Note From The Editor: The writer of this very nice story sent it to me and asked to remain anonymous. However, I have his e-mail address, so if you want to tell him what you think about his story you can email me ([email protected]) and I will make sure he gets your comments.
A week before school started back up a new family moved in a few houses down the street from us, the Nobels. They had a son, Timmy who was ten, and a real pretty daughter, Dianne, who was fourteen. Dianne was going to enter the 9th grade that year.
I worked up the courage to go down to their house and welcome them. It was a Saturday and everyone was home when I stopped by. I introduced myself to Mr. and Mrs. Nobel, the perfect little gentleman. They introduced me to Timmy and Dianne. It was Dianne, of course, that I was interested most in meeting.
Mrs. Travis sent a cake so that I wouldn't show up empty handed. She understood about how to do welcomes and all that better than I did.
Dianne wanted to play in the school band. She played the clarinet. She also wanted to take part in Mrs. McConnal's plays and drama class. So I told her what was being planned for next spring and told her she should sign up for Mrs. McConnal's drama class since we would be working on the speeches from the play all year.
She had already heard of Mrs. McConnal and how much fun she was, but wondered how it was that a thirteen year old, whom she supposed to be entering the eighth grade, would know so much about the goings on in high school. It took a lot of explaining.
I think her attitude toward me shifted some that afternoon. At first she probably thought I was a younger kid who might have a crush on her (which was correct), but when she understood that I was actually a grade ahead of her that seemed to sort of balance things out. I was a grade ahead, but a year younger. Technically I was an 'upperclassman' to her, but it wasn't like she had scored a hit on an 'older man'. I was a little taller than she was, maybe by an inch or so, so I wasn't such a 'little' child hanging on to her. Maybe we could be good friends, I hoped. After all, we live real close and should be seeing a lot of each other.
She was slim, but developed, not 'fully endowed' like women Mrs. McConnal's age, and most of our teachers were, but just right for a 14 year old. Perfectly shaped I thought. An oval face with long smooth, silky, black hair. Her voice was as smooth as satin. I could easily lose myself in her voice and her hair. I really wanted us to be friends.
Please don't think of me as a child, I wanted to beg of her. Please think of me as someone your own age who can be a real good friend to you.
She liked music. She liked poetry. She liked drama. And she liked to read. And she lived right here in the neighborhood! And I already liked her a lot. And I wanted her to like me so badly.
But be cool. Don't be so anxious as to scare her off. And don't make a fool of yourself trying to show off for her. Girls must think boys are stupid when they do that, and the last thing I wanted her to think of me was stupid.
School started uneventfully. Mrs. McConnal's drama class began working on the speeches for "A Midsummer Night's Dream" right off. We had trimmed them down to where they would make sense to pretty much anybody, but still they could be hard to say at first attempt. Her idea was to continue the work with blank verse that she had begun last school year, only now with the students who would be playing those roles in the play next spring. She had let it be known that this play would be special in that she would cast it early in the year and that those who wanted to be principle actors in it should enroll in her drama class so that we could work on the verse and dialog all year before actually beginning rehearsals in February.
Early on I was approached by Mrs. Wilkerson, one of our math teachers, who also sponsored the National Honor Society. She was a red head and I heard she had a temper. I didn't doubt it. I was in her calculus class, the youngest in there of course. Usually someone had to be in the 11th or 12th grade to take that, so again I was 13 in a class of 16-18 year olds.
I first presumed that she had some concern about my age, being too young for her class. But that wasn't it. She had no doubt that I would breeze through it. It was almost as if she figured I knew it all already, which I didn't, but would pick it up easily by glancing at the book.
She wanted to talk to me about the National Honor Society. She told me that usually students didn't join until they were in at least the 11th grade. That was fine with me, I didn't care. I really didn't care if I ever joined except for the fact that Mrs. McConnal wanted me to have it on my resume by the time I began applying for college.
So Mrs. Wilkerson wanted to explain to me why I would have to wait another year. No big deal. But that wasn't it. She wanted to tell me that I would be inducted this year, since I was taking classes geared for students in the 11th and 12 grade already anyway. That's fine, too. I really couldn't have cared less, but wasn't about to let on to that to her.
Then she hit me with something I didn't like. "The induction ceremony," she said, "will be two weeks from Tuesday. You'll need to wear a suit. It'll be during assembly so that the whole school can watch."
She seemed pleased. I was not. It was clear that she felt this was a great honor that she was bestowing on me, and expected me to be overjoyed about it. By this time I knew I was smart, and didn't really care if anyone else knew it or not. The idea of prancing in front of the whole school and telling everybody that I was smart really didn't sit well with me at all.
So I marked it on my calendar to be sick two weeks from Tuesday. No problem. But how to deal with Mrs. Wilkerson? I did like her, though I didn't know her all that well yet. I still didn't want to hurt her feelings by letting on that something that meant so much to her meant absolutely nothing to me.
