Image by World Wrestling Entertainment
"You're some rude!" That's what she used to say. We probably were, by any definition of the word, exactly that. But when you're a class full of kids from the scabby part of town, the kind of kids that wrestle at recess and pack rocks in their snowballs at lunch, "rude" isn't a word that carries much weight.
Missus Walters (I almost feel bad for the old bag thinking about it now) should've been teaching at a prep school, or at least a place where telling the kids you'd call home on them was a threat. She was a washed out nun who sang louder than anyone else in church, one of those high and mighty types who got on as though she'd never done anything wrong in her life. God only knows what she did to deserve us.
Jimmy Coady was the kid in the class who usually got the worse of her wrath. I can remember her grabbing him out of his chair and then picking his desk up over her head and shaking it until all his books and papers showered down onto the floor, a punishment for being disorderly. She'd send him to the principal, or make him stand in the hall, or get up and sing in front of the class, as though any of this was going to curb his behavior. And always with that catch phrase: "You're some rude!"
It happened that in this same strange time in our lives there was a new champion crowned in the World Wrestling Federation, "Ravishing" Rick Rude. His signature move was to put his hands behind his head and swivel his hips and ass when his opponent was down for the count, like he was pure sex and mockery. We all thought this was great, the ultimate humiliation, and of course it was only natural that we'd pretend Missus Walters was the one who'd been body slammed.
I remember one day when Missus Walters was in full effect and she called Jimmy rude for what must have been the tenth time that day. She turned her back to write something on the board and Jimmy stood up on his chair and did Rick Rude's move. All the kids saw him do it, but I think they were too surprised to react. I was the only one who laughed. (I admit it. I laughed.)
She turned around just as Jimmy got back into his seat and she stared at me, at my big dumb grin. She stormed down the aisle and up to my desk, and before I knew it she slapped me across the face, one of those open-handed zingers -- WHACK!
"Go to the principals office!" she yelled. "And if I hear a peep out of the rest of you, you'll be following him."
My eyes welled up as I left the room.
When I got home that evening my father asked me what happened -- though it was fairly obvious from the welt on my cheek that an adult-sized hand had slapped me. He called the school the next morning and said that I wouldn't be coming back. From my bedroom upstairs I could hear him shouting into the phone (I'd never heard words like that from my father before). It was the last I saw of the place, and the next week I was enrolled in a non-denominational school in the city.
Missus Walters opted to take an early retirement package the same year I left. She still goes to church and sings louder than anyone else.
Jimmy Coady was locked up in the Whitbourne Correctional Facility for Boys in 1995 after a spate of shoplifting incidents. Jimmy was released in 1997 and was arrested later that same year for assaulting a kid in his neighborhood with a bat. He was sentenced to three years in Her Majesties Penitentiary. I have no idea where he is today.
"Ravishing" Rick Rude died of arteriosclerotic heart disease in 1999. He was 41 years old.