The Year With Mrs. Whitlock

We had one strange kid in class, his name was Charles, not Charlie, or Chuck or Chad. No nickname. No intimacy.

He smelled a little funny, like he didn’t bathe very often. He didn’t really have any friends, but didn’t seem to know any better either.

He read very slowly. Although we were in fifth grade, he was on a First Gradereading level.

Mrs. Whitlock had a special place in her heart for Charles. He sat in the front row, center, so that he was directly in front of the blackboard. She gave him the simple sentences to read. She spoke slowly and kindly to him.

Every time that Charles was absent from school, she would explain to the class that Charles was “different” and that we should be nice to him and patient with him.

I don’t remember anyone going out of their way to be mean…

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