When I was in First Grade, Mrs. Barrell (accent on the 2nd syllable) taught us how to make candles, cook spaghetti sauce, and write letters to the Swedish trolls who lived on her desk. Now, I realize that last item might be a little problematic in the pedagogical scheme of things, but we loved her and those colorful wood dolls that looked a little like this:
Minus the goat.
Word by the cubbys was Mrs. Scott, the music teacher, was the real author behind those replies to "Are you old or young? If you are Swedish, where did you learn English? Why do you freeze up when we come back from gym?"
After awhile, I think the whole notion of talking Swedish trolls began to freak some of us out, so Jens and Gunnar were relegated to a drawer. (From there, I'm assuming they grew up to become mascots for Expedia.com.)
We were very fortunate to have Mrs. Barrell again in Second Grade, where we were introduced to "Rabbit Rabbit," which must be uttered on the first day of the month for good luck. While I am not sure of the etymology of Rabbit Rabbit, I'm guessing it's probably Swedish for "Let me out, dammit!"
Facebook has made it possible to keep up with quite a few of my buddies from elementary school. We've had a few laughs over those trolls. And the spaghetti sauce. And the Christmas candles we dipped for our moms. And on the first of nearly every month, my friend Cam writes "Rabbit Rabbit to my bff" on my Facebook wall.
I'm sure Mrs. Barrell would get a kick out of that. Jens and Gunnar, too.