Also, like I said, this red head had a temper. Most red heads do. Whether she had ever taken anyone to the teachers' lounge for a behind demolition I didn't know, but I knew that she had blistered a few bottoms in the hall from time to time. And when she did, she was pissed off. Not a little pissed off, but real pissed off. So she really laid it on.
She was a fox, and I knew of one guy at least who did dream of her. Whether he wanted her to paddle his bare ass, I didn't know, but I knew I didn't want her paddling mine. I don't think I would have minded a swat or two, but I didn't think she ever gave just a swat or two. She really did lay it on heavy when she paddled a fanny.
So I didn't want to piss her off.
The guy who had such a crush on her was Stan. He was the new president on the honor society. He clung to Mrs. Wilkerson, wanting her attention and affection, I guess, sort of like I did Mrs. McConnal. I could understand why. She was fiery, and that could be exciting. (Mrs. McConnal was a class act, which I found exciting.)
I excused myself from Mrs. Wilkerson's presence as quickly and politely as I could. I wanted to somehow convey the fact that I really didn't want to be treated like a freak any more than I already was. There was no need to put me in a suit and stand me up in front of the school to tell everyone what a freak I was. But I dare not say this straight out to her. At best it would hurt her feelings, and I liked her too much to want to do that.
Stan, as I discovered, was protective of his relationship with Mrs. Wilkerson. I could understand that. I wouldn't want my relationship with Mrs. McConnal threatened. But I think that Stan was uncertain of his security with Mrs. Wilkerson.
She must have spoken to him about me. I say that because I never made any attempt to become close with her myself. In fact I had hoped that if I remained somewhat aloof that she wouldn't be so intent on inducting me into her society and might not take it so seriously. I was wrong. I think now that some teachers wanted to be able to claim me as part of their doings. Mrs. McConnal, on the other hand, had reached out to me, not to my grades, and had taken me under her wing when I was most vulnerable. She both protected and nurtured me rather than showed me off.
As for Mrs. Wilkerson, I think she was proud that the school had a prodigy, and wanted to get me in her honor society as early as possible. I feel certain that she really had no ulterior motives. She certainly, to the best of my knowledge, never meant to be pushing Stan into the background.
But I think that Stan felt that she did. Somehow he was afraid that I would replace him in her priorities.
Word spread that I was to be the youngest member of the honor society in our school's history. Mrs. McConnal was pleased and thought I would be also, until we talked. Then she realized that this went totally against my nature. I was a loner. I loved being in her plays, but I didn't want to be paraded around like a show horse. I asked her if there was any way I could get out of the ceremony. "No way that you don't already know, darling." she said.
I knew what she meant. I asked her not to say anything to Mrs. Wilkerson for I didn't want to hurt her feelings. She understood and thought that honorable of me. I also didn't want Mrs. Wilkerson pissed off at me I didn't figure she'd paddle me for skipping out on her ceremony, but I did think she might hold that in reserve for when I screwed up some other time and take it all out on my ass at once. I didn't share that with Mrs. McConnal.
But Stan was another matter. He didn't approach me. After all how does one student tell another to stay away from a teacher they both have in common. I was in her class. I couldn't stay away from her. But I didn't go out of my way to seek her attention or affection either.
But she sent her attention my way anyway. And this was hurting Stan. I felt sorry for him. Maybe when he saw that I skipped out on her ceremony he would relax.
So the Tuesday came and I asked Mrs. Travis to call in sick for me. She was hesitant at first, but when I explained, she understood. After all, she had known me for a ling time and knew I didn't like being made a spectacle of. So she called Mr. Donaldson, our principal, and told him that I was sick and couldn't come in today.
Fine, all taken care of.
I had Mrs. McConnal's drama class last period. The assembly had been in the morning. So I saw no reason why I should have to miss being with Mrs. McConnal, now that I had avoided the induction. So I rode my bike to school after having lunch at home.
But who should greet me as soon as I came into the building? Mrs. Wilkerson.
"Jeremy," she was surprised, "the absentee list said you were sick today."
"I got better." was all I could think of to say.
"Well, I guess that's good." she said. "But you missed your induction ceremony." she sounded sad now.
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Wilkerson," and I was sorry for disappointing her, "it just couldn't be helped."
"I guess not," she said sadly, "but you're on our rolls now anyway, and we'll be expecting you at the meetings, right?"
"Yes ma'am." I replied. I never attended a meeting.
I stayed in her class, of course, and made good grades. She would remind me of the society's meetings, but I always claimed that something else prevented me from coming. She must have known the truth, that I really didn't want anything to do with that group of kids who weren't nearly as smart as they thought they were, but she never let on.
