrs. F. sounds like she'd be a hoot in something other than real life, like a cartoon where it hadn't happened to you.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterShe Curmudgeon

Underground candy railroad made me snort!!!!

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

Good stuff g, good stuff.
I'm nibbling toes for you...

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermeredith@whynot

It seems that warm cuddly teachers were extremely rare when you and I were coming up. I can only count one or two among mine, and even the gentlest ones were only sweet in comparison to the scary dictators. I spent most of my elementary school days under a cloud of fear and longing to be home.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJennyExplainsItAll

My mother made Mrs. Fusselli look like a sissy in short pants, hence ALL of my teachers were seen as relatively kind and consistent in their discipline. I modeled my own career as a first grade teacher after my beloved and gentle Mrs. Peters, who told a classmate that if they picked their nose, their head would cave in! Then she laughed a great belly laugh after she said it. Life IS hard, but it doesn't have to be cruel.
Your characterization stories are gems, Mrs. G., and a collection of them would make fine reading. Isn't there a Derf out in Manor-land who edits writing?

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllie

That was beautiful, Mrs. G....sniff, sniff

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

So glad you're back, Mrs. G. Loved this episode which reminded me of my dear little old
1st grade teacher Miss Hess, who held me on her lap and told the 3rd grade teacher what a sweet little girl I was. Then off to 2nd grade where Miss Ranck terrified us by grabbing a tall boy (who was repeating 2nd grade) by his hair and banged his head against the blackboard repeatedly, ostensibly to make him better and brighter. Miss Meisenhelder
was the 3rd grade teacher of my dreams, young, beautiful, smiling and kind. Talk about
a checkered past!

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarty

every kind of perfect, except not quite. loved it. i can still smell Aqua Net too.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbethany

What a fun post, I love how you bring these people to life!

And Jenny, I can sure relate to your comment "I spent most of my elementary school days under a cloud of fear and longing to be home."

My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Lawson, marked me absent every day for the first couple of months I was there. When mom saw my report card, she was livid and marched to school to find out what was going on. She told Cruella Lawson, "I walk my daughter to your classroom every morning and I meet her at the same place when class is over. I know she's there."

Mrs. Lawson then informed my mother that because I never answered "present" during roll call, she decided to mark me absent to teach me a lesson. Didn't matter that I was painfully shy and scared silly, or that she could see me sitting right in front of her. What a bitch.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDATdeborah

I do love that your grandpa yelled the plot to you while you sat on the pot.
One wonders how such a hard-ass is raised. I'm kind of surprised your grandparents caved to her!

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGreen Girl in Wisconsin

Funny stuff. I think I will be carefully examining any chocolate I'm offered in the future.


April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDarla

I think it takes a particular type of self-confidence to teach and I think it's easy for some people to cross the fine line that separates strong classroom management from outright cruelty. I work in the building with a woman who obviously has some kind of problem. This is an intermediate school (6th - 8th) and if you know preteens, you know how fragile their self-esteem is. This woman is a lecturing, hectoring bitch. I've twice heard her berate students and haven't said anything because I'm only a paraprofessional. But if I hear it again I will say something. She has no business teaching. Obviously your story struck a nerve. I applaud your resilience. I'm still haunted by a couple of memories similar to those. They made ME feel like a failure when I wish they'd planted a seed of rebellion instead. Probably didn't happen because my parents reacted much the way your grandparents did.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNacCrackHouse

My kindergarten teacher tried to teach me to spell my name incorrectly. I consider myself fortunate I could already read and print my name before I started kindergarten.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSmalltown Me

Your grandparents rocked! Love this story! Another "lol"er.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSalty Mama

I so love your stories!

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterArli

Dear Mrs.G. Like you, I went to kindergarten in the home of my teacher. Unlike you my teacher was pretty sweet. However, for third grade I had Miss Schumacher. I was convinced that she was a Miss because she was so mean and ugly. She also had a helmet of hair and it was in the style of Lucy VanPelt. One time I had to stay after class to get help with my school work and as usual she was really mean. She told me that she had a feeling I might be kind of smart but she didn't really know for sure. At the end of this torture session she smiled with a weird mixture of sweetness and evil and asked, "are we still friends?" Just like Mrs Umbridge! And while I was already pretty good at being diplomatic and maintaining my composure in general, I lost it.

"Friends?!? You hate me and everyone knows it!"

It was a hard year. And I never missed school that whole year out of fear.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

I went to kindergarden in my teacher's home as well. That was back in the dark ages when not every child went to kindergarden. This woman had a beautiful 2 story home and 2 kids and her husband had left her with those kids and a mortgage to pay. She took in kids and did a wonderful job of teaching us. I remember fondly the old junk car she had in her back yard that we got to play in. I'm sure that these days that would be a huge no-no but we kids loved it! I was fortunate to have pretty good teachers in my younger years.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBamaCarol

Oh my, I loved this, especially the part about the dodge dart and the camel cigarette.

April 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatience

"How do you think I'm doing? You've poisoned me with your underground candy railroad."
I am now laughing hysterically. Your timing for this story is perfect: my husband has just begun the process of preparing for his first colonoscopy.

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