Annabel Lee Revisited

In 1849, Edgar Allen Poe published his last poem, Annabel Lee. Earlier this week I was prompted to remember this poem, in fact, one of the various poems I memorized by American poets. I’ve blogged before about my eccentric, quirky fifth grade teacher, Miss Peddler, who made her students memorize one poem a week, as well as learn to march around the classroom singing while she played patriotic songs on the piano. She’d rip up student papers in front of the class if she found their handwriting unacceptable, she never hesitated to swat a boy’s backside, and once in a fit of anger she threw a potted plant out of our second story, classroom window. Further, she sent two students to the home ec room every morning to prepare her breakfast, which she enjoyed at her desk, while listening to Arthur Godfrey on the radio. No one was permitted to either approach her desk, or ask a question during that time. But probably, the most outrageous thing she did was send two students every other week to her bank (on a four-lane highway) to cash her paycheck.

What is my point? In the last year, I’ve lost two dogs to old age. Six months ago, I bought a mini goldendoodle, who is the spawn of Satan. I decided the cause of her bad behavior was partially due to lack of entertainment; she needed a companion. During my Face Time conversation with the breeder, she asked, “What are you going to name her?”

“Good question. I’m an English teacher, probably something theatrical or literary. Something like, Annabel Lee.” I still have NO idea why I said that. Then I added, “We loved with a love that was more than love, I and my Annabel Lee.” I’m sure the breeder thought I was a nut job, crazy woman.

Miss Annabel Lee was delivered from Salt Lake City yesterday morning after a ten-hour road trip. My other pup, Harper, seems delighted. And to my dear Miss Peddler, the terror of Washington School, thank you for teaching me how to memorize–an invaluable skill, and for trying to improve my handwriting. You lived and taught at the right time, for you would have been fired 100 times over today.

(PM me if you want to see; I’m conducting an experiment with my kids. HA!)

2 thoughts on “Annabel Lee Revisited

  1. It was definitely a right of passage being in her class. And I also remember random lines of poetry from time to time. I heard years ago that she was married and drove from Akron daily to keep that a secret!!

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    • Correct. According to Rand Becker, Washington Principal after Miss Stage, her name was Sarah Smith. She was married when she took her first teaching job, but women teachers were forbidden from marrying. Throughout her career, some knew, but she never changed her status. Years later, I wondered why her name was Oma, which is grandmother, in German.

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