Yma preschool teacher

Every year at this time I download my class roster and choke when I read the names.  This breaks the cycle of nightmares I have every summer about my first job in the hospital kitchen.  That's the nightmare where I've forgotten to check my work schedule and have failed to show up for my shift for about thirty-five years now, accumulating black marks all the while.

Now I can go into the back-to-school nightmare cycle.  On the first day of school we will sit around the Big Rug and introduce ourselves by saying our name and our age.  I read the downloaded roster and gauge how much of the semester I'll be tongue-tied.  Ian, this is Aymen.  Aymen, Ian. Aymen, this is Iman, Iman, Aymen. Ian, Iman. Iman, Ian.  Ava, this is Anson. Anson, Ava, Anson, Iman.  Iman, Anson.  Anson, please meet Ethan.  Ethan, Anson.  Ian, Ethan. Ethan, Ian....

That is why I dredge up Thomes Meehan's short story, "Yma Dream"  from the February 24, 1962 New Yorker * each August and laugh until root beer shoots out my nose.  I check out Christine Baranski's reading of the story on Selected Shorts Volume XVI:  Fictions for Our Times at my library.  And just by the way, thank heaven for libraries. Should I ever become a grandma, and ABSOLUTELY NO RUSH on that, guys, I'ma hoping for some baby names that don't start with vowels.

*ABSTRACT: In this dream, which the writer has had on the night of the full moon for the past 3 months, he is giving a cocktail party in honor of Yma Sumac, the Peruvian singer. Since all of his guests seem to know him rather intimately & do not know one another, Miss Sumac suggests that he introduce the guests only by their first name. The guests are: Ava Gardner, Abba Eban, Oona O'Neill, Ugo Betti, Ona Munson, Ida Lupino, the young Aga Khan, Ira Wolfert, Ilya Ehrenburg, Eva Gabor, & Uta Hagen. Complications arise when he has to make the introductions. "Yma, Uta; Yma, Ava; Yma, Oona; Yma, Ona; Yma, Ida; Yma, Ugo; Yma, Abba; Yma, Ilya; Yma, Ira; Yma, Aga; Yma, Eva." Miss Sumac becomes annoyed. The circle of guests move menacingly toward the writer. When the bell rings & it is the Polish concert pianist, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, the dream ends.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder

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