The teacher, dripping scorn, was regaling us with stories about dreadful gifts she’d received over the years from children at Christmas. One child, she laughed, had actually presented her with a half-full bottle of perfume.

I tried to visualize this; in my head the little girl had a long plait of brown hair running down her back. I pictured her little hand reaching for the glass bottle; was it from her mother’s dressing table, an aunt’s bathroom cabinet; perhaps it was from the tester counter at the chemist?

And I imagined her taking it home to wrap for her teacher.

“What was it; the fragrance?” I asked the teacher.

“Oh, I don’t remember,” she said “a tacky thing. Coty or something …”


It would appear that this woman had taken up an urban legend and applied it as her own experience, perhaps she thought she was being wildly amusing.  Many people have commented on the story, saying they have heard different versions of it.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Val says:

    That hurt my heart. You said so much here Cin, about the cavalier attitudes of people who are blind to what is truly of value and how oblivious they are to the tarnished image they present to the feeling and thinking people around them. However tacky that brand of perfume may have been, it couldn’t possibly compare with her cheap shot a children for laughs. You are such a fine writer Cin.

  2. theonlycin says:

    Thank you Val, I could have slapped her.

  3. adeeyoyo says:

    I find it sad that people can be so hurtful! Brilliantly written.

  4. grandawn says:

    Grrrrrrr!!! I want to slap her, too. Well written, Cindy.

    It reminds me of a story we teachers passed among ourselves years ago for inspiration. There’s no proof that story was true. But it’s still a great inspirational story. I found it online: Sounds like the teacher in your experience needed to read this.

  5. nrhatch says:

    Wonderful imagery which evoked exactly the response you were looking for . . . scorn for the teacher’s scorn.

    But what if . . . the little girl didn’t pick out the gift?

    What if an unappreciative parent just grabbed something off the bureau and wrapped it up?

    When we change the story we’ve created in our heads, our reaction changes as well.

    1. nrhatch says:

      For teachers showing appreciation:

      ~ see the comments. : )

  6. granny1947 says:

    Wonderful as ever Cindy.

  7. izziedarling says:

    That woman needs to find another job – one where she works alone. Bleck!

  8. Sad that someone so clueless picked teaching as a profession!

    Thanks for visiting mine!

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