When I attended Divine Heart Seminary, Latin was no longer the required language for freshmen and sophomores, so I studied Spanish. My sophomore year, I continued to study Spanish, but I also took French as an elective. I was the only sophomore in the class and the rest were juniors and seniors who had abandoned Latin. There was a certain mystique to study French ever since the seminary hired Miss Lundi to teach French, who was partly responsible for me enrolling in her class. Ever since I was little, I had this desire to be fluent in at least ten languages. So, there I was anticipating studying Spanish and French. However, when I returned to the seminary from summer vacation, I heard the rumor that Miss Lundi would not be returning to Divine Heart Seminary. The details of the rumor were sketchy, which made it even more salacious! The previous year, Miss Lundi had found a teacher’s pet who was an all-around varsity jock in his senior year. He was tall and muscular and as hairy as a caveman. Rumor had it that their friendship blossomed into a full-blown romantic tryst. But for the fact that he was already eighteen years old, no crime had been committed. However, Miss Lundi was not asked to return to the seminary.
Well, we were all abuzz wondering who would now teach us French. We also wondered who would be lucky enough to become the French teacher’s pet. We were all full of hope and elevated expectations. On my way to my first day of French class, I could sense that there was a lot of excitement in the hallway. In fact, a couple of upperclassmen rushed past me to get good seats in the classroom. In the process, they bumped into me, and my glasses fell off my face. Another student ran past me and accidentally stepped on my glasses. I picked up the pieces and put them in my pocket since I could no longer wear them. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I would soon learn. Well, when I walked into the classroom, the class was staring at the new French teacher. The whole classroom smelled of expensive French perfume. She was hot! Only I couldn’t really be sure without my glasses. I was judging her based on the reactions of my classmates who were so painfully obvious as to how they felt about her. She had long black hair, blue eyes, a svelte figure, and beautiful legs. Oh, yes, I am a leg man! I may not have learned much French that year, but I did learn that I am a leg man! Much to the dismay of the students in the front row right by the new French teacher, she immediately assigned desks by alphabetical order. As luck would have it, I was stuck all the way in the back row in the corner at a desk with horrible sight lines. She immediately began the class by introducing herself in French and the entire class of adolescent boys just melted, this author included. Actually, “melted” is not the most accurate word to describe our physical reactions as teenage boys with an over-active libido, if you know what I mean.
She sashayed back and forth across the classroom as she spoke. All eyes followed her back and forth as if watching the French Open. Within minutes, she began writing things on the blackboard in French. While her back was turned some of the students silently made irreverent and obscene gestures, but they stopped immediately when she turned to face the class again. She told us to copy what she had written on the board. Without my glasses, I couldn’t read a word. I asked her if she could read the board aloud. She gave me a quizzical look and I explained that my glasses were broken and I couldn’t read the board from the back of the room. She immediately moved me to the desk in the front row directly in front of her desk. The student whom I displaced was relegated to my desk in the back row and hated me for the rest of the academic year. To this day, I’m afraid that I will bump into him in some dark alley for fear of how he might avenge himself on me for the loss of the best desk in French class.
I took my glasses to the optometrist for repairs, but I wouldn’t get them back for two weeks. Two weeks! For two weeks, I sat in the front row of French class, and I still couldn’t read the board. I would copy the questions from the board and ask her if I had copied them correctly. She would stand at my side and bend over to read my notebook. Well, she had spent the previous summer in Paris and done a little shopping at many boutiques, so she had quite a wardrobe of the latest Parisian fashions. She wore low-cut dresses with high hemlines. She said that her dresses were décolleté, which if I remember correctly is French for, “I think I’ll show off my breast today!” So, when she bent over to check my notebook, I was exposed to quite a scenic view. Soon, the rest of the class was asking her to check their work, too. Every boy vied to become the teacher’s pet. But she was too wise for them and soon stopped checking everyone’s work.
When I finally got my glasses back, our assigned desks were ours for the rest of the semester! She never even noticed that I was wearing my glasses now. When I finally got a good look at her with my glasses, I felt as if I had been blind until then. What I had imagined her to look like from a distance without my glasses correcting my nearsightedness paled in comparison with her actual beauty. She truly looked like a runway model who had walked of the pages of a French fashion magazine. Why was she teaching French at a Catholic seminary? Well, rather than question God’s infinite wisdom, I decided to enjoy my newfound vision that felt like the superpower of a comic-book hero. The beauty of the whole situation was that she spent most of the class sitting on her desk directly in front of me. Her dresses were marvels of fashion design. Like a good French composition, they were long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep it interesting. When she sat on her desk, her dress reminded me of the tidal movements of the ocean. Just as when the ocean causes a high tide on one shore, the waters will recede on another. So, too, her dress would emulate tidal movements. And I had the best seat in the house! If she wriggled too much while sitting on her desk, her skirt would recede up her thighs. If she pulled her skirt down too far, she would expose too much of her breasts. But the absolute highlight of the class came when she sat on her desk and would forget that she was sitting in front of twenty libidinous adolescent boys. She would actually cross her legs at the knees. As I sat right in front of her, I could see the color of her panties. After class, everyone would surround me and ask me what color they were. I was the pride and envy of French I.
That was the best French class I ever took, but I never did learn to speak French! Other than, “Je ne sais pas.”