Meet Mandy Kuhlman. A seemingly balanced and healthy 21-year-old on the outside, Mandy is traumatized on the inside, unable to tell the real world from that of a commercial. "Wanna know about Mrs. Seong?" Mandy says over the phone to me last week. "Meet me at the Madison Street McDonald's in an hour."
Madison Street McDonald's, a quiet sticky booth in the corner, March 28, 2002: "Oh yeah, I know her," says Mandy, opening up after a few cups of bad coffee. "She was my music teacher at Brigadoon Elementary in Federal Way from kindergarten to fifth grade." (I called Brigadoon and indeed, Mrs. Seong taught music there before transferring to Einstein.) According to Mandy, Mrs. Seong started every day of music class the same way. "She would stand up and say, 'Okay, class, repeat after me: A Pizza Hut, a Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut--McDonald's, McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut!'"
"That's amazing," I say.
"Oh yeah, totally. We had a dance that went along with it too," says Mandy. "My mom hated it. It goes like this--check it out." Mandy springs up from the booth and proceeds to sing the Pizza Hut song at the top of her lungs while performing an accompanying dance. (See photo.)
"God I can't believe... I remember that... after all these years," says an out-of-breath Mandy, sliding back into the sticky McDonald's booth. According to Mandy, Mrs. Seong was a weird but well-intentioned teacher just trying to get bored kids into music. "We sang some song about recycling too," she adds. "You know what's interesting though," says Mandy, leaning in close, speaking at a whisper. "I had her all those years, and then one day in fifth grade, she just vanished. No warning, no nothing. All of a sudden, we had a new music teacher."
Probably called back to Pizza Hut for another assignment.
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