And I thought this would take care of Stan, but it didn't.
Not only was I now around, but there was a new Spanish teacher in school, a young man fresh out of college. He had no friends in town, and Mrs. Wilkerson sort of took him on as her project to get him introduced around.
He was about 23. She was more like 35. He wasn't married, but she was, had been for 12 years, happily. There was no sex angle between them and it was pretty obvious. She just felt sorry for him, being so all alone here, and was helping him to get acquainted and adjusted in his new town.
But Stan began talking around school like they were boyfriend/girlfriend. Not like they were adults having an affair, but like they were high school kids on the verge of going steady.
That's the way he intended it, at least. To all the adults, and to several of us students also, it sounded like Stan was accusing Mrs. Wilkerson of having an affair with the new teacher. Now, we all KNEW that she was not. But the implication was, not surprisingly, enough to piss her off in a championship fashion.
This was especially hurtful to her because it was Stan saying these things. It would have been like me saying those things about Mrs. McConnal. Of course that would hurt her to the center of her heart. And I think it did Mrs. Wilkerson. But Mrs. Wilkerson was a red hot head, with a red hot temper, and she began simmering inside about what Stan was doing.
To this day I still don't think Stan understood the seriousness of what he was saying. I think he was seeing the matter solely from the point of view of a high school kid, and never saw it from an adult's side. He was three years older than me, and president of the honor society, but still not very understanding of anything except himself. Some people are like that.
So he thought Mrs. Wilkerson was being entirely unreasonable when she began getting pissed off at him for what he was doing. He thought she should be asking his forgiveness for having ignored him. Needless to say she was not.
And he thought she was going way overboard when she expressed her anger at him verbally from time to time in class. He responded to her irritation as if she had wronged him, again.
I could see that this was only going to lead to a lot of hurt feelings, and perhaps a severely hurt rear end for Stan, if this kept up.
Clark, who was now a senior, understood. We talked about it once, both of us agreeing that it would be best for both of them if Stan were made to understand the implications of what he had done and how serious that was from the adult point of view. He was good friends with Stan and said he would talk to him about it.
I shared my concerns with Mrs. McConnal, telling her that I thought Stan might be feeling much like I would if I thought Pretty Lady were dropping me in favor of someone else.
"Would you spread such rumors about me?" she asked.
"No, of course not," I told her, "but Stan's still a little kid in a lot of ways. I really don't think he understands, Mrs. McConnal."
Then I realized something that I felt I had to add, "Stan is 16. He doesn't have a girlfriend. I don't think he ever dates. I wonder, Mrs. McConnal, if maybe he has fantasies about Mrs. Wilkerson and he being . . . well . . . boyfriend and girlfriend. And, of course, that's not possible. And I don't know if he knows how to deal with that."
"I think he does have a crush on her." she agreed. "Jeremy," she looked at me thoughtfully, "some children, when they have a crush on one of their teachers, the only way they can bring it to any fruition is to provoke that teacher to spank them, since they can't be husband and wife with them."
I wished I could shrink out of her sight when she said that.
"Are you having those kinds of problems with our relationship?" she asked.
I blushed. "No ma'am." I wasn't sure what to say after that. "You are the most special teacher I've got. And you are the prettiest teacher in school." She smiled at this. "But I feel like family with you. You having other friends doesn't threaten me since I don't think anyone could ever take my place with you any more than anyone could ever take your place with me. We're different from Stan and Mrs. Wilkerson."
I didn't know how to add the rest without sounding sappy. "Yes, we are." she said. "And I trust you that your having other friends doesn't mean you're replacing me. Any more than me finding other friends would mean that I was replacing you."
"And," I added hesitatingly, "I don't want you for a girlfriend, but for a . . . " My head dropped. I didn't know if I should affirm that I wanted her for a mother.
"It's OK, Jeremy." she said. "I understand, and I feel the same way. I don't think we'll ever have the problem that Stan and Mrs. Wilkerson are having."
"No, me neither." I said. "I wish they weren't. I'm afraid it's going to lead to something Stan really doesn't want."
"Well, Jeremy," she said thoughtfully, "It may be that Stan thinks he does want Mrs. Wilkerson to take him to the teachers' lounge for a trip to spank land. He may see that as the only way these feelings of his can be fulfilled. If so, he's liable to get far more than he's bargaining for."
"Has Mrs. Wilkerson ever done that to anybody?" I asked.
"Not that I recall. But she has blistered some fannies in the hallway, through their pants. Believe me, those boys got all the spanking they wanted from her."
"Do you think she would take Stan to the teachers' lounge?" I asked.
"If he pushed her far enough, she would." she said. "And he's pushed her pretty far already. As dear as he is to her, she may not lay a hand, or board, on him until he has indeed pushed her that far."
"He's courting a disaster, isn't he?" I observed.
