Chapter 9 – Two is always better than one.

Everything that I write in here is true.  I may embellish things a little to make you laugh or to make you think, but deep down everything that I have observed or experienced is true.

That being said, you now have to hear and experience a happening that of course I was part of, again.  People sometimes tell ask me, ” How do all of these things happen to you?”  I tell them, “I have no idea, but I’m glad that they have.  It makes my life exciting.”

First off this occurrence happened  when I was in my second year of teaching at St. Mary’s in League City.  To also get a better background of who takes part in this story I will need to explain about my principal at that time.

Principal M as we will call her, had only been a principal for one semester when I started teaching at St. Mary’s.  She allowed the teachers to teach with their own flair but some of her administrative habits as I will call them were a bit odd.  When you are a principal you really cannot expect to be friends with your teachers because like it or not you are their boss.  You should have teacher meetings that contain important items that will enhance the school environment.  You shouldn’t have meetings that include an explanation on how we will be voting on the day of choice for that year’s Christmas room parties by telling the teachers who are listening directions to move to the left side of the room if you vote for Thursday or move to the right side of the room if you vote for Friday.  Of course it was me who moved first.  I thought that the explanation was over and believe me it was, I was listening so I preceded to move to the left side of the room.  As I moved to the Thursday side and half way there the principal yelled, “Where are you going?  Sit your butt down!”.  No this really happened in a teacher meeting.  I went back, she explained once more about the move and vote procedure, I stayed put thinking that I would now wait for another teacher to take the lead.  Steve the history teacher moved to the Thursday side and he too was told to go back.  Yes, laughter then could not be held back and she then decided to take a vote by hand.  What was that all about anyway?  We teachers had a good laugh about that meeting for weeks.

So to a fault I will admit that I laugh at almost everything.  There was the time in high school when I got kicked out of the library after being told by a friend that her obese cat had fallen off of their TV the previous night.  I wasn’t laughing with my friends that hard about the cat fall but when the librarian came over ask us what we were laughing too loudly about none of us could talk.  We just laughed louder.  Well the laughing just got worse and laughing tears started and my library card was taken away.

There was a time in high school when our choir director was yelling at all of us because we were not performing to his liking.  He was yelling, others were seriously listening and my shoulders were shaking and were almost giving my laughter away.  I never could take teachers yelling at me seriously.

There was another time at an 8th grade “graduation” ceremony of one of my classes in which I was sitting in the second row of pews, sitting front and center of the priest and families and bad off key singing set my friend and I off into a reoccurring laugh fest that caused me to have to throw every piece of clothing into the hamper when i got home because of it being wet from laugh sweat.  If you have never been able to stop laughing in a situation in which you know you shouldn’t continue to laugh it is terrible.  Funny, but terrible.

So we now need to get back to understanding the setting of being a teacher under Principal M and my laugh being tortured by her actions and thoughts about teaching.  Believe me when I say that I could write an entire book about this.

There is one occurrence that happened with Principal M that I now need to relate to you.

It was the spring semester and we were just a couple of weeks away from Spring Break.  I was called into the principal’s office for a reason that I cannot remember but I know that it wasn’t of any great misgiving on my teaching or working attitude.  The principal asked me about ideas on some said subject and that was that.  No problem so let’s go home.  It was the end of the school day and everyone had gone home except for the principal and I.  I do remember adding that she looked tired and that Spring Break was right around the corner.  Well I should not have been so caring in saying that because that was when she got up, shut her office door, sat back down and told me quietly that something was bothering her and she wanted to tell me about it.

Oh no! Oh no, no, no.  I need to go home I thought to myself.  But she started with this statement, “I’m going to tell you something but no one can know about it other than you, me and the secretary.”  I grabbed on to the armrests of the chair in which I was sitting and said, “Oh, OK.  Go ahead.”

She goes on to say, “You see the diocese wants me to interview this certain person for the math position in middle school but I do not want to do it but if I don’t then I could legally be in trouble.”

The wheels in my head are now turning.  Who could this person be?  Principal M was always using the legal word at teacher’s meetings so I was used to thinking I was working under the FBI, but why didn’t she want to interview them?

I then asked, “Well who is this person?”  In my head I’m thinking that its either some sort of celebrity who now wants to teach or its a convict!  I’m sorry but who else could it be?  Either way I was fine with it because I was going to make a new friend who was going to be in some way interesting.  This does not happen often in teaching.  I was about to hit the teacher friend jackpot!

After asking who this person was maybe two or three times, hey I needed to know, so quit the suspense she finally said, “You do not understand.  I do not think that the kids could learn correctly from this person.  I just don’t think that I can allow them to work here.”

