Hope everyone has had an excellent week! I cannot believe we are in August already. WHERE did the summer go? School is upon us, so I thought another “going to school” story would be in order…
I have twin sisters who are three years older than me (something I like to remind them of on occasion…). Being older meant they got to go to school before me. They would come home each afternoon telling me of all the activities, events, and fun times they were having. I just could NOT wait until I was old enough to go to school. I pictured myself sitting in a little desk, learning how to write, add and subtract, having such fun at recess, and making a lot of new friends. The day finally came around and my dream came true…I was going to school! For some reason, however, it just did not turn out as I had planned. I got THREE zeros (out of a possible score of 100), AND I got a spanking on the first day! You won’t be able to guess what it was for….OK, I’ll tell you…TALKING!!
We were in our little reading circle, and the teacher was called out of the room for a moment. Before she left, she told us to remain quiet (which I guess is the meaning of “not talking”). Of course, as soon as she vacated the room, I could not possibly have sat there and kept my mouth shut. (Those of you who know me personally, know this to be true…) I started talking, and as a result, all of us in the reading circle were talking when the teacher returned. She simply went over, got her little paddle, and “made the circle,” lightly tapping each of our legs. I was devastated! However, I learned a valuable lesson that day: you don’t talk when the teacher leaves the room and has told you NOT to talk. As an aside, I will tell you that throughout my school years, I had to write the sentence, “I will not talk in class.” about a zillion times…And by the way, I ended up having the teacher, Ms. Bertie, for first and second grade, and loved her so much that we kept in contact till her death (and she lived to be 90+). She taught me more than I can convey, but that is not really the story for this week. It is just the “lead in.”
My family was poor. We never lacked food or clothing, or any other item that was a “necessity,” however, there was never any money left for “frivolities.” We were rich in family and love! (And to be honest, I did not KNOW we were poor until I became an adult…) When I went to school that first year, I saw students who had EVERYTHING…the neatest erasers, the neatest notebooks, the neatest book sacks. As a young child, it was extremely hard not to notice those things. This one kid (and I will be honest, I cannot remember whether it was a boy or girl) had a way cool notebook. I would watch them open it, write in it, close it, and place it in the little “cubby hole” under their desk seat. I coveted that notebook. I dreamed about that notebook. I wanted that notebook. And I was going to get it….One day, the notebook was left out, unattended. No one was in the classroom, and certainly no one was watching me. I grabbed that notebook, placed it in my little cubby hole, and sat with my jacket covering the seat of my desk, so that no one could see the stolen item. The minute I took it, I felt horrible; however, I wrapped it up in my jacket and took it home with me. Once I got the notebook home, I hid it in my room from my sisters and parents. I could not even look any of them in the eye. I was so ashamed of what I had done, that I could not tell anyone about it…and I certainly could not USE the notebook. I was so filled with guilt and remorse, and I couldn’t return the stolen property, without confessing what I had done, so I just threw the notebook away where no one would find it. I never stole anything from anyone EVER again for the rest of my life. Lesson learned.
Now here is the kicker to that story…to this very day, I wish I could have confessed to that person, and asked their forgiveness. If I knew who the person was, I would track them down, right now, tell them the story, apologize, and ask them to forgive me. It has bothered me that much! There are very few incidents in my life that I regret, but this is one of them…I knew right from wrong, and I knew that you NEVER took something that did not belong to you. It was not, and is not, who I am. You see, I DO have a conscience. I think you should earn what you have, not just take it from someone else. Won’t you join me? Just for this week….