Thirty minutes late to start with and thirty minutes waiting for the Principal, Missus Lane, had put me in a bad mood. Granny seemed less perturbed than I, but then again, she didn’t have to stay all day. And, me, I was faced with the same thing that happened last year, a new school, a new room full of ugly babies and at least one bully.
Then, the new third grade with a room full of ugly babies, all at least six months younger than me, and a crone for a teacher. After the introduction, Granny left and I took the indicated seat at the rear of the room, the only one vacant.
“Uh, Miss Crone,” I asked as I held up my hand as I had so diligently learned to do in the first grade, “I cain’t see way back heah.” The room filled with laughter and I got mad real quick.
“Well, CB, you will have to stay there until we can re-arrange the room just for you,” Miss Crone piped. More laughter and now I was really mad cause I just knew she was making fun of me. I glared around the room.
“But, Miss Crone, I cain’t hear way back here, either,” I cried out.
“Now, CB, you are going to have to sit there until we finish the lesson and then we will see what we can do,” she said, waving a ruler at me. I hated rulers.
“Well, I ain’t gonna set back here ‘cause I cain’t hear and I cain’t see good. I’m going home,” I screamed, and gathered my Big Chief notebook and two yellow #2 pencils and my black lunch pail together and got out of the desk chair. I still don’t know why that damn chair fell over with a loud bang. By the time I got halfway to the door old Crone had hold of my arm.
“The only place you are going is to Miss Lane’s office, young man,” she griped, dragging me through the door. She damn near tore my arm off afore we got to the Principals office. The old hag done sacred hell outta me, you know.
A half hour waiting for Missus Lane to chew me out for being a bad boy let me get a little nap. I heard 'bout half of what she said and then it was down to Mrs. Brown’s room, Second Grade. I had been put back again. Last year I went from low second to high second to low third and back to high second all in the span of eight months. Didn’t learn a damn thing. And, now, gotta take second grade over cause I was a bad boy and couldn’t handle third grade, again.
I learned later that LaVega School was about two years ahead of South Waco School, academically, so being put back just one grade was a blessing I guess. I was only eight, to be nine in November of that year. And since I had learned to read and write before I had ever gone to school, I was far ahead of any of the LaVega kids anyway.
“Mrs. Brown, this little boy is CB and he needs to join your class,” Missus Lane told Mrs. Brown. And I was looking at the most beautiful elderly woman, outside of my own grandmother, I had ever seen. I knew she and I were going to get along a lot better than Miss Crone and me across the hall.
“Well, CB, it is so good to have you. Class, let’s all say hello to CB, shall we?” Mrs. Brown said as she held my shoulder so I could not run away. Then in chorus, almost, about thirty kids younger than me, whom I would later graduate high school with, cheered a hearty hello to me. I felt at home.
Mrs. Brown led me to a stool in the front of the room and she and I carried it over to the front row of desk chairs. I grinned as I sat there on that stool looking at Mrs. Brown and holding my Big Chief tablet and pencils. I looked around and all the class was watching Mrs. Brown as she talked. No body laughed at me here.
Just a little later, I heard Mrs. Brown say, “Is there anyone that would like to read this,” speaking about the ‘Run Spot Run’ book she held up to the class. I was the only one that held up a hand and I held it high for I wanted to be the one to read the book, a book I almost knew by heart.
“Oh, CB, can you read,” asked Mrs. Brown, looking at me with a white-toothed smile.
“Yes, Ma’am, I can read and write real good”, I said, beaming. Mrs. Brown motioned for me to come to her. Me being just a little sixty pounds grinning boy, Mrs. Brown helped me to her knee and positioned the book on her desk so that I could read it.
The whole room was silent as I easily read the entire book, giving emphasis to certain words. When I finished, the room filled with the sound of clapping as the kids cheered my reading. Mrs. Brown and me just grinned and beamed back at the class.
By the end of the first day in Mrs. Brown’s second grade class at my new school, I had shown my new lifelong friends that I could add and subtract numbers as well as draw pictures on the blackboard of the ones in the ‘Run Spot Run’ book. Life was wonderful right then. I walked home with about a half dozen new friends.
©Cayce B. Shelton