I believe it was when I was around 10 years old that I had an elderly elementary school substitute teacher who, one day, made quite the dramatic entrance: decked out from head to toe in a purple cardigan and terrycloth purple pants. Her eyes were coated in a layer of glittering purple eye shadow so dazzling that I found looking at them almost startling, like looking at freshly fallen snow in the sunlight. She would only let us write on the board with purple markers. I’m not quite sure where her fascination (borderline obsession!) with the color purple came from but I like to think that she was maybe the estranged purple Teletubby.
On a different occasion, another substitute rode to school on a penny-farthing. He was the sort of person who grew hair just about everywhere on his face (including a long, scraggly beard and quite the set of eyebrows) except for his head. As a teacher, he was relaxed enough to let us pick our own seats. Of course, the class would eventually descend into anarchy. While some teachers thought they were hip for wearing Chuck Taylors, he was the only teacher I encountered who was ever bold enough to wear a kilt. Certainly, we all looked forward to having him and his lovely plaid garments as a teacher for the day.
Another substitute teacher (it was always the substitutes!) looked strangely familiar, but I could not quite place from where I recognized him (possibly a celebrity?). He had his fair share of quirks, from the gallon size container of carrot juice he carried around to every classroom (it had “energizing” qualities, he claimed) to his need to display his trombone-playing skills (I do recall our class was particularly riveted by his rendition of the theme song to “The Simpsons”). It took some friends and I quite a while of brainstorming before we realized he was the splitting image of Tony Hawk, skateboarder extraordinaire, but with a receding hairline. To this day, I like to think that after pro-skateboarding, Tony Hawk secretly became a carrot juice fanatic and hobbyist trombone player.