Friday, March 6, 2009

I Once Shellacked A Hamster

I think I forgot how to blog.

I admit I've been spending far too much time on Facebook but looking at profiles of people I once knew has prompted me to go through lots of old pictures and boxes filled with things I've saved over the years, and that's brought back a lot of memories. Since I haven't finished anything this week, I thought I'd share what might be considered my very first craft project.

Meet my third grade teacher from University Park Elementary School: Craig Ritter. Thanks to Mr. Ritter, I learned how to play soccer. Except in his version, there were no positions like forward or fullback. Everybody got to be on the team and play, and the entire field was fair game. He called it Jungle Ball.



I had my first Rice Krispie Treat because of Mr. Ritter. I don't know how many batches we made the day before we went on Christmas vacation but all the kids in my classroom, and the one next door, ended up with a treat the size of a softball. I can remember gnawing on mine -- it was too huge to take a bite out of -- while waiting in line for lunch that day and thinking it was the greatest thing ever. My sister and I still tease my mom that if it wasn't for Mr. Ritter, we never would have known about Rice Krispie Treats since she never made them for us.

My first and only experience with shellac was in Mr. Ritter's class. He had asked us to bring pictures of something we liked to school. I had a thing for hamsters back then and I think I cut mine out of a how-to-take-care-of-your-hamster type book. Our project started off by gluing the pictures to a piece of wood. Then we got to shellac the hell out of it. I'm not sure if his lesson on using varnish fell under math, spelling or creative writing, but I remember I really enjoyed coating that piece of wood with shellac. (Can you get high if you inhale shellac fumes?)


Mr. Ritter eventually left my school and went to teach in Japan. He later came back to UP Elementary and became the principal. I'm sure he did a wonderful job in that role but I feel bad for the kids who missed out on making giant Rice Krispie balls or playing Jungle Ball or shellacking a hamster because they didn't get to have Mr. Ritter as a teacher.

Fun shellac fact from Wikipedia: Dried shellac is all-natural and is often used as a candy and pill coating.

9 comments:

Miss 376 said...

My favourite primary school teacher was Mrs Morrow. She loved my brown eyes and shared my love of reading. She also instilled my love of Beatrix Potter which has never gone away.

Smilingsal said...

My 1st grade teacher was my all-time favorite. I think I went into teaching because of her.

Sarajessica said...

This was such an adorable story! It made me smile. :)

Elizabeth said...

I'm concerned about your glucose levels with your crazy post titles lately!
Sadly, we can't do as many fun Mr. Ritter things in the classroom these days. Everyone's afraid of lawsuits, food allergies, and "time on learning".

Carol said...

Thank you so much for your comments, Patty... My sister, Linda, has yet to see the new header.. I was sick of those "fake" cupcakes anyway.
Okay, my mother had me when she was 26... so I'm not 80 yet and Linda was is a baby at 61 (for another month or so)..
Anyway, I'm always up for a good laugh...
Love, Carol

marybt said...

What a cool teacher! And I totally love the hamster collage! Do you still have it or is that an old picture?

FYI: Shellac is safe to eat. How do I know that? Remember in the early 90's when it was cool (at least in crafty circles) to make hair apparel out of trash? Well, my sister had a barrette where the bow was made of an M&M package tied in the middle. Then 3 M&M's were glued over the middle and shellacked. My other sister ate the M&M's and suffered no ill effects. Actually, on second thought, you might stay away from eating shellac ...

Diane said...

Wonderful story about Mr. Ritter! I wonder where he is today.... still principal? Retired?

Absolutely love the shellacked hamster board. It should win "Best Use Of A Hamster Cutout" Award - if there was one. It's much better than my childhood shellacked board of a Sweetie Face doll cutout from the Best Catalog.

Threeundertwo said...

I love that you've kept your shellacked hamster all these years.

A huge number of teachers in our district got pink slips this week. The state of education in California is pretty heartbreaking these days. I wonder if my kids will have any wonderful memories of exceptional teachers?

Kellie said...

I love that you still have this! BTW, there are some packing peanuts that are edible as well. Not that I tried eating packing peanuts...as an adult...cause that would be stupid.