Her Facts Didn’t Run

Our school was tiny, so tiny that even with two grades sharing a room and teacher, there were still usually less than fifteen students in the two grades. The good news was, if you didn’t learn everything you should have in second grade math, you got another crack at it in third grade while the new second grade covered the same material. Though each class used different books, the lessons sounded much the same.

With the large families of the fifties and sixties, it was inevitable that teachers taught entire families over the years. This wasn’t a problem for the good student. I followed Phyllis, perfection incarnate. She studied the rule book at night for extra credit. Billy was lucky enough to come right behind me, a scatterbrain known for daydreaming and chattering in class. The only thing he had to contend with was “I hope you sit still and pay attention better than your sister.” I don’t think it worried him much. At the end of the line came Connie and Marilyn, only a year apart in age. They shared classrooms most of the time.

Marcia and Darcy, the twins, were the jewels in the crown of Miz McZumley’s teaching career, the classroom darlings. Unlike most harried, fertile mothers of our classmates, their unfortunate mother had only two children. She hovered over them, made all their identical outfits and sent crust less sandwiches, carrot sticks and home baked cookies in their lunches. They probably owned more clothes than the rest of the ragtag class put together. Worst of all, they were bashful, well-behaved children who always got to school with their homework, signed permission slips and lunch money. It was hard to find fault with them aside from pure envy. Despite being held up as examples of “all things bright and beautiful,” they were still nice kids.

Miz McZumley was adamant about two things; learning your addition and subtraction “facts” and going to the bathroom during recess. On one particularly difficult day, she had been drilling the class on their facts rigorously the period just before lunch. Frustrated with the lack of progress, she barked at the class to put their “fact sheets” away under their desks. A boy foolishly asked to go to the bathroom. She slammed her book down and roared, “NO!! You’ll be going out to lunch in fifteen minutes. I’ll spank the next one who asks to go to the bathroom.”

All over the classroom, nervous bladders spasmed. As luck would have it, one of the shyest kids in class had the fullest bladder. Poor Marcia’s bladder panicked and a golden stream trickled down, pooling on the books and papers on the shelf under her desk and the floor. Kids tittered until Miz McZumley noticed the problem. In a moment of kindness she sent the class outdoors, letting some of the girls stay to help Marcia gather her books and papers to lie on the window sill to “air out.” That evening Connie and Marilyn couldn’t wait to report Marcia’s disaster, but were relieved that, in spite of being wet, “her facts didn’t run.”

18 thoughts on “Her Facts Didn’t Run

  1. Poor girl… There was a boy in my class and he suddenly felt really sick. The teacher we had back then (he was the oldest one and got retired after us…) thought he was playing around and just wanted to have an extra break and did not allow him to go to the bathroom. And then he threw up all over the desk… needless to say that the class was basically over for all of us…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heartless teacher. I’d hate to clean up that mess.
    We had grades five to eight in one room, one row for each. I found it distracting. What the upper classes were learning sounded a lot more interesting that grade five stuff. 😀 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Poor child. I had cousins like those twins. They were five blond, small-boned darlings who took dance lessons. There were three boys and two girls. The oldest girl was one year my junior. My grandmother compared me with her, not in brains but looks. She kept telling my mother to put me on a diet. I actually agreed with her but my mother didn’t. Grandma called me a big, healthy girl one time. Not what I wanted to hear. I liked my cousins, I just didn’t want to be compared. Fortunately, my kids didn’t have a weight problem. When I taught, I tried never to have a favorite. It was in the 60’s and 70’s and I taught 3 of my cousins from the same family. 😀 — Suzanne


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