Younger or Older?

Written by Louise Tucker Jones in the March 2020 Issue

I recently started physical therapy for my back and shoulder. Jane, my phenomenal therapist who has treated this aching body in the past, took my January article to heart about giving compliments, and told me I looked twenty years old. Wow! We both got a laugh out of that.

But that comment got me to thinking about a time soon after my 20th birthday when I actually wanted to look older, not younger. Fresh out of college, I applied for a teaching position in the Tulsa Public Schools. I had done my intern teaching at a high school there, teaching Spanish and French, and hoped to find a permanent position.

Much to my dismay, the director was not open to the idea of my teaching high school, telling me I looked as young as the students. However, she would definitely hire me to teach junior high. No! Who wants to teach 7th to 9th grade? I remembered my own experience and it was the worst of my school years. I begged and pleaded to no avail. So much for my “mature” hairstyle and clothes to help me get the job I wanted.

But at least I had a job. What I didn’t know was that she was placing me in one of the roughest schools in the district. Students were disrespectful and there were frequent knife fights in the courtyard. Definitely a new experience for me, and I desperately wanted to ask that director why she thought I was old enough to handle THIS assignment.

I made it through the semester, teaching Spanish and English to some rowdy, reluctant students, then took a maternity leave. A few months after my sweet son was born, I returned to work and finally got my dream job, teaching high school French and Spanish, and yes, I loved it.

But these days, long since I retired from the teaching profession, I never protest when someone guesses me to be younger than my years. And I’m hopeful this weekly PT and Jane’s magic touch will soon have me pain free and feeling strong and healthy again.

Maybe even younger!

 

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