After noon recess, we found the classroom windows open. A stack of papers on the windowsill fluttered in the balmy breeze. I heard red-winged black birds calling to each other and wished I could go back outside. The custodian started to mow the lawn between the school and church rectory. I closed my eyes listening to the familiar roar of the mower. The scent of freshly cut grass made me giddy with joy. The school day was half over. School would be out for the summer in a few weeks. Beautiful summer was finally returning to Wisconsin after six months of ice and snow.
My classmates and I could tell Sister Wilhelmina was in a good mood. She had a smile on her wrinkled face. At least I thought it was a smile, because that wasn’t something she did often. Standing in front of the chalkboard, Sister shared, “I love the scent of freshly mown grass. It makes me think of my childhood.” After a pause she uncharacteristically suggested, “Someone tell me what they like and will always remember about their childhood.”
A boy waved his hand in the air and eagerly shared, “I have two things. There’s a crick behind our house that I play in, and I kin crawl out of my bedroom window onto the ruf.”
Sister sat down heavily at her desk, clearly struggling with what to address first, his dangerous pastimes, sloppy speech, or his mispronounced words. Having decided, she weakly questioned, “Do you remember the proper way to pronounce words like ‘creek’ and ‘roof’?”
Red faced, the boy nodded and said in a rush, “Saying those words the way you want me to, don’t feel right.”