Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

Daughter of Ishmael

by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

More of Mark's Marks

Dad was attending school in Glenwood Alberta.
Sixth grade.
The school building had been constructed when there were far less students.
Every available space was pressed into service.
Every available space.
Dad and his classmates were meeting in what had originally been the foyer.
The big front doors had been fastened shut and covered with several layers of ‘train car paper’.
I’m not sure what that is, but it sounds tough.
And durable.
An eminently suitable to serve as a wall in a school.
Dad and his friend were seated at the back of the classroom.
Against what was once the front of the school.
They had finished their work.
And they were boys.
Mischief was indicated.
But Dad was still smarting from his last escapade.
He decided to keep said mischief to a manageable level.
He and his friend commenced playing Tic-Tac-Toe.
On the wall.
Okay, it seemed reasonable to them.
Moving on . . .
After several games, the teacher looked up.
“Boys, what on earth are you doing?”
Dad looked at the wall.
Then back at the teacher.
Wasn’t it obvious?
“I want the two of you to stay after school and erase every one of those marks!”
Dad and his friend sighed.
But obeyed.
The classroom emptied.
Dad worked diligently with his eraser.
This was going to take forever!
Why does something that takes such a short time to do, take such a long time to undo?
He wore a spot in the paper.
And realized there was clean paper underneath.
Dad glanced around.
The teacher had left with the rest of the students.
Dad pulled at the little hole.
The paper came away easily.
Leaving a clean, unmarked surface.
He and his friend worked quickly.
Stripping away every inch of the soiled paper.
And disposing of it in the stove.
The wall stretched before them.
A clean-sounding word.
And clean was what he wanted.
He dusted his hands as the teacher came back into the room.
“All done, teacher,” he sang out.
She looked surprised.
Then walked to the back of the class and inspected the wall closely.
She shook her head and then smiled at them. “Well done, boys!” she said. “You may leave.”
Dad and his friend wasted no time.
Their crime was never discovered.
But they were careful not to mark the wall again.
Life provides just so many ‘do-overs’.
Better not to push your luck.
Thirty years later.
And still full of mischief . . .


  1. Little devils. They lucked out with that one.

    1. It doesn't happen often. Best to appreciate it when it does!!!

  2. It's fun to have a little fun.
    It promotes good spirits all around and makes for good memories. I used to have fun too especially with my neighbors. We lived on a great street. :)

    1. Aren't those memories precious?! I' too lived on a great street! Lots of fun. Lots of mischief . . .


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