I bumped into one of my old teachers at a concert the other evening. I say “old” in that she was previously my teacher, and also because she retired shortly after I was in her class (I have that effect on people) and when I saw her she said, “Give me a hand here, I’m old.”
She also said, “Amanda, you can call me Mary.”*
To which I responded, “Why?”
It was a half-moment later when I realized she wanted me to call her Mary because that was her legal first name, and not because she was toying around with some fun nickname in her senior years. In my mind, her asking me to call her Mary was the same as me saying, “My name is Amanda, but you can call me Apple Juice” – because, up until that second, I was 100% certain her first name was Mrs., last name Carlson.
“Oh,” I said. “No, I can’t.”
Listen, I am well-aware that teachers are normal people. Several of my high school friends work at the very school we attended together. One of those friends is one of the principals, and he and I spent the entire bus ride on a tenth-grade class trip to Minneapolis singing all the verses to American Pie over and over and over again just to be annoying. I also have a few friends who teach elementary school, including one with a child the same age as my youngest – and when we sit together at football practice inevitably one of the little teammates will come running up to say, “Hi, Mr. Johnson!” And I’ll think, “Who on earth is this kid talking to?”
However, something happens in my brain the moment someone hands me a worksheet and says, “Show your work.” What happens is that the “someone” ceases being a person and starts being a teacher.
Both of my sons’ current teachers are quite a bit younger than me – one of them is so much so that I could potentially be her “tested my boundaries in junior high” mother or old former babysitter. That particular teacher shares a first name with a Disney Princess, which she uses when she signs her regular communication to us parents in her classroom app. If anyone is going to FOR SURE use a Disney Princess name in real-life it’s me; except that 100% of our conversations have gone like this:
Teacher: Hi, I’m Snow, Six’s teacher.
Me: Hi, Mrs. White.
Maybe I have such trouble calling teachers by their first name because the only time I have ever been called Mrs. Kosior was at my wedding – and I think part of the reason no one calls me Mrs. Kosior is because no one can pronounce it.
“Kosior” looks like it is pronounced KOE-SEE-ORE or KOJ-WAHH, depending on an individual’s proclivity towards the French language. If you type it into a phonetic translator, it comes out KOE-SHER. The actual pronunciation plucked from the Polish soil from which it sprang is KOE-SJER, because no one likes an inside joke like the Poles. I’ve been a Kosior for 15 years, and exactly one person has gotten it right on the first try…because it turned out he knew another one of the bountiful number of Kosiors that populate the world. Usually, though, most first-time interactions with my last name go something like the time my husband’s cousin, Landon Kosior,** played in his first NHL pre-season game. “The puck is passed to Landon…” the announcer called, and stopped. “Um…Koe…see…ore?”
My maiden name is Silverman, which is pronounced SILVER-MAN. No one has ever mispronounced Silverman. My bubble was popped the day I went to the DMV to have my driver’s license changed to my married name.
“Amanda Koe-seer?” They called from behind the counter.
I laughed, and admired my license.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. “My name is actually spelled K-O-S-I-O-R, not I-E-R. Kosior.”
The DMV employee apologized, and took the license back.
“Koe-sore?” They called a few minutes later.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said, once again. “It’s K-O-S-I-O-R, not O-I-R. Kosior.”
The third time was the charm.
“Amanda?” They called.
Fast-forward many years later, and my former teacher introduced me to her concert companion.
“This is Amanda,” she said, and then, “I suppose it’s not Silverman anymore. What’s your name?”
“Kosior,” I said.
“What was that?” She leaned in.
“You know,” I said, “You can call me Amanda.”
The photo above is of my dear Mr. Kosior and me at the concert. That is not his hat.
This week’s news has a canoe trail, a tyrannosaur, and a 111th birthday girl. Read on.
The Northern Lights were on full display last week; check out the photos! (KX Net)
North Dakota is about to have its first official trail for kayakers and canoeists extending from Griggs County to Richland County, including ten new landings along the way. (Fargo Forum)
Grand Forks high school students are learning a trade by building a 3,100-square-foot house on the south end of town. (Grand Forks Herald)
Know yourself a teenage smartie pants? North Dakota Mensa is seeking essays for their annual scholarship program – and you don’t need to be a Mensa member, nor have perfect grades or a financial need. (Devils Lake Journal)
The Badlands Dinosaur Museum in Dickinson will soon have a new friend – a 76-million-year-old tyrannosaur from Montana. (KFYR TV)
And the Dakota Zoo will also have a new pal – Shay, a male African penguin. (KFYR TV)
Happy 111th birthday to North Dakota’s oldest resident (and grandmother to 19, great-grandmother to 35, and great-great grandmother to 12): Clarabell Demers! (Fargo Forum)
* While Amanda is my real name, none of the other names in this are factually accurate to the person represented.
** Except for this one, which is also his real name.