The Candy Lady

The school year started today for the area’s year-round schools. This means I could be called in to sub again.

Somehow my stories have given Uncle Mike the impression that I like subbing. I’d like to take this opportunity to disabuse my reading audience of that ridiculous notion.

There’s irony in this story, so I’m starting with a seemingly unrelated scandal.

One of my girlfriends was the PTA president for my daughter’s middle school. We were sitting around at the school one afternoon when I mentioned I didn’t participate in the membership drive because of the reward.

Kids who sold memberships were given candy by the PTA.

By coincidence, the day after my grousing, I got an e-mail from one of the teachers, who also happens to be an old friend.

She reported that somebody called the principal to complain about teachers’ giving candy.

I wasn’t he, but I agreed with the complainer. When I tried to take my son off food coloring, I painstakingly read labels at the store, only to have him come home with pockets full of Jolly Ranchers. Teachers doled them out for correct answers.

The principal told the caller she wasn’t about deprive her teachers of this effective incentive. The parent cited the education code violation and threatened action.

The principal was forced to issue the moratorium, and was bound by policy to protect the caller’s identity. This was bad news for me.

According to my friend’s e-mail, the faculty believed I was the offender. She said she didn’t believe it.

If this is confusing, I’ll clarify some distinctions: The PTA and the school are separate entities. A complaint about the school was a can of worms I did not want to open. What I made was an unofficial mom-to-mom comment about what the PTA was doing, by way of explanation as to why such an involved parent did not buy a PTA membership. Sadly, this was in front of a witness.

I was trapped. The person who knew I was not the guilty party was mum. The person who suspected I was the culprit was telling everybody. The teachers hated me. I was The Anti-Candy Lady.

At the same time, this was going on:

I worked my second day as a substitute teacher — which, please remember, I hate.

The teacher left instructions. ‘There is candy in my desk. Give it to the kids who are helpful.’ I kept this to myself, meaning not to do it.

These second-graders were perfect. They were helpful, sweet, enthusiastic and full of personality, the lot of them. At the end of the day they asked where was their candy.

I was running the reading table, and the autistic boy’s aide got the little candy bars out for the class.

A week later I was on that campus again to drop something at the office. It was recess time.

Children came running to throw their arms around my knees and proclaim their love. They had a sub that day. They told me they begged their teacher to request me instead.

Their teacher told them I would never sub at that school again, because I gave them candy. She labeled me “The Candy Lady.”

At least I’m balanced.

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4 Responses to “The Candy Lady”

  1. Mike Says:

    Wasn’t your nickname “candy pants” in high school?

  2. T. Says:

    yes. wasn’t yours ‘hand-in-pants’?

  3. I was dismissed from the PTA « Stories O’ Mine Says:

    […] last year there, I joined the PTA on the hospitality committee. The PTA president — a close friend and fellow band booster — asked me to do this, based on my cooking or baking all the food for […]

  4. I was dismissed from the PTA « Stories O' Mine Says:

    […] last year there, I joined the PTA on the hospitality committee. The PTA president — a close friend and fellow band booster — asked me to do this, based on my cooking or baking all the food for […]

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