About Me

Thanks for being here! I am a mom of three (two girls, 15 and 13, and one boy, 9) and a teacher of many (thousands during my more than 17 years teaching high school English and Spanish in Philadelphia). Forever a student, I love learning - whether through talking to others, reading, watching movies and documentaries, or traveling. I also love running (slowly), hiking, and practicing yoga!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Poopin' Perry's on the Phone

 I met my first best friend, Margo, on the first day of second grade. She made me laugh during lunch and played my favorite game ("pretend you're an animal") at a play-date at my house soon after. When I went to her house, her mom fed me snacks and invited me to stay for dinner. We walked to school together every day, spent nearly every afternoon together, and often had sleep-overs on the weekend. She held the umbrella for me as we walked to school the morning after my dog, Ranger, had died, and she, along with all my classmates, sent me a hand-made get-well card when I was out of school for two weeks with pneumonia.

To this day, I remember Margo's childhood phone number, as I called her house nearly every day from the rotary phone on my kitchen wall. We loved each other in that sweet childhood way that only first best friends can.
Me, Margo, and my Dad at the Haddonfield Five-Miler, our first-ever race, in 1984

There was only one complication: Margo's big brother, Jonathan. I thought of him then as a a high-schooler but now I realize he was probably a sixth or seventh-grader at most. He was a bit Kevin Arnold's older brother from the t.v. series The Wonder Years and a bit Greg Heffley's older brother in the book series (and movie) Diary of a Wimpy Kid. And he did not take a liking to me. He may not have liked anyone else, either, but I specifically remember how little he cared for me. Margo and I would be sitting at the kitchen table doing a puzzle and in would walk Jonathan. I would attempt a smile and a "Hi," only to be met by scowling and a grunt of disgust. 

Also, Jonathan claimed complete control over the family phone, so that every time I called (which was every day, possibly multiple times), he would answer. EVERY time. My name back then was Jenny Perry (I took the name Gentlesk when I got married), but when I called I didn't have to say my name because Jonathan knew my voice. Thus:


"Hi ... can I please speak to Margo?"

Silence. Deep sigh of irritation. Then ... 

"Maaaaar-gooooooo! Poopin' Perry's on the phone!"

Then Margo would answer. We always just pretended that we hadn't heard the offensive name though, of course, we had. I would feel a bit embarrassed ( thinking "I'm NOT Poopin' Perry, I'll show him!") and then I would move on. Margo couldn't help her brother, and I couldn't worry about my last name beginning with a P. Right? This is what we do for love. This is just what we do. 

Tune in next time for the story of how I hid in Jonathan's room during a game of hide-n-seek only to accidentally break his desk JUST as he came home ... You'll laugh, you'll cry ... 

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