6.13.2007

Mr. Sullivan, Third Grade Dupe or Nemesis Dan & Chocolate Chips





Confession:
I'm still not quite sure why I did it: I think because I could get away with it. I also wanted to show off before my pseudo-nemesis, Dan. I have absolutely no idea why we were enemies, except maybe because I had glasses and so did he. It made sense in third grade.....
My third grade teacher, Mr. Sullivan, was a firm believer in the reward system when it came to discipline. He awarded the Student of the Day, Week & Month. Student of the Month got a T-shirt, Week got a poster, and Day got.......a handful of chocolate chips, kept trustingly in a big jar on Mr. Sullivan's desk in the front of the classroom. Now, I was in after-school daycare, which took place, as it happened, in the back of Mr. Sullivan's classroom, (again, this was also my classroom during the school day as well.) I discovered during one boring afternoon at daycare that I could sit on Mr. Sullivan's desk, sneak my hand behind my back, dip into the chocolate chips, and eat them by the fistful. I was so proud of myself that I crowed to Nemesis Dan and laughed in his jealous face. Chocolate smeared, I was riding high on my infamy as the craftiest third grader at Soquel Elementary Afterschool Daycare.
"It was YOU!"
The next day, at the end of the school day, Mr. Sullivan looked at the jar and said, in this ultra-disappointed voice,"Aaaw, someone ate almost all these chocolate chips! Who would steal them? That is just so sad!" I looked over and saw Dan pointing at me with a malevolent grin, mouthing the words,"It was YOU!" I realized suddenly that maybe telling my nemesis about my crimes was not a good idea, after all, and that he probably would rat me out. I think there was something deep down in there as well that felt bad for letting down Mr. Sullivan, who seemed to have such child-like trust in his students. Maybe this could be chalked up to faint stirrings of conscience, which is about the only encouraging thing about this story. Anyway, I devised a plan. The Plan
After class I approached Mr. Sullivan privately and asked him how much a new bag of chocolate chips would cost: $1.00. I went home and conned my mom into giving me a dollar to fold some laundry. The next day at school I got there early, and went out back, to where the other kids were playing tetherball and cherry drops, and I began to write. I remember it so vividly.
I was wearing my rodeo skirt, and writing using that brown paper that had all the lines in to help you learn to write. I didn't have any smooth surface to write against, so I remember having to put my thin sheet of paper against the rough wall of the school building, it made my writing all jagged and messy. Also, Nemesis Dan was there, trying to read what I was writing, but I hid it from him. This is what I said:
"Dear Mr. Sullivan,
A bully made me steal your chocolate chips.
I am sorry I did it. Here is a dollar.
Signed, _________. "

I am ashamed to admit it here, but this note is as truthful as I could get at the time. A "bully?" How's that for confession without actually having to confess anything. I was just so slithery then, telling wild half-truths, bald-faced lies and minute fabrications in order to come out okay. It was years before I read in the Psalms, "Send out your light and your truth, let them lead me; let them lead me to your holy hill."
Mr. Sullivan's Revenge?
The icing on the cake is that later on, when it came time to reward the Student of the Day, guess who was chosen?! Yup, little old honest 'n' upright me. A fitting irony.
I think I actually got the Student of the Week award later in the year, don't ask me why. (It was a Charlie Brown poster-Charlie upside down in a tree-tangled up in his kite string, saying something like, "I hate Mondays". ) I could never bear to have that poster up in my room.
Which just might have been Mr. Sullivan's revenge ala heaping burning coals on my head.........
And I haven't even began to confess how I lied my way through our St. Patrick's Day party later that year......on live television! Bless me Father, for I have sinned................

2 comments:

Nori said...

I can think of something even worse that I did. I was in second grade. I was almost always "student of the" whatever. There was some dispute, the details of which I don't remember, involving a dodgeball. The teacher narrowed the blame down to two people, Yvonne and Darin. She asked everyone in the class to show their hands on who was to blame. I'm not sure why, but even though I had no idea who did it, I raised my hand to say Darin did. I guess I thought we were supposed to give our opinion, and Darin just seemed guilty. Rather than counting everyone else's hands, my teacher said, "Nori never lies, so Darin must have done it." I had no idea I had that much power. Ironically, I was very proud of myself for being thought such an honest person.

Rosa said...

Talk about being tried by a jury of your peers! Sheesh!

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.