Wednesday, May 31, 2006

In Honor of my 9th Grade English Teacher

For Mr. Williams of Provo High School, who shared the following with us as the perfect example of a run-on sentence.


NINE LITTLE PIGGIES ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP

It was in Miss Bechter's 5th grade class at Lyndale Grade School that we were all commanded to learn a poem by heart and be ready to recite it the next day in front of everyone and some of us remembered to learn a poem but most of us didn't but Ronnie Robertson saved the day for a few of us at least for a little while because when it was his turn to recite he just said something he'd known forever which went TEN LITTLE PIGGIES ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP/COME LITTLE PIGGIES AND EAT YOUR SLOP and he sat down and folded his hands and looked straight ahead and nobody giggled out loud and Miss Bechter went right down the row to the next one who was Carol Nelson who snapped up straight and said TREES BY JOYCE KILMER and then said the whole dumb poem without a mistake though she went too fast but when she tried to zip by the part about the tree being pressed to the earth's sweet flowing breast some of us whisper-giggled and Bob Essler said a bit too loud that he'd like to see a tree growing out of a tit which made Miss Bechter say TIME TO GROW UP REMBEMBER BOYS SOME OF YOU ARE GOING TO BE 6TH GRADERS SOON SHALL WE GET BACK TO BUSINESS but as soon as we got back to business a girl tried to get away with TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS WHEN but that's all she got out before Miss Bechter said that wasn't the sort of poem she had in mind and that the girl had better look for a different poem and try again tomorrow and then it was Jerry Beckley's turn which made everybody wonder what he'd try to get away with this time and this time he just yelled TEN LITTLE PIGGIES ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP/COME LITTLE PIGGES AND EAT YOUR SLOP and grinned at Ronnie Robertson but Miss Bechter interrupted his grin by saying Mr. Beckley was supposed to stand when he recited so Mr. Beckley jumped up and yelled it again and Miss Bechter let it go because it was Jerry and because she'd just been cross about TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS but pretty soon she was also cross about the piggies poem because when the next guy tried it she made a noise with her foot and said THAT WILL BE THAT which we all knew meant no more about the piggies and we were on our own but Early Kinard who was a kind of daredevil and didn't care too much about his future and getting into 6th Grade didn't give up right away and when it was his turn to recite he gambled on NINE LITTLE PIGGIES ON THE MOUNTAIN TOP/COME LITTLE PIGGIES AND EAT YOUR SLOP and won and ended up in 6th Grade.

(Keith Gunderson, 25 Minnesota Poets, edited by Seymour Yesner, Minneapolis: Nodin Press, 1974)

12 comments:

Lyle said...

Hmmmm....I don't seem to recall Mr. Williams. Sentences like that are classic. I won't even ask what prompted this post.

Julie said...

I'll tell you, even though you won't ask. I've always liked that particular piece of writing. It embodies perfectly the 10/11-year-old male mind, don't you think? And since my oldest is male and 10...well, I was in that frame of mind. Glad you liked it.

compulsive writer said...

Julie--I used to be a grader for a business writing class at BYU and I can tell you that it also embodies perfectly the mind of the 18-22 year old male mind. And, well, a few young female minds as well.

(Only trust me, run on sentences about business plans aren't nearly so entertaining).

Thanks for sharing.

becks said...

i remember mr. williams, but i never had him. i think he was married to my kindergarten teacher at westridge. small world.

Lorien said...

yep, becks, same guy. I loved him. even when he had to go get a drink from the drinking fountain because a student had upset him so badly. I think he really needed that sebatical. Great teacher.

compulsive writer said...

Mr. Williams made me read "Great Expectations."

And he wasn't even my teacher.

And I was almost 40.

But I never truly appreciated Miss Havesham until I read "Lost in a Good Book.

Lessel Peeper said...

Good old Mr. Williams--he threw me out of his class at least twice that I can remember. Ah, those were the days.

It's a wonder I ended up in English after all that.

Moi said...

Yay! A new post! Well done Julie. Worth waiting for! Did y'all grow up together or something?

elasticwaistbandlady said...

"Nine Little Piggies"

A cautionary and dramatic tale of what can happen to that tenth piggie whilst mowing the lawn in flip flops.

Gloria Glo said...

Crap. I knew he was taking me down as I sold those flowers....maybe I can get a job in a flowershop like a proper lady...

Julie said...

Elastic: that actually happened to my friend's son. But I think he lost two piggies.

Carrot: Not all of us grew up together, but many of us did. Compulsive has kids at that high school.

Melody said...

Did you notice the run on sentence that was my last blog and how I skillfully used "and" to link sometimes unrelated thoughts but it all worked out because the subject was interesting and probably would even be interesting to Mr. Williams who was a life guard at Veteran's Memorial Swimming pool and so was my mom when I was five and I learned to swim?