Mixsonian Morrs and Barbara Larry

Physics Class

Physics II, which I was really looking forward to, turned out to be a big disappointment.  I had heard in the 11th grade that Mr. Strickland, the physics teacher was a super teacher. I had met Mr. Strickland the year before when he was the coordinator of the science fair I had entered, and he seemed to be a nice guy.  As it turned out, before the school year started, Mr. Strickland quit teaching to go back to the University to work on his PhD, so instead we got Mr. Cooper as our teacher.   There was a lot of whispering among the students the first day of class, “What happened to Mr. Strickland.”, it seems I wasn’t the only one disappointed.  Mr. Cooper was a nice enough guy, young, had a master’s degree from the University, but he seemed a little uncertain about teaching us students immediately noticed and took advantage of. It was a disorderly class, there were two to a table that were larger than typical school tables to allow room for science experiments.  I sat at a table on the second row, I don’t remember who sat next to me or around me other than the two girls that sat at the table in front of me, Susan and Ginny.

I had started out excited about Physics II, expecting we would learn all sorts of interesting and cool physics, yes, I thought of physics as being cool, perhaps even studying atoms and atomic energy.  Boy, was I disappointed the Mr. Cooper said we would be studying, of all things, weather, like in wind, rain, clouds.  He was all excited about it, since we were more advanced students, he said, he got the book for Weather 101 (actually Meteorology but we called it “Weather”) that they used at the University of Florida for us to study.  The book was a “draft” of a book some professor at the university was writing and we would be the first to use it, how exciting was that Mr. Cooper explained.  The book looked like something that someone had done with a copy machine, soft bound, letter size pages, with a drab green cover.  The class was silent, I was stunned, I didn’t take Physics II to study weather, I came to study advanced physics I thought, and I imagine all the other students as well.

So we studied weather, all of it, wind, rain, clouds, we studied from the ground to the stratosphere.  Actually, I did find it somewhat interesting, and not being difficult, it didn’t require much studying, so it wasn’t all that bad.  Mr. Cooper’s lectures were usually short, giving us time to “study” the book which didn’t take much effort so we most of the time talking, which I did mainly with Ginny and Susan who sat in front of me. I found them both beautiful, both with blond hair, with Susan’s being more blond.  Both were intelligent, witty and kind, I like the kind attribute.  We talked most every day and after a few months I felt that they might like me, well just perhaps. It helped I that they sat in the front row, so they didn’t have anyone else to talk to, but still they didn’t have to talk to me, my insecurities showing.  Susan liked a lot, but it was Ginny that captured my heart, she was so sweet and pretty…I was in love.  I could talk about all sorts of things with her, science, movies, even weather, but never could I tell her how I felt.

We finished the Green Weather book and I thought that we would now get to some real physics, when the next day we get to class and find that Mr. Cooper has a stack of books on his desk looking much like the first book but with orange covers. “Weather II”, he announces, the students shout, an uproar pursues, we all rush forward, grabbing Mr. Cooper, tossing him out the door then burning all the books.   No that didn’t happen, but it was what flashed through my mind as zoned out for a minute. I blink my eyes, I look around and see everyone whispering, clearly not happy.  And so, we studied more weather the next few months.

Updated: 10-31-2022

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