Why are the women always scarier than the men? The vamp, the villainess, the witch, the sorceress, the old crone! Powerful women, strong women, evil women… wicked women. The bride was far more frightening than the Frankenstein monster. The Snow Queen of Narnia, the Disney evil queen in Snow White, or worst of all, the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. As a kid, they all scared me to death!
Miss Cartwright is made up of the chromosomes of all of them. Big and horsey, loud and stern. Painted lips barking orders like a sergeant major…. the ‘Full Metal Jacket” experience for eight-year-olds. She was all of them with a heavy helping of Bette Davis thrown in for good measure. She was a Nordic Valkyrie, or a Celtic Boadacea, charging us children forward in the discipline of various team sports. This resulted in my lifelong apathy for athletics and an inability to ever snap a winning tape. If you couldn’t run fast enough or jump high enough you were considered second rate in all things. She was the warrior woman in command, and she commanded respect and maintained order through fear.
She scared me.