The Overflow group is coming up on March 19th so I have started planning for our time together. My friend, Linda came over today and we did some serious baking and some serious laughing! I also did some impressive cookie – devouring as well!
Linda and I started telling stories about our childhoods. It reminded me of a pivotal moment in my life. It happened when I was in Grade 1.
I was definitely a pigtailed, freckle-faced little tomboy and I could out-run all the boys in my class.
It was so many years ago, yet I can vividly remember pushing and shoving as we jockeyed for position of “first one out the door wins.” The recess bell would ring and we would burst out into the hall and run all the way to the playground. We played hard for every one of those fifteen minutes. I think everyone wanted to play tag but most of the time, the boys could run faster than the girls and their goal was to try and lift up somebody’s skirt. Every recess, there would be another victim – each of my friends would be chased down one-by-one and inevitably, as recess came to an end, one more girl’s underwear had been seen.
It was time for revenge. I thought about it for a while and I came up with a delightful plan. One morning, I jumped into my school clothes, gobbled down my cereal, grabbed my school bag and ran out the door. I barely made it through that first hour of school, perched on the edge of my seat, eyes on the clock. Finally, recess came and out we went. I was on a mission.
I started running straight after the leader of the skirt-lifters, Connor McCourt, and when I got close to him, I lunged out with all my might and pulled down his pants. Connor was devastated – he stood there, with his pants at his ankles and started to cry. At first, everyone in the class just stared in disbelief but suddenly, all the girls started clapping and jumping up and down in a little victory dance. No doubt about it, I was the recess champion but I had also landed pretty hard on the gravel playground and managed to get all sorts of stones embedded in my nose, elbows and knees. From my perspective, it was well worth it.
Mrs. Buckan, the recess supervisor, was NOT amused. She grabbed me by a pigtail and pulled me right into the principal’s office.
When Mr. Hopper asked me what happened, I told the truth. Can you picture this little six-year-old mischief maker sitting across from the principal, with her lop-sided pigtails, Kool-aid smile and scraped nose, boasting of her playground victory for the girls by pulling down Connor McCourt’s pants?
What happened next was a stake in the ground moment for me.
Mr. Hooper patiently listened to my whole story. When I was finished, he stood up and got a big bowl of warm water. He gently put my elbows in the water and explained that I had to keep them there for a while and let them soak so that he could pick out all the little stones that were stuck in the scrapes and cuts. The two of us sat quietly at his desk for the next twenty minutes as he cleaned and disinfected my elbows and nose.
When he was finished, he said to me, “You must be a really good runner to catch Connor McCourt. You keep running, Diane. no matter what – because you’re a really good athlete. Just don’t pull any more pants down, OK?”
No question about it – from that day on, I was going to be an athlete.