nameless

Bell rings and children come in with news to share.

“Teacher, we learned a new jump rope tune.”

Cinderella dressed in yella

Went upstairs to kiss a fella

Made a mistake kissed a snake

How many doctors will it take?  2,4,6,8 —

“Teacher, Joe says I’ve got a girlfriend and I’m gonna punch him if he says it again.”

“Hey, teacher,  my grandma is staying with us this week.”

“I forgot my homework.”

I call out, “Good morning, everyone.  Now please stop the talk and take your seats.”

As we settle down, the door opens one more time and in walks a little girl, late again and alone. She was a plain child, rather nondescript, straight stringy hair – seldom clean.  Just a so-so student, but quiet, and obedient.  She often seemed sleepy, tired and lethargic   “Oh,” I make a mental note, “I must make time to talk to her.  Maybe I can do it at lunch time.”  I couldn’t; a parent came.  Little girl talk had to wait.

I was disturbed by her odor.  She didn’t smell like a little girl should smell.  She smelled old and unsanitary.  “I really must give her some special attention.  But I don’t have time today – nor tomorrow.”

Another morning, she came to school with faded worn clothes, made bulky because of being put on over pink flannel pajamas.  Again, I thought, “I must do something about that child. I’ll try after school.”  But her dad picked her up.  I had missed again.  I asked the dad if she could stay a little late tomorrow.  She gave me a slight smile, quickly squelched when her dad grouched, “Guess so.  But she better not be in no trouble.”  I wave to her as I say, “See you tomorrow.”

On the morrow, however, I learned that that fourth grade girl was pregnant.

The father called the school.  Making all kinds of noises about some fifth grade boy impregnating his daughter on the school grounds.  The principal was angrier than the father.  He knew that had not happened.  He believed that the father of that child was also the father of her child.  The principal called Social Services.

I felt relief at knowing someone else was going to help her.

Next morning, same routine:

The girls enter:

I like coffee, I like tea

I like boys and boys like me.

Yes, no, maybe so – 1,2,3

There was the daily acknowledgement of forgotten homework.

And the cheerful report that grandma was still here.

Joe is still being threatened.

The one child announces:  Our neighbors moved last night.

Another says: Yeah, that girl that was in our class.  The one who was always late.

The door slowly opens again.  The principal beckons me out, asks for “little girl” because Social Services wanted to talk to her.  I regretfully informed him that she was not there.  What happened?  I’m not sure. I never saw the girl again – never had another chance for that talk with her.  It was too late!

Oh, little girl, I hardly knew you.  Perhaps I could have helped you. I could have told you that it was not your shame, you were not to blame. Perhaps I could at least remember your name.

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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8 Responses to nameless

  1. mariaholm says:

    I know what you mean by this story. It is so difficult to interfere in social need like this, because the children are so linked of course with their families and many times its hard to penetrate the silence of the family problems. But it is true that we should never the less try to speak to these children. When the grow up they will remember the one who understood their situation.

  2. Oh, you made me cry. I teach fourth grade. A beautiful and poignant piece of writing. Thank you.

  3. oneta hayes says:

    Teaching, a glorious and fearsome calling! Thanks for responding to my memory.

  4. shoreacres says:

    Such a poignant story. We always “know” there will be tomorrow, don’t we? Now that I’m aging, I try to keep in mind that I could be gone tomorrow, and I need to make today count. But it’s so easy to forget.

  5. oneta hayes says:

    Yes, shoreacres. Looking back I see that I should have not tried to find the quantity time I was looking for. I could have helped with special day by day greetings. I could have told her she was special. I could have acknowledged her worth, I could have told her that it was nice to have such a cooperative student in my class. Instead I was looking for a special five or ten minute time. Now I know I could have said a lot in three second comments. I feel that I missed the good because I was hoping for the best!

  6. Pingback: Nominated for The Liebster Award | Scribbles to Compositions

  7. oneta hayes says:

    Writershelper, thank you so much. Such a surprise. You have given me encouragement over these weeks I have been involved. I am learning so much. I know being nominated for the Liebster award is an honor. I generally hop over to see those honorees; however, I don’t know the proper procedure for accepting the award. I will try to repay by continuing reading all these good blogs I am be exposed to! I’m blessed.

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