I saw a ladder leaned against an apple tree today, and was reminded of a paper I wrote in high school on Robert Frost’s poem “After Apple Picking.” It was back in the day when we were required to hand-write papers. I was really into the poem, and convinced that Frost was drawing correlations between harvesting apples and the passage of souls to heaven, or hell.
I was unable to convince my teacher of this however (Mrs. Smullen), and she argued my points through hand written comments of her own, growing in frustration with me as the paper progressed until she had finally gotten so upset she wrote in the margin, “Is God an apple?”
I got something like a B- on the paper, which was hard for a Gifted student to accept, being that English was my favorite subject. My dad agreed with the theory I put forth, and scheduled time to discuss it further with Mrs. Smullen. I was embarrassed by this, but appreciate now that my dad took the time to meet with her, and roll up his sleeves to talk poetry. My dad was a science teacher, so I can see Mrs. Smullen trying to bully him with her knowledge of English.
She said, “you’re reading between the lines so much you’re not reading the lines themselves anymore.” This is a good lesson for life.