In the middle row, in the front seat of our sixth-grade classroom sat Eddie, the class clown. About three seats back and in the row to the left, sat I. Our teacher, Mr. Matthews, sat behind his desk which was placed front and center facing the class. At the beginning of each day when Mr. Matthews stood up we knew it was time to say the Pledge of Allegiance. He followed the pledge by reading a passage from the bible. Then, the class sang the first verse of My Country tis of Thee. On this particular day, our usual English lesson was postponed. Rather, Mr. Matthews told us to clean out our desks.
One by one I took a book out and placed it on my seat. I was kneeling in order to get eye level with the inside of a dark mish-mosh of school related stuff. Spelling papers, with 100% printed in red at the top, along with unfinished math worksheets were pulled from the rubble. Notices that I was supposed to have taken home appeared. An overdue library book, with its cover now bent, slid out. After indistinguishable papers, broken pencils and crayons were retrieved, I reached my arm into the recesses of the dark corners of my desk.
“EWWW,” I felt something squishy. I wriggled my nose and with trepidation I used the ends of my fingers to maneuver whatever lurked inside. I knew I had to get it out. When it was almost outside of my desk I squirmed. It was a scrunched up brown paper lunch bag. Despite my hesitation, my curiosity got the best of me. I opened it. “Phew,” it was a moldy peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Instinctively I squashed the mushed bag shut. Hoping no one saw it, I shoved it under the books and papers already surrounding me on the floor.
Suddenly, I heard Eddie shout, “Here, take mine too!” As I looked up a pile of papers hit me. Gravity fell them to my feet. Angrily I waded up some paper and made a really tight ball. Then, I mustered up as much strength as I could. I pitched the best pitch of my life. The ball was streaming right toward Eddie.
Eddie ducked. My perfect pitch hit Mr. Matthews right between his eyes. No one was more stunned than I. In a soft voice, barely above a whisper, Mr. Matthews enunciated these words, “Go to the Office.”
Sheepishly my head hung down. I stared at the floor that led me out of the classroom, down the hall and into the Principal’s Office. I was scared. Next, I remember dad escorting me to the car. He muttered something about having to leave work to come and get me. I didn’t know what to say. The indignation of it all silenced me.
A few months later I became the only one in our class who Mr. Matthews did not pick to sing in the Christmas. Was the teacher getting revenge? I’ll save story for another blog.