My Teacher Wore Oven Gloves

Have you ever had someone enter your life that really made a difference when you were a child, validated your feelings or listened with concern when you spoke?

Perhaps it was a mentor, coach, Girl Guide leader; you get the idea. Reflect for a minute who that person was. For me, it was my high school home economics teacher, Mrs. Fox.

Each day I was greeted with a brilliant smile from her, and the only teacher throughout my entire schooling that I connected with.

I was emotionally abused by my narcissistic mother, forever feeling depressed, apathetic, sullen, despondent and isolated. Her home economics course, for grades eleven and twelve, included both cooking and sewing/crafts (this was back in the early 70’s when it was assumed girls who graduated would ultimately become secretaries or housewives!).

I loathed the Home. Ec. subject at first, along with every other subject excluding English, and dragged my butt to school daily. The cooking segment of these classes became boring, and I despised cooking. The sewing segment appealed more to me, as my grandmother taught me how to sew over the years. My only motivation for showing up at school was due to Mrs. Fox.

It was complex for even me to rationalize the feelings of depression and suicidal thoughts. Who at fifteen or sixteen wishes themselves dead and has nobody to support or empathize? Mrs. Fox had no inkling about my sexual or emotional abuse, or my narcissistic mother causing moods of depression and anger, and I felt unsafe trusting her or sharing my past.

Talking about sexual abuse in those days wasn’t as open as it is today, and it was uncommon that anyone took their children or teens to therapy.

Mrs. Fox took me under her wing, though, as I believe she sensed my struggle with loneliness, lack of self-confidence and perhaps recognized my depression. After school chats became frequent, and my greatest thrill, one I’ll never forget, is an invite to her house after school for a cooking lesson.

(I have a picture of her holding up her hands, with a bright smile, wearing red oven gloves.)

I felt special and cared about, unlike the way my mother treated me. Over time I noticed the depression lessening, began caring about myself, struggled hard to ignore my mother’s cruel words and thinking only positive thoughts. Having to say goodbye to Mrs. Fox after graduating was agonizing. Years later I got in touch with her and overjoyed when she and her husband attended my wedding.

Such a special woman whom I will never ever forget.

Did you ever have someone in your life that made you feel special, changing your life in some respect?

I’d love to hear your experiences!!!

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017


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I am a Mental Health Advocate for mental illness Stigma. In 2007, I created the "Living in Stigma" blog, with the purpose and anticipation of educating people about mental illness. Depression is part of this illness, which intertwines with those struggling with PTSD, chronic pain, and other invisible illnesses. I am a chronic migraine sufferer myself, and a sexual and emotional abuse survivor. My passions are writing, poetry, and art. All abuse Survivors are also Warriors.

8 thoughts on “My Teacher Wore Oven Gloves”

  1. It seems strange to write this, but I think my first husband was the one who taught me I could be loved. Our first four years together was very happy. He then got bored with me and started sleeping with other women. I finally left him. He did break my heart, but yes, he is the first person who made me see I could be loved.

    I had some nice teachers over my childhood days, but none that really stood out. I hated school. I hated being with people. Hated my life and wanted to die too, like you did. I did take sleeping pills when I was 14 or 15, can’t remember now. Wanted to kill myself after that too. That all went away when I met my first husband.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, she was a wonderful lady and thinking back I wished I could have had the trust in me to tell her what was going on, but as explained, in those days what could have she have done for me? Thanks for your lovely words. Hugs, Deb

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a beautiful read (obviously sad too!) I am so glad you had her during those years and how lovely she came to your wedding!! For me it was my nan who was kind to me – problem was that this caused all sorts of problems with my mother who was jealous of our relationship but she was kind and spoilt me. She stuck up for me, tucked me under blankets at her house and brought me naughty snacks and made me tea. I felt safe with her. Safe and loved and I often wonder what would have happened to me without her in my life. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My grandmother was a really special and a kind woman also, however, she lived with us, stayed in her room mostly, and kept quiet. Geez I wonder why? With all of mom’s rants and yelling at the time, I’d stay away also. She taught me how to sew, and we would giggle downstairs, and I think my mom was jealous.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Omg sounds about right!! Thing is, I think possibly my nan and mum had a strained relationship and that so could have been repeated with my (future) child because my mum wants to be super-nan now! Amazing xx


        1. I was unable to have children, but my nasty mom repeatedly said, “Deb, I don’t think you would have had the patience to be a parent, it takes a lot of work”. So there you go, I was always worthless in her eyes, no wonder I needed therapy. The narcissists’ don’t have a clue they are narcissists, so they go through life doing what they can to destroy you. But I’ve noticed from so many of my commenters and others that, they become elderly and want you there and can’t figure out why you are treating them this way by ignoring them? Kooky Sending Hugs x


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