One of the hardest classes I ever took was Mrs. Browne’s english class in the 6th grade. Mrs. Browne, with an “e” on the end, is legendary at Hill County Middle School for her high expectations, her command of the classroom, and the fear she instilled in her students. I was equal parts terrified and captivated with her. She taught me key lessons about how to use prepositions, that “a lot” is two words, “separate” had “a rat” in the middle of it, how to use “good” versus “well,” and how to write a good “how to.” She also stressed the importance of deodorant, which in hindsight was likely for her own self preservation. She remains my favorite teacher of all time.
Mrs. Browne was the first hard teacher I ever had. I went on to encounter other hard classes: Dr. Charlie Marler’s Communication Law class and Randy Harris’ Christian ethics, both at ACU and my whole law school career at Pepperdine where I was a ball of stress so tight I lined my Tylenol PMs up on the counter to count down to the end of finals each semester. But Mrs. Browne was the first. And I am grateful for her kindness and diligence to teach us to take on the real challenge of learning.
In the far right corner of her room, she had a reading rug, which was a little unusual for middle school. She reserved it for reading how-to assignments. How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, how to tie your shoes, and a number of others. She would test our instructions, which seemed to fail most of the time.
As I sat down to write my “how to” for my most recent project, I thought about how ashamed Mrs. Browne would probably be of my lack of detail and instruction. So let’s not call this a “how to,” but instead a report on a simple project that YOU TOO can accomplish with a few tools and a trip to Home Depot.
The project: create a hanger for short necklaces. I use the angel for long necklaces and the saint for bracelets, but I hated to crowd the space with additional deities for shorter necklaces. For several months, they hung on the open doors of the cabinet below.
I had the frame tucked in my stash, so I tucked it under my arm and headed for Home Depot. I dug through their scrap wood pile and found a piece of plywood, kindly asked a Home Depot man to cut it for me, asked the price and learned that it was “F-R-E-E.” The salesman actually spelled it out to me. Digging in the scrap pile was a success! I also bought small cup hooks.
Back at the home front, I marked where I wanted my hooks–2 inches a part, bottom row staggered from the top. I then pleaded for Scott’s help with a drill. The pleading was necessary only because the Tour du France has started, meaning Scott’s productivity plummets downward. I don’t mind. He loves it. He drilled tiny holes where the hooks would go. I then covered the wood with fabric, using a staple gun. I also used a little glue to keep the fabric in place. Next, I used the sharp end of scissors to find the drilled holes again, and twisted the cup hooks into the covered wood. I then slipped the covered wood into the frame. It was snug enough that I did not even need to secure it. Easy-peesy. The hardest part was motivating myself to get it done.
A few hours on the 4th of July well spent!