Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Golden Rule

Me. Far right, second row. Renee, directly behind me.
One of us was perfectly dressed.
It wasn't me.
I'm a horrible person.
I mocked/made-fun-of someone.
I have repented . . 
It was my first day of school.
I was breathlessly, happily, finally in grade one.
I had just enjoyed my first bus ride.
It was bumpy and dusty.
But magical.
I had been duly delivered to the sidewalk outside my brand new school.
Where I stood in indecision.
Okay. The other kids were lining up at the doors.
I followed.
A tall, slender woman was calling for all of the "Grade Ones!"
I saw several kids about my size line up beside her.
I followed.
The bell rang and Miss Warnoski turned and went into the school.
We all followed.
In Miss Warnoski's room, we toted our book bags (mine was homemade by my Mom) to our first desk.
I was in the second row.
Second seat back.
It had my name pasted onto it.
D-i-a-n-e S-t-r-i-n-g-a-m. I spelled it out by tracing with a finger.
Yep. That's me!
I watched to see what the other kids were doing.
Unpacking.
Okay. I could do that.
I began to pull out thick, red pencils and half-lined scribblers.
Cool. There was a cubbyhole under the desktop that could hold a mountain of stuff.
Soon it was home to my stuff.
I hung my bag over the seat back, sat down at my desk, folded my hands together on top, and let my legs swing.
School was a breeze.
Miss Warnoski began to teach.
Okay, not such a breeze.
Then, it was time to line up for Recess.
Capital 'R'.
The great unknown.
I followed.
We filed back outside. And kids began to run and play.
This was Recess?
Pffff. What was I worried about?
This was just like playing with kids at home.
In fact, I recognized some of the kids from playing at home.
Suddenly I was in my element.
And that's when the trouble started.
I should point out, here, that I didn't always get into trouble during recess.
It just seems like it.
Moving on . . .
There was a tall, very slender girl in my new class.
Renee.
She had long, silky, platinum-blond hair, perfectly groomed.
And she was dressed in the very pinnacle of fashion.
Something that would remain a trademark with her throughout our school years.
And something that would pass me by throughout . . . you get the picture.
Today, she had on a poofy pink dress.
Which I secretly thought was very pretty.
And of which two or three of the other kids were making fun.
They called out jeers and snide remarks.
A five-year-old's version of insulting.
And none of which I can remember.
Probably a good thing.
But it looked like fun!
I would join in.
"Renee, you look like a big, poofy candy floss!"
Renee just smiled. As she had been doing all along.
And suddenly, I didn't feel all that clever.
In fact, I felt stupid.
I had made fun of someone.
And I didn't like it.
I handled my new feelings of embarrassment and chagrin with aplomb and maturity.
I went and hid.
Till the bell rang and Miss Warnoski came to gather all of us.
I've forgotten much of what I was taught in grade one, I'm sure, but one thing stayed with me.
Don't say anything you wouldn't want said to you.
Okay, I never had to worry about anyone teasing me about my 'candy floss' dress. Or any dress for that matter.
But you get the point.

14 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. In some things, D. Only in some things . . .

      Delete
  2. And your conscience is still nagging you - a sign of a lesson well learned ... I was about eight and had just discovered sarcasm and used it a few times on my best friend. My best friend! One day she looked at me thoughtfully and said, "That hurts." That's what it took for me to wise up. Ouch! Still makes my face burn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another 'A-Ha' moment where we wish we could keep the teaching and forget the lesson!

      Delete
  3. Sometimes the best lessons are barely choked down. I have a few of those too! You never forget.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Needed a glass of milk to get this one down! So nice to know I'm in good company!

      Delete
  4. I was often the brunt of the kids' jokes and bullying. I endured it for nine years until one day I lashed out and struck back. I think the only one who was the most surprised was me. I knocked a bully out cold; guess I should have done that years before. But seeing what I saw made me appreciate those who refrained from all of that nonsense....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tough lessons, G! Made you the fine man you are!

      Delete
  5. You are just as I imagined, both of you, in the picture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. You can tell a lot about those books by the covers! :)

      Delete
  6. I certainly do get the point. We who learned it early were the lucky ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How true! Wish I could have learned other lessons at that time!

      Delete

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