School? Bah, Humbug!

Published 6:50 pm Friday, August 5, 2022

My best friend Betty Kay was six years old and she was going to first grade. I was only five. I had to stay home.

Betty Kay was going off to school and leave me with two little boys running around in dirty, stinky diapers and sugar sacks around their necks. It was time to throw a fit.

Mama didn’t take too kindly to fit throwing. She would reach up on top of the refrigerator and get the peach tree switch that lived up there, grab my arm and start whipping my bare, bird legs. I’d run around her, jumping, hollering and doing the switch dance. That didn’t work

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So, I decided the best chance I had of going to school was to pout.

I folded my arms, poked out my lips, closed my eyes and didn’t ’t say a word.

“I hope it doesn’t come a freeze with your face looking like that,” Mama said. But it was summertime so a freeze didn’t seem likely. So, I pouted … until Daddy came home.

Then, I changed my tune in a hurry.  Daddy didn’t mess around.

He told me that schools have rules. You have to be six years old to go. So, I could not go and there wasn’t anything else to say about it. I could throw fits and pout but I still couldn’t go so I’d better just myself straighten up.

Well, maybe I didn’t need to go to school because I was too little.

Betty Kay’s mama bought her some school dresses. I didn’t like to wear dresses so I didn’t care about that. But she got a blue writing tablet with a horse on it and a Roy Rogers book satchel. I cried.

A few days later, Mama said she had some good news. I could go to school!

There was a new law that five-year-old children could go to school. That was the happiest day of my life.

Maybe Mama went up there and threw a fit or pouted. But, whatever she did, it worked.

I got two new dresses, a blue writing tablet with a horse on it and a Gene Autry book satchel. Best of all, I got to go to school with Betty Kay.

But, nobody had told me that at school you had to sit down and be quiet and hardly ever got to go outside and play and the teacher told everybody what to do.

“Hold up your hand to go to the bathroom! Wash your hands with soap and take a nap!” Sometimes you wish for things you don’t need.

If I hadn’t gotten my wish, I’d have been at home with Mama and playing with those little boys in dirty diapers and as happy as I could be.