I look at the clock on the side wall and it is almost noon. This is good because the seat is getting hard, my stomach is growling and I am ready for some fresh air. Mrs. Lurvey opens the windows at the back of the room, but very little air comes through.
Mrs. Lurvey stands in front of the room and tells us we are dismissed and to walk single file out of the room. My friend, Kay, goes home for lunch, so I take my brown bag off the shelf and with some other kids, go to the side hill. This is the first time I have ever eaten lunch on the side hill, as this is reserved for the big room. There are no laws written as such, but we just know that is the way it is. I take out my biscuit with the peanut butter and jelly and before long, the village dog comes to us, wagging his tail. I don’t know who he belongs to, but every day we sit outside, he makes the rounds of each group and we all give him something to eat. He is such a nice dog and I am sure he has a nice home, but if he has, why does he always look hungry? I worry about little things and Ma has called me a “worry-wart” ever since I can remember.
There are swings on top of the hill for the sixth, seventh and eighth graders. I haven’t used them as they look pretty big and go pretty high. At recess, I have always gone to the other side of the building which has a “teeter board” and swings for the younger kids. It feel strange to be here. I guess all we have are the swings and a small flat place where we can play ball.
Now that I am in the big room, we are allowed to go to the two stores in town at noon, but we must tell the teacher. We have been told to walk down the sidewalk, stay on the left, then on to the main street on the sidewalk. We must never take the short cut across the little brook to main street. Mrs. Lister has the post office in her home and she does not like us crossing past the post office. She complains to the school when we do; however, if any of the kids are late, isn’t it better to run through the short cut than to go all the way around ? Doesn’t make sense to me, but then, I do not want to get in trouble with Mrs. Lurvey.
Today I have a nickel and Lenona says she will walk with me to the store. Should we go to Mr. Vallee’s store? We will have to cross Route 26 and the Merrill Transport trucks come speeding through town. She grabs my hand and we run across and up the long cement stairs. To the left are all the boxes of penny candies. I want to buy enough to share with Kay when she comes back from lunch, but there are so many to choose from. I will get some of the 2 for a penny kind. There are the little squares called Kix that last forever. I could get a roll of Necco wafers, but that will take my whole nickel. I finally choose the wax bottles with the liquid inside because we can chew the wax after we drink the juice and the rest in Mary Jane’s. Mr. Vallee is a very nice man and smiles. He knows Ma and Dad because they get their groceries there. Maybe next time, I will just stay on the sidewalk and go straight up the hill to Cass Howe’s store. That way, I won’t be scared out of my wits when I have to cross the street.
I hear the bell ringing and sure enough, there is Mrs. Lurvey, bell in hand, swinging it wildly on the little front porch. We run the last few steps into the school and I plop in the seat. I slip Kay a couple pieces of candy while the teacher is arranging her afternoon schedule.
I am saving my candy until I get home this afternoon. I don’t dare eat it in school, but I wish I could have had time to at least eat one piece before getting back into this hard seat. I cram the little brown bag into my desk along side the other books and papers. I do not have a neat desk, but I know where everything is. Mrs. Gunther is coming in from the middle room to teach hygiene. There is another boring subject but I will try to get through it. I am very careful to behave when she is around as well, because last year she grabbed my hair and think I went right up straight with her doing the pulling.
Soon we will be getting on the bus again and wending our way down by the four ponds to home. I will start the fire, if Roland isn’t home, and peel the potatoes. Rex will go out back and use the buck saw to get enough wood to keep the fire going for another day. The best part is that it isn’t cold yet and we don’t have to wade in snow to do our chores.
By the time, Ma and Dad come from the mill, everything will be ready except for Ma getting out the frying pan and plopping whatever she has in it to go with the potatoes.
I have found the best part of school is making friends and the noon hour. I don’t think I’ll tell Ma that , though.