By this time I have it set in my head that it is definitely some sort of celebrity/athlete that is going to teach next to me and we may even end up having a reality teaching show!

I get back to my reality and she says this statement with a very long pause in between some words, “You don’t understand, this person………..(this is the long pause)……………..has two heads.  Come here, let me show you.”

I paused and let that sink in and then I went around her desk and she showed me a picture online of Brittany and Abby the conjoined twins.

Honestly, I looked at her and said, “Oh I’ve seen them before.  Interview them, do they know math?”

She then tells me that she is afraid that the students could not handle their situation!  What?!

I told her, “Kids are the best at looking at people for who they are.  Yes, they would have a lot of questions but kids adapt to anything.  I think that its fascinating and you should interview them.  God made them this way, why shouldn’t you interview them?”

I left that office , got into my car for my forty minute drive home I wanted to scream that I was going to teach with the most interesting teacher(s) ever!

Remember I was sworn to secrecy but that did not mean that I couldn’t convey what I had just heard to someone in Ohio!  That day of all days, no one was answering their phones.  Please Lord, let me be able to spread the good news that I’m going to teach beside Brittany and Abby.

For about three long weeks I had to live with this secret.  During that entire time I also kept thinking, this is stupid, why is this a secret?

One evening I then received a phone call from my teaching friend Margaret and she asked me in a kind of code if I had heard what she had heard?  Now Margaret was a good friend so I said, “You tell me first and then I will tell you if we have the same story.”  Yes, Margaret heard the secret news also.

Everyday from then on at lunch we would “secretly” talk about our possible new teacher friends and better yet we would wonder if we were the only two that knew or if everyone else was also being tested.  Honestly, we maybe thought that it was a test to see if any teacher would cave in.  It was like we were being tested once again to be FBI agents at a Catholic school.

Weeks passed and it was killing us on whether they had interviewed Brittany and Abby for the math position.  Usually when a new teacher is being looked at we all see them at some point being given the tour of the school and they are introduced to teachers.  Did Margaret and I see this happening?  Nope, and believe me we were two teachers who paid attention to every activity in school.

About two months after all of this waiting we kind of gave up.   We thought maybe Brittany and Abby had decided that they did not want to move to Texas from Minnesota.  At the end of the school year we did break down to see if any other teachers knew about Brittany and Abby.  By their responses, Margaret and I really did believe that only we were told about this potential interview.

So summer began and Margaret calls me and tells me to turn on TLC.  Brittany and Abby did have a show on this station called – Abby and Brittany!  OK so I turned it on and the episode that was on was called, Spring Break, Here We Come.  This episode follows the girls to Texas for their Spring Break trip and it includes them getting ready to interview for a teaching job!  Well guess who they interviewed with?  Yes, St. Mary’s Catholic School.  The episode does not show the interview itself, although Margaret and I secretly wished it had shown you know who interviewing or introducing herself to them but being the sleuths that we are and with the help of our DVR pause buttons, they do show the girl’s writing a thank you to St. Mary’s Catholic School for the interview.  But wait, we never saw them in our school!

This broke our hearts.  When teachers are interviewed it is done at the school in which they will be teaching.  Why didn’t the diocese interview them like all of the rest of us teachers?  To this day I feel bad about how excited they were on that episode about their interview.  Watch it and now that you know this story you will feel the same way.

I would have loved to have taught with Brittany and Abby.  I have seen that they are successfully teaching back in Minnesota so good for them but better yet applause for the school who saw them for what they are; just two girls who wanted to use their college education to help others to learn.

I think that it is very sad that a school and a principal did not see these two girls as a regular interview for a math position.  Worse, I think it is just terrible that they hid these girls from touring our school and interacting with other teachers who would be teaching with them.  No other teacher was ever interviewed this way.  Once again Brittany and Abby I apologize on behalf of the teachers who wanted to meet both of you and were denied this.  The kids at St. Mary’s would have been proud to have you as teachers.

I will tell them this though, do not feel too bad.  When it was time for me to leave St. Mary’s because attendance was getting low, I was told by Principal M that I should start looking for a new teaching job as I was coming out of the teacher’s bathroom.  Yes, that happened.  So see Brittany and Abby , you really dodged a bullet.  Things do happen for a reason.  I also believe in that.

I have read up about Brittany and Abby and you can do so too.  They are conjoined dicephalus twins.  The chance of this happening is 1 in 40,000.  From this number there is a 1% chance of survival.   Brittany and Abby are a Living Miracle.  A religious school should have seen this without these numbers and they should have been hired.  They are amazing.  They drive, they play sports, they have different likes and dislikes.  Look them up and learn about their extraordinary life and their loving family.  Go do it now!

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