My mother tried her best to make sure I was always well dressed and had the best school supplies. No matter how much money we had, or I should say, didn’t have, she would ALWAYS put me before herself. I honestly don’t think my mother bought herself anything new from the time I was born. But every year, she made sure that I started the school year with the very best clothes money could buy. However, my school’s dress code policy about the length of skirts always seemed to slip her mind.
“But mom, it’s too short!”
“Stacy, it looks adorable on you.”
“Mom, they’re just going to send me home.” But did she care? Not one bit. This is the person I blame for my problem with authority as well as my shoplifting habit. But that’s an entirely different story. At least once a month I would walk into school, wearing a cute dress with a short hemline, and I’d be told to “assume the position.” The position in my school was to drop to your knees. If that hemline didn’t touch the ground, you were sent home. My mom got so used to the calls from our principal that she began driving around with extra dresses in her car, so she could drop them off during her lunchtime. I don’t know if she was trying to make a point or what. But sure enough as the rules started getting stricter my hemlines started getting shorter.

Along with the hemline rules, my school also believed in corporal punishment and had the paddle to prove it. Luckily my mother did not. Her attitude was, “if anyone is punishing my child, it had better be me.” And I loved her for it. My ass never had the misfortune of meeting the business end of that paddle, and for that I will always be thankful. Some of the other school rules included dressing for gym, attending church on Wednesdays, girls can only wear pants (no jeans!) on Friday, and boys had to wear collared shirts. Oh, and don’t even think of getting caught cussing, I did it once and I can still taste the soap in my mouth.

I can’t explain exactly what pushed me over the edge. Maybe it was the fact that I had been bullied by Tyla and the other girls in third grade one too many times. Maybe it was the fact that I hated authority. Maybe I went temporarily insane. But the day my watermelon-smelling eraser disappeared was the day that the third grade class was going to feel my wrath.

So there I was in my nice dress with my new school supplies, ready for the spring semester. I was sitting in class, minding my own business as my third grade teacher read to us from The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe. After she was done reading the book she had us take a small quiz on what she had read to make sure we were paying attention. I reached my hand inside my desk and pulled out my pencil box and that’s when I noticed my brand new watermelon eraser was missing. Where is it? It was here earlier. Where did it go? I started to panic. I loved that eraser. Not only did it look like a watermelon but it smelled like one too.
“Have you seen a watermelon eraser?” I asked the other kids sitting around me. But they all assured me they hadn’t. But I knew better. One of them had taken it! Someone in this class had my eraser and I was going to find out who it was if it was the last thing I ever did.

I tried sneaking peeks inside other kids’ pencil boxes throughout the day, but that was fruitless. I’m never going to find it this way. I’m going to have to wait until recess. I waited, and waited and it finally came. Recess. Victory will be mine! We all filed out together and once we got past the view of the teacher I ducked inside the bathroom until the coast was clear. Once the hallway was empty I snuck back up the hall like a cat burglar. Please be unlocked, please be unlocked, please be unlocked. As I tried the doorknob it turned. Yes! I walked back into the dark classroom and looked at all the desks and suddenly felt a little overwhelmed. How was I going to be able to search them all with the limited time I had? I was going to need to work out a system so I didn’t search any twice. I started at the desk at the far right in the very back of the room and worked my way forward. Once I would reach the front of the aisle I would snake my way down to the back and then snake back up to the front in the next row. I checked pencil box after pencil box, but as my search failed to turn up my eraser, I started getting angry, and something devious took over my body. What had started off as an innocent search and rescue for my watermelon eraser soon became a raid and pillage as I began stealing other kids’ erasers from their desks. If I don’t have my eraser, then neither will you. I got such a rush out of it that I not only stole the large ones but started biting the erasers off the ends of the pencils too. I just couldn’t help myself. I had gone completely mad with revenge. By the time I was done, I was in possession of every single eraser in that room except for the ones in the teacher’s desk and don’t think I didn’t think about it. I put my new stash of erasers into my pencil box and put the box back into my desk. This is where I’m going to go ahead and admit that I didn’t exactly think this caper all the way through.

After I had hid my stash in my desk I had to get out of there before the bell rang and I got caught. So I opened the door just a crack to see if I could catch a glimpse of the hallway and it looked clear from the right side. Problem was, the way the door was positioned I couldn’t see what was going on in the left side of the hallway. *Sigh* I’m just going to have to take my chances. I shot out of the room like a cannon and made a break for the bathroom. Once inside the bathroom I congratulated myself for a job well done. Then I waited for the bell and once I heard the kids come in from outside I came out of the bathroom and blended into the pack. It’s easy to go unnoticed when you’re as unpopular as I was.

We all came back in the classroom and I sat down at my desk and just smiled to myself. Now let’s see who steals erasers again huh? That will teach you. That will teach all of you Muuuaaahahahaha! Sure enough, once we started working on our spelling and the pencil boxes were opened, the class started freaking out.
“All my erasers are gone!” one girl said, staring into her pencil box.
“Someone took the erasers off the end of my pencils!” wailed the cute boy who sat in front of me. I had a huge crush on him, but sometimes you have to hurt the ones you love. The comments and complaining went on and on. I mean it was starting to get ridiculous. My eraser was stolen but you didn’t see me whining about it. I think that may have been the problem. I was the only one in the class NOT whining about it. When my third grade teacher looked my way and then made a beeline for my desk I had a pretty good feeling the jig was up.
“Stacy, is there anything you would like to tell us?” she asked me while the whole class sat there looking at me.
“Nope,” I said back to her.
“You don’t have anything you would like to say to your classmates?”
“May I look in your desk please?”
“Sure,” I said but didn’t move an inch.
“Can you stand up for me so I can look inside?” I’m dead. She reached her hand inside the desk and pulled out my pencil box and opened it and there they were, dozens upon dozens of erasers.
“Why?” She asked me utterly confused.
“Because someone stole my watermelon eraser,” I mumbled while counting the fibers in the carpet. Unlike some of my other teachers I had in that school, my third grade teacher seemed to have a soft place for me in her heart. I was not the easiest child to deal with and was often acting out, but instead of sending me to spend time with Mr. Stewart the principal she dished out her own punishment.

It was completely humiliating, but it beat going to the principal.
“I’m so sorry for what I did. Can you identify your eraser,” I asked each and every student as I made my way up and down the aisles. The worst was going over to Tyla and her gang, who all got a huge laugh at my expense. On the upside I now had an excuse to talk to the boy I had a crush on and stand there the entire time while he dug through my pencil box looking for his erasers. I’m going to marry you one day. Oh, and my mom had to buy new pencils for the entire class. When my mother read the note from my teacher, she got that look on her face, the one that looked like she had just swallowed mud. She closed her eyes for a long time, and asked me “Why?”
“Because someone stole my watermelon eraser!” Doesn’t anyone understand this?

After that I never stole any more erasers or pencils. I had also moved up to fourth grade and Mrs. Stewart’s class. Mr. Stewart’s wife. Unlike her husband, Mrs. Stewart didn’t think I was very funny so I spent most of my fourth grade year staring at Mr. Stewart’s secretary while waiting for my mother to bring me a longer dress. No matter what year it was…some things never changed.

Love it? Hate it? Let me know! Send questions, comments, brownie recipes or random brainfarts to: mrsdiagnosed@yahoo.com

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