Short story 2

“Mum! Can you teach me to read?”. “I’m not going to waste my time on that. You’ll learn that at school.”

It was about a month later when his mother walked little George the three quarters of a mile to his first day at school. The headmistress, MissTesh was waiting at the top of the steps, hands clasped and chin up, to receive the new intake and introduce them to their class teachers. George was hustled into room 2 and introduced to Miss Littlejohn, a round faced, relatively new, cheerful teacher in her early 20s.

It was the second day when she asked, “Now. Who can read?” A host of goody-goody girls put up their hands. Miss Littlejohn looked down at her list. “Sally. Perhaps you could read something you like.” The young girl stood to attention in her flowered dress and read with perfect diction, from The Adventures of Pooh Bear.”Good” said the teacher as she looked down again at her list. “Now, George.” She looked up. “Read us something you like”

George just sat there in embarrassment, unable to speak.

“Oh well. Can anybody else here read?” A host of hands went up.

Two weeks later, as it was nearing Christmas, Miss Littlejohn got all the children to make Christmas cards. George was good at drawing and he finished his quickly, so she showed him how to fold a square piece of paper and glue it to make an envelope.

In the mean time Miss Littlejohn painted an old cardboard box red, and cut a horizontal hole in it to make a post box. “Now in case someone gets a lot of cards and others none,” she said, “I have written all your names on a sperate piece of paper, and you are each going to draw one out of this hat, That is who you must post your card to.”

The system went wrong. Pieces of paper got lost.  It caused pandemonium. It caused chaos in the classroom. The teacher felt out of control.

George did not get a card. He was very sad. He would have liked a card.

He walked home lonely, head down. His mother asked him what they had been doing that day, and he told her of the cards, the mix-up, and why he thought things had gone wrong, which caused him to get no card.

“Oh when I was at school I was very popular. I would have got a lot of cards. What is wrong with you?”

“But Mum….”

“Haven’t you got any friends?”

“But Mum.”

“Why don’t people like you?”

George just looked out of the window and sighed. ‘Grown- ups are very silly’, he thought.


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Thank you, Keith Beal