It’s Halloween night. Time for a seasonal mystery. Heckata Beckata looms large in my nearly non-existent memory of my childhood. I went to early elementary at a school I now, 40 years and more later, live less than a block from. I have children there. Nobody talks about Heckata Beckata now.
I remember Kindergarten. I remember the school’s Art teacher, who I think was a Mr. B—. Large, walrussy, with thick dark hair, and skintones like an old oak. He taught us that women’s shoulders were frequently straighter than men’s. I remember going outside in the autumn to draw houses we could see from the school’s front yard.
I remember the Library, and exactly where the book I loved best was shelved. At some time, during the years between my own childhood and my childrens’, the Library was converted to the Art room, and the Library was moved to a pair of classrooms whose shared wall was knocked out. When I was young, my favorite book was shelved in a book case tucked toward the back, beyond some tall free-standing cases, on the wall next to the emergency exit, slightly above my eyeline. I checked it out several times in the few years I was a student there.
I remember some times on the playground. I remember a few moments in the classrooms. I remember some lunches. The lunch tables would be locked into place, Murphy bed-style, most of the day, when the room was the Gym. I was a poor climber of the pole, but pretty good at skipping. The parts of the building where my Library and my Gym were has been removed–converted into a loop driveway–and school busses now drop students off by the schools’ new front door.
The children in the above picture are now all middle-aged women and men. To the best of my knowledge, only Mrs. Peterson has passed away.
I believe this blog post is the first entry on the open web featuring Heckata Beckata. For the past several years, I have made FB posts around Halloween-time to my friends looking for answers to this mystery.
Is Heckata Beckata a thing early elementary teachers in the mid-1970’s knew about? Or only one equally mysterious teacher in a small school, in a small town, in West Michigan? I have very few memories of my early schooling, and none of Heckata Beckata. I don’t, at this moment, even have any of Mrs. Peterson.
Do you know Heckata Beckata? Put your info in the comments. Please. And thank you.