Updated: Feb 6, 2019
Journal entry 6/6/17
If I get the strength to speak at Norm’s funeral I might say this:
Grace and I were going through stacks of files of papers in Norm’s desk. He was not an organized man. There were Mega millions tickets from various years mixed with a VCR owner’s manual, 2006 tax returns, old checkbooks, 100s of receipts, coupons and report cards. We found his report cards--kindergarten and 4th grade. Miss W reported that he needed to improve in “I use self-control”, “I follow simple directions” and “I listen while others talk” categories.
Her comments were, “He could do better if he would listen to directions, as he is usually too talkative.”
Mrs. H in 4tth grade gave him a D in conduct. He did not “observe rules and regulations”, did not “practice good health and safety habits”. He was “impulsive”.
Does this sound like my Norm? Talkative? Doesn’t listen? Doesn’t respect authority or rules?
Yes, Yes, and Yes
But a D in behavior?
A ‘D’ -- “below average”
Sorry Mrs. H and Miss W, my husband was not below average.
Over the next 8 years of public schools Norm did NOT improve his behavior according to these standards. His conduct was “needing to improve” or “not acceptable”. He was a frequent flyer to the principal’s office. Some of my colleagues remembered the wirey hyper jr. high student. (I teach in the same district Norm attended.) The science teacher found an index card listing the dates and reasons for paddling him. It was filled. “Refuses to sit”, “burping loudly”, “throwing paper wads”, “dancing”.. (Ironically, she hired adult Norm to waterproof her basement.) He was voted class clown in high school. I would have hated having him in my math class. Teachers most likely joked about wanting to lace his Hi C jug with some Adderall.
But those of you that ever met my husband knew he was not below average. We as a society label these loud, creative, out-of-the-box kids by some random benchmarks, rubrics, sets of standards, and objectives--poor and below average.
If you knew my husband you knew he was definitely not average.
You see he had his own language with an interesting set of characters. There was La Duche, Pierre Luigi Pierre, Bellzore, the Babalonian Princess, Grugor the Grugorian, Gracenstein, Mrs. Stinky Ass (who may have been Dex’s elementary school teacher) and Sam’s best friend that he never met, Joey Shishitski. The plane for some reason was always in the garage (or a boat, never a car.) He wrote a song that only he ever sang with one lyric that dealt with pooping in his pants. His 6’3” 250+ pound self would dance around the house yelling -- (have kids say this from pews) “I shit myself and I like it a lot!”
He gave you a nickname if you were lucky. Grasshoppaaaa, Lady Di, Sambam, Generic Jimmy, Ray-Man, Mikeymoo. I’m sure hundreds of millwrights around the country have aliases compliments of Norm.
“Who am I?” He would bellow in your face at least three times before answering the question himself. “I’m the Duche! I’m the King! King Norman! I am King Norman!”
Yep, he was my King and I know he thought of me as his queen.
I never finished and regrettably never spoke. I knew I’d never be able to get through one sentence without melting.