I just heard a bit of Oprah's Barbara Walters interview and admit that I was shocked to hear about her affair with Senator Edward Brooks. Shocked more or less because my opinion of him still exists in my fourth-grade memory, and I wasn't quite ready to start seeing him as anything but the father of one of my classmates.
We learned how to use encyclopedias by looking up Edward's dad. While this was a great way to personally connect us to the lesson, I think we all came away with some confusion of why our own fathers were not included in the books. None of us knew what a senator was, nor did we understand why being this so called senator would be more news worthy than our fathers who were bankers, lawyers, or headmasters. (I mean, our headmaster wasn't in the book! What an oversight!)
We all learned quite a bit of worldliness from this boy who had a father in some big book. Even in first grade he liked to make racy comments about naked women and what he'd like to do with us if we were naked. And I never understood, as a first grader, how it was possible that his nephew was older than him. I don't remember my mom doing a good job of explaining it either.
Even as a kid I wasn't overly impressed with this man's parenting of my classmate. Enclyclopedia or not (and I far preferred Enclyclopedia Brown to the actual thick books), I knew there were better parents out there. Parents who gave their children enough attention that they didn't need to stick their pens in the pencil sharpener until it started to break, or jump on desks when the teacher was out of the room.
It was odd to have my fourth grade memory jogged today. Looking back I may or may not have judged Senator Brooks harshly. I was shy and his son's antics scared me. Although now realizing who he is, I imagine it would be hard as a teacher to call home and explain all the naughty things the child was up to.
It is weird to think now that my Friday nights filled with watching 20/20 with my mom were actually us watching my classmate's father's ex-girlfriend. who knew?
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