Later that evening, we watched, “It’s the great pumpkin Charlie Brown.” Halloween was next week. What a great holiday. Dressing up and going door-to-door and getting candy. It was every kid’s dream.
The next day when I arrived in Mrs. Whitlock’s classroom, I noticed a bunch of kids over by Dave. He was making Snoopy laughing noises like the TV show last night. “Aha ha ha ha,” he imitated repeatedly, making everyone laugh. Everyone except Mrs. Whitlock.
“That’s enough, Dave.”
“One more time,” Mike begged.
“Mike, that’s a checkmark for you, in fact, now you have three checkmarks. You will be eating your lunch alone in the music room today.”
We froze in place and glanced around at each other.
“Okay, it’s time for English,” Mrs. Whitlock informed us.
After English, we lined up for lunch. We marched in our perfect line down to the cafeteria, and got our lunches. Mrs. Whitlock grabbed Mike by his upper arm and led him into the music room. “You will eat your lunch in here,” she said as she pushed him into the music room, and locked the door.
“But I have to go to the bathroom,” Mike pleaded.
“You can go later.”
After we ate lunch, we lined up and followed Mrs. Whitlock back to the music room to get Mike.
Mike came out of the music room, holding his tray, with two little poops on the plate where the food had been. Mrs. Whitlock’s mouth dropped open and her eyes bulged out of her head. We broke into laughter.
“That’s enough!” Mrs. Whitlock took control back quickly. “Let’s go.” She led us back to class.
Once we were settled into our seats, the heat kicked on for the first time all year. The pile of scrap paper on the top of the radiator flew across the room as the air rushed through. Papers flew in disarray all over the back of the classroom. We erupted with laughter.
“Lance, would you please go back and straighten the papers?”
“Of course, Mrs. Whitlock.”
Brenda turned to watch Lance pick up the papers. He didn’t notice; he was busy with his task.
Mrs. Whitlock said, “You can all learn a lot from Lance. He’s very studious.” She then repeated her poem:
“If a task is once begun
Never leave it ‘til it’s done
Be the labor great or small
Do it well or not at all.”
It was a few weeks before Christmas. Mrs. Whitlock looked up at the class. “I would like everyone who is able to ask your parents to donate 25 cents so that we can buy a tie for Mr. Egerton the janitor for Christmas. Bring the money up first thing in the morning and I will check your name off the list.”
“I think she has a crush on him,” Brenda whispered to Terri.
“Two old fogies. Ha!” Terri giggled.
Mrs. Whitlock explained. “His wife passed away a year ago. He doesn’t have any family in the area. You see him every day sweeping and mopping the school hallways. He works very hard and it would be nice if we show him some appreciation.”
Suddenly, a siren shrieked and Mrs. Whitlock ordered us to line up. Crackle. “This is a civil defense drill,” Mr. Seagull, the principal said. “Please follow your teacher’s instructions.”
“We are going to file out of the classroom and into the hallway. Line up against the wall.” We complied.
Miss Karr took over, speaking through a bullhorn. “Turn and face the wall, kneel down, sit on your feet. Interlace your hands in back of your head, elbows on the sides of your head, and bend forward. Now stay still.”
The siren shrieked again. We grumbled about the loud noise. “Stay quiet,” Miss Karr instructed. “If our country is ever attacked, we need to know these safety measures, in case the building is ever bombed.”
Coming up behind us, I heard the footsteps of Mr. Seagull. He inspected to see that we were in full compliance of our orders. “Okay, you may return to class now.” Sighs of relief echoed in the hall.
“Shh, no talking,” Mrs. Whitlock reminded us.
Back in the classroom, we continued with our fascinating read of how Bob saved up his allowance so he could buy a new tie for his father.