I just heard of the passing of Madame Woolf, who was our headmistress in Hasmonean High School for Girls. She hadn’t been well for a while but the finality of her death is hitting home.
It’s been 20 years since I graduated. But the memory doesn’t fade. She was an integral part of my teenage years. She was strict and stern and as students in the first year of high school we were scared of her. By the end of high school we saw her as a human being who had a wonderfully soft side. When she smiled her whole being lit up.
We have many Mme Woolf stories, that still make us laugh to this day. My favourite is from when we were in the 4th form (9th grade). One of our classmates had hidden in the supply cupboard in our classroom, as a lark. Of course we were all aware of it, and I think the idea was for her to stay there quiet as long as possible, and in the middle of class just pop out of the cupboard. What we hadn’t counted on was that our hilarity made a lot of noise, and that noise summoned Mme Woolf to our classroom. Oops. Let’s just say that Mme Woolf somehow realized that there was a person in the cupboard… Now, looking back, I feel sure that she had to swallow some laughter and that it took quite some effort on her part to keep her stern face from showing any hint of merriment.
Because she was French, she had an accent that us pesky schoolgirls loved to make fun of behind her back. I can still hear certain key phrases in my head, all these years later. I know I must have had to go to her office a time or two – I was not a perfect student. But I don’t remember those occasions. The picture I have of her in my head she is smiling, and that is how I will remember her.
Rest in peace, Madame Woolf, rest in peace.