The days are long now in mid-November. There is enough snow to make walking miserable from our door to the main road for the bus. Once the bus comes, we huddle together on the wooden benches and with the little heat escaping from the front, manage to keep warm. Most of us live in houses heated by wood stoves anyway, with a lot of the heat escaping through cracks to the great outdoors, so any heat is welcome on the way to school.
I hate getting bundled up to go to school. It feels like ten layers as I peel them off in the school hall way. Mrs. Lurvey is seated at her desk and I can tell she is ready for the day’s lessons in all three grades she teaches. Sometimes, if I get my work done, I listen to her teach the other two grades and learn a lot. I figure next year when I go into the seventh grade, I will already know some of the arithmetic and geography and other subjects she writes on the blackboard.
I sit behind Kay, as I have done for many years and we are best friends. But, aha, she is also Rex’s girl friend, I think and has been for a few years now. I don’t ask him because he will deny it anyway. She has been writing a note for some time now and I bet she is going to try pass it to Rex. Well, she knows how strict Mrs. Lurvey is about note passing, but maybe she can time it right .
Rex is passing by handing out papers for us to work on and Kay slips him a note. I stare straight ahead, but oh, no! Mrs. Lurvey has seen her. Now what will happen? I don’t want them getting a strap on the hand. I think she has other ideas because she is in a corner by her desk, where she hangs her coat and is tying something around her waist. I don’t dare stare, but she is calling Kay and Rex to the corner.
I cannot believe it! She has an apron on and has tied one of Rex’s hands to one string and Kay’s to the other. They are tied to her apron strings and they have to follow her around as she teaches. How embarrassing is that! Kay seems to be taking it much better than my brother, who is staring down at his shoes and his face is red.
I am very busy, pencil to the paper and finishing up some arithmetic. I don’t want Mrs. Lurvey thinking I have anything to do with the note passing. I have no idea how long it has been because I won’t even look at the clock, but my stomach is growling. No one has even snickered all the time they have followed her around…not even the big boys in the eighth grade. They know they will be the next to be tied or something even worse. I hear her announce it is time for lunch and the town kids are dismissed. Kay is untied and out the door she flies. She will be back by one o’clock and act as though not a thing has happened. Rex has come out to get his brown bag to take in as we eat at our desks this time of year.
We all will be so glad when we can go out in the school yard and sit in nice green grass to eat our lunch..what a long time off that is. Rex stopped coming out to eat about a week after school started. One day after school, I asked him where he was and he said he ate inside at his desk. I asked him why and he said one day he went in for something and Mrs. Lurvey was playing a record and he asked her if that was Sammy Kaye. She looked surprised and said it was and was he one of the Martins that liked music and were so musical. Well, Rex said he told her that yes, he was and she asked him if he would like to listen to some records at noon if she brought them from home. He jumped at the chance and after that, til snow flew, he ate with Mrs. Lurvey while they listened to the big band sounds of Guy Lombardo and Sammy Kaye. He made me promise not to tell the other kids and they never found out where he was.
So, today, I reckon it’s a good thing there is snow on the ground and no promise of big band music, because I don’t think Rex could look her in the face after looking at her back all morning. It proves to me that Mrs. Lurvey has no favorites. If you’re good, she is kind and thoughtful, but you have to obey her rules or else. It doesn’t matter if you’re musical and love the same music she does, she is the ruler of her classroom. I don’t think Rex will forget that right away.
One thing for sure…we won’t be discussing today’s happenings at home tonight. Some things are better left unsaid.