“Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Yo, Yo…”

Ta, ta, tee-tee, ta…

To all my siblings who went to George E. Harris Elementary, today I had flashbacks of our old music teacher Mr. Kriski (sp?). I’ve been taking the Chunks to a music class with my friend “Van” for the past two weeks. They have all these cute little activities that help develop rhythm, or review colors, or teach the range of notes, or whatever. Today there is a segment where a gal reviewed the duration of notes, and she totally bust out with calling a quarter note “Ta” and a 16th note “Tiki” and a half note “Ta-a”….

I couldn’t believe it. Mr. Kriski lives on. That’s when the flashbacks started. Except, he called a 16th note “tee-tee.” On the way home I was singing. “Ta ta tee-tee ta terry-terry tee-tee ta ta.

Then I started singing the train song “‘Panaca, Panaca, no one’s from Panaca!’ ‘My Mother’s from Panaca’ ‘Whoops pardon me!’ Hear that train go clickety-clack….” Guy, if you could finish the song for me, it would be much appreciated.

So now the question is, where is that scary little man that tip-toed across the music room teaching rhythm and beat that will never be forgotten? Where is that man that yelled at children in such a terrifying way so that when he asked you “Why did you do that?!” you knew to never shrug your shoulders (no matter how meekly or with whatever amount of humiliation) because he would just yell “DON’T shrug your shoulders at me!” He was such a great music teacher, but I will remember the fear instilled in me just as much as the lessons on the duration of notes. I will never forget the duration of notes. So, where are you Mr. Kriski?


I was always in the back row of his class because he seated us from shortest to tallest.

The soapy bucket where kids would dip their recorder, swish it around and then leave it in a bin to dry. Gross (I brought my own recorder from home…probably bought for previous siblings who wanted to avoid the same thing).

The Halloween song

The School theme song.

The xylophones

“Harris Singers”

Oh ya, Mr. Bissel (sp?)

I last saw Mr. Kriski when I was in high school. I went with my friend to The Meadows School to pick up her little sister. We went inside to go into her classroom and Mr. Kriski was standing by his classroom door. He was seriously a head shorter than me. Seriously. I couldn’t believe it. All those images of this scary, towering man were, well, not gone….I was just confused. Here he was, like, 5’2″ yet in my childhood he made me feel like he could crush me with his bare (yet dainty) hands. Oh, by the way, Mr. Bissel was at that school too. Did you know he was a shorty, too?

I feel the need to create a special VH1 episode of “Where Are They Now?”

15 minutes later, Post Script:

I just looked up the two of them on Google. I somehow remembered that Mr. Kriske’s (yes I’ve learned it’s with an “e”) first name was Jeff. He and Mr. Bissell are still at The Meadows School. Guess what grade Mr. B teaches? Also, Mr. Bissell is on RateMyTeacher.com and his ratings sound like some of our siblings descriptions. One of the ratings said “He doesn’t even teach you. All he does is talk with Mr. Kriske.” I’m sure that first part, coming from a student, is exaggerated, but that second part cracks me up. Oh, and Mr. Kriske has his own line of curriculum books on teaching music. He looks like a bigwig in the music teaching circuit.

Why am I wasting my time telling you this? Because I really thought they were dead. That just goes to show a child’s warped perception. I thought they were super tall and I thought they were super old.

The End.


4 responses

  1. Guy

    “Hear that train go clickity clack
    Whistles and it shakes as it moves down the track.
    Where you going ma’am?
    Panaca, Panaca!
    No one’s from Panaca Ma’am
    My mother’s from Panaca sir
    Oops, Pardon Me!”

    Ok, you are cracking me up. Scarry high-strung Mr. Kriske freaked me out too. I remember that on occasion he would talk to you like an adult, but you’d still pick your words carefully and wouldn’t really know how to respond because you thought he’d flip out all of a sudden. Gee, I wonder if he will read this…

    “Stirring and stirring and stirring my brew
    Stirring and stirring and stirring my brew
    Tick, tock, tick, tock, BOO!”

    The song was whispered until you yelled “BOO” at the end. Interesting that he wrote it because that’s pretty much how things would unfold when he’d freak out.

    April 3, 2008 at 10:55 pm

  2. Guy

    Oh yea, and one more thing- did a passenger train even ever go through Panaca?

    April 3, 2008 at 11:13 pm

  3. For some reason, I picture Mr. Kriski like that mad scientist from Back to the Future, except shorter and daintier. And gay.

    I grew up tortured by ta ta tee tee ta. Hated it.

    Oh, and the whole soapy bucket recorder thing? That’s just sick.

    April 4, 2008 at 6:03 pm

  4. Well, I always assumed Mr. Kriske died of either constipation from being so uptight or, an autoimmune disease caught primarily by men of a certain persuasion, if you know what I mean.
    Mr. Bissell on the other hand….LOVED him because he didn’t really do anything! I have some of my fondest school memories in his class, and making those big old yarn things where you wrap the yarn around the sticks that were tied together in the middle…what are those called? My mom still has mine hanging up in her bedroom, because it is too cool to throw away and I am her favorist child. Thanks for the memories, La, and the knowledge that no one is dead.

    May 8, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s