Black Mountain Middle School · Middle School

A Blast From The Past


I was 12 years old when I was in 8th grade and I had this teacher for 3 hours ever day. Her name was Ms. Haley. I remember at the end of 7th grade all of the 8th graders saying “I hope you don’t get Haley for basic ed”. Well I got Haley for basic ed. I was scared to death. All I’d heard were horror stories about this teacher. Let me tell ya, they were all true. She was the toughest teacher I’d had in all of my years of school. I spent 9 months of my life scared to death of this woman. Seating charts changed weekly and there was always one seat left open right in front of her for the person who was caught cheating or talking during a test or who she just thought was doing something wrong. She assigned book reports with an approved book list and she knew whether or not you actually read the book or if you used cliffs notes. If you used Cliffs Notes you failed the assignment. She had these sayings like “You’ll never make it on the Mount if you continue to buck the system”. Our high school was Mt. Carmel. Hence ‘the Mount”.

Why am I giving this short background on this very difficult teacher? Read on my friends, read on.

Several years after not only leaving Ms. Haley’s classroom, graduating high school and moving out of the state I was working in Tucson. One day I’m minding my own business and who happens to walk into the store I was working in? Yep you guessed it, Ms. Haley. I freaked out! Ok not really, but I made my co-worker wait on her. I didn’t see her again after that until 4-5 summers ago. Still in Arizona but in a different town, working in a completely different store. So now I see her every summer. I’ve been able to avoid contact until this last summer when I was at work alone.  She came to my register and asked me a question about a discount and said she was from California blah blah blah. So I just had to say it. I told her I knew exactly who she was and where she was from because I was in her 8th grade basic ed class in 1983/84.  Well I think the poor thing about had a heart attack.

So having seen this woman several summers in a row I had began to wonder why on earth she was stalking me through Arizona. She wasn’t really stalking me, but it felt like it. So a couple days after I talked to her at my register one of my regular customers comes to my register and after paying he says “So I heard you ran into an old school teacher the other day” I said “yeah I did..wait how did you know?” He says, “She’s my sister in law” well that explained EVERYTHING! So he and I talked for a little bit about my experience in 8th grade.

My point is..Sometimes teachers come into our lives and they make such an impression on us that they stay with us through our whole lives. I realized a long time ago that, although tough, Ms. Haley was the best teacher I’d ever had.

4 thoughts on “A Blast From The Past

  1. I, too, had Ms. Haley a few years after you. She also scared the living day lights out of me. Everyday was torturous with her binder checks and her lunch detentions for missing one word on a spelling test. And yet years later as I look back, she was also the best teacher I had. She made me a better student and a better teacher as a result of having had her as a teacher.

    1. It’s funny because we go throw 12 years of school and rarely do we remember a teacher. Obviously it’s those that have made an impression on us that stay with us. I haven’t seen her in a while. I know she retired and I have a feeling her sister and brother in law moved from my little town, because i havent seen them in about a year, so I may not see her again darn it.

  2. My sister just asked me a Jeopardy question about a president, and, when I got it wrong, I said, “Mrs. Haley would be so mad!” I looked on Google to see what she was up to now, and I saw this entry. Looks like you and I were classmates because I had her in 83/84 too. 🙂 I’ll never forget her or how she made us memorize the preamble to the Constitution, right down to the punctuation, or her frequent quizzes where we had to list all the states and/or capitols in alphabetical order. She was a great teacher, but, yeah, I was terrified too. 🙂

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