"Yes, but that may be what it's going to take now to repair their relationship." she said.
"What if he were to go to her now and just tell her how he feels?" I wondered out loud.
"Actually I think if he were to be perfectly honest with her he would tell her that he does want her to spank him." was her response.
"I believe he wants her attention. Sort of like another young student I have." she said, looking at me. "And if she spanks him he will certainly have her undivided attention, while she's spanking him at least."
"Yeah, but . . . if getting it from Mrs. Wilkerson in the teachers' lounge is anything like the spanking you gave me last spring . . . "
"It would probably be worse than that, Jeremy." Mrs. McConnal interjected. "Last spring I wasn't furious with you. I had calmed down before I spanked you. You've heard of Mrs. Wilkerson's temper. She wouldn't do that to Stan, especially, unless she were livid."
"And that would mean big trouble for Stan." I concluded.
I figured that was all I could do. I had talked with Clark and Mrs. McConnal. I had expressed my concern. Now I could only watch. Or so I thought.
I usually picked an empty table at lunch. My reasoning was that if anyone wanted to sit with me, they could, but I wasn't going to impose myself on anyone else. Sometimes someone joined me, sometimes not. Either way was fine with me.
Before long Dianne was joining me most days. That was really fine with me. When she came, I would have preferred it had no one else joined us, since I wanted her all to myself whenever possible. However, when she came, invariably others would follow, often some boys and girls from her class.
They didn't treat me like a freak! Well, after all I was just one year younger than them, and just one year ahead in school. By this age, one year's difference didn't seem to make that much difference any more. Last year I was in the lowest grade in school and at that two years younger than even them. No wonder I felt out of place. Now, OK things seemed a bit upside down, but I felt like I was fitting in much better. Dianne's friends soon became my friends as well. I actually started hanging out with some of the guys in her class; played guitar and chess with some of them. And there were times when Dianne and I were invited to the movies or a dance or party after a ball game with them. I sat with them at some football games, but the real reason I went was to watch Dianne at half time. She was so pretty in her uniform (she was pretty in anything).
Hay, this was pretty cool! I had never hung out with anyone before, anyone my own age that is. Now these kids accepted me as one of them. This was a totally new experience for me. And Gloria's dance lessons were paying off, too. I was nervous, of course, first asking Dianne to a dance with me. She could always tell me that she didn't want to go on any kind of 'date' with a child (boy that would hurt). But she didn't say that at all. She said that of course she'd love to go with me! I was walking on a cloud on the way home after that.
I had to tell Mrs. McConnal. It may sound strange that a 10th grade boy would run to tell his teacher before anyone else that the girl he thought was the prettiest girl in school had said she'd go to a dance with him. But, of course, Mrs. McConnal wasn't just a teacher.
I pulled my bike into her yard. She wasn't in her garden, so I knocked on the door. When she opened it, before even waiting for her to invite me in I blurted out, "Pretty Lady, Dianne says she'll go to the dance with me! She really said she would! I was scared she wouldn't, but she will!"
I must've seemed to her like a little child on Christmas morning exalting how 'Santa Clause came! Santa Clause came!'.
Mrs. McConnal beamed, no doubt simply over seeing me that happy; the reason was secondary. She held me close to her (I was coming up to head level with her now), "Of course she did, Jeremy. Of course she did. You let her get to know you and of course she likes you. How could anyone not like you? You didn't doubt that, did you?"
"Well, I THOUGHT she liked me. I mean she seemed like she's my friend, but well I mean, I actually asked her to the dance Mrs. McConnal. I asked her to go with me, and she said 'yes'." I was bubbling over. Erupting may be more the correct term. I was beside myself. This was an event that most 13 year old boys might have taken to their mothers. Mrs. McConnal hugged me so tightly that I knew she was delighted for me, and especially glad that I had brought it to her.
Then it dawned on me: I knew how to dance, Gloria had taught me well, but other than that I didn't know how to act, or how to prepare for a real date. The last thing I wanted to do was to act like a child on our first date and embarrass Dianne. I didn't want people laughing at her for having a 'little kid' bring her to the dance.
"Will you help me?" I asked Mrs. McConnal, in all seriousness.
"Of course I will." she said. "There are a few things you need to do, but mostly you need to relax and to let her relax while she's with you so that you both have a good time."
Then she added, "Since you two first met it's been clear that you both like each other."
"It has?" I was surprised.
"Of course, precious." she put her face close to mine, still smiling, "I'm a girl, too, you know. Girls can tell these things. Mainly you need to just not be afraid or her or the situation, and you'll both have a great time. But we've got a week for you to get ready. So there's nothing for you to worry about.
I went to sleep that night thinking that I had never been happier
in my life. Mrs. McConnal loved me and Dianne was actually going
on a DATE with me. What more could any boy want?
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