icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

FISSURE: A Life Between Cultures

CHAPTER II, Installment 4: IN AND OUT

***


After my first year at Rehoboth, our family moved to Gallup, and I became a day student. But in high school I was so miserable that at the end of my sophomore year I talked my parents into asking the principal if I could double up on classes and do summer school at Gallup High. I had it all figured out how I could graduate a year early. His response, "There's something lacking in her socially. She needs to be in more after-school activities." Now I see that he was blaming me for the bullying I endured. One of the bullies happened to be his son.


It wasn't as if the school offered such a wide array of activities. With six, soon to be seven younger children at home, transportation between Gallup and Rehoboth was a deciding factor. The principal and my parents decided that I could become a boarding student. By that time there was no White missionary kids' dorm, and there was a separate one for high school students, all of whom were Diné with a few Zuni and Hopi students sprinkled in.


I became the first student to racially integrate a dormitory at Rehoboth. Despite the continued bullying by those Bilagáana boys, it would be the happiest year of my time at the mission school. It was also the year that I became deeply, consciously aware of White privilege and racism there. Not long after the school year began, Bilagáana missionaries in the field got wind of the fact that I was staying in the dorm. They were miffed because as members of the General Conference, they had had no input into this decision. That was when I finally learned the ostensible rationale for the existence of the racially separate dorms. It was so White children wouldn't be taking the places meant for Native children who needed to be saved. I wondered yet again why the Diné missionary kids hadn't stayed in the Missionary Kids' Dorm. I still didn't have the word racism in my vocabulary, but I recognized it for sure.


In 1963, the Red Power Movement was rumbling awake. In six more years, Vine Deloria, Jr. a Standing Rock Sioux, would publish Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. But already in 1964, he had become executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, growing its membership from nineteen to 156 tribes. This nascent movement for Native rights had already influenced some of the more vocal Diné missionaries.


The controversy about integrating the dorm was placed on the agenda at General Conference, and I knew I might be sent back to stay at home. However, in the end, those vocal Navajo missionaries won the day, along with some of the White missionaries, including my father. They argued that integrating the dorms was a symbolic gesture of equality, one that could bring more converts into the fold. It was a wise argument, couched as it was in the rhetoric of saving more souls. I was allowed to stay.


Near the end of the year, something happened to validate the Bilagáana missionaries' worst fears. Kee Bitsoi and I were both working on the laundry detail by then and, although he was a class behind me, we were in band and choir together. He asked me to go to church with him one Sunday evening. That might not sound like anything that could possibly threaten anyone, but at the mission it amounted to a very public date. It was like a declaration, and many couples who went to church together on Sunday evenings ended up marrying each other.

 
I heard audible gasps when we walked down the aisle to our pew, but that was nothing compared to what happened afterwards. The high school dorm had a boys' side and a girls' side with a common living room between. We had two house-parents, Mr. and Mrs. Haverdink. Mister had a nickname—Yogi—because his long torso, and the way he waddled made him look like the cartoon character Yogi Bear. Mrs. Haverdink was so uninvolved on a day-to-day basis that she didn't merit a nickname.


Yogi walked up to Kee and me after the service with fury that had been building during the whole service. Scarlet faced, he pushed us apart and said, "You go this way," to me, "and you come with me," to Kee. As he walked away with Kee, I heard him shout, "I thought you were a nice boy until now."


I was shaking when I got back to the dorm, not in righteous anger, which would have been fitting, but in fear. Yogi had already sent Kee to his room. "Do you want to marry a White boy or don't you?" he shouted at me, so everyone in the living room could hear. To my everlasting shame, I said nothing. I didn't need to because Yogi kept ranting for another five minutes, but I wished I had shouted, "No!" He sent me to my room and told me I was grounded for a week, which basically meant I couldn't go to study hall in the high school library at night. It turned out that Kee had been grounded for the next month, and I was again plunged into shame over the unfairness of it.


Nothing ever came of the incident, except that a week later the principal called me into his office. The only words I remember exactly were, "I guess there's been a storm in the teapot over there." Then he said something to the effect that I should ride it out and maybe not do anything like that again. I nodded miserably and kept my true thoughts and feelings to myself.


I was no longer a boarding student the next year, mostly because I could drive by then and had a job at a supermarket in Gallup. But my stay in the dorm had made me acutely aware that something was drastically wrong at Rehoboth. In Church History class we were assigned a paper about some topic like Martin Luther's ninety-nine theses or the impact of the Gutenberg Bible on Christianity. I got permission to write instead about Rehoboth.


My paper's unwieldy title was "How the Gospel Is Not Presented at Rehoboth Mission." It was replete with examples of oppression, intimidation, privilege, racism and sexism, although I didn't use any of those words. I was developing a social conscience and trying to have an effect on my world in my own way. I think the minister thought he was indulging me in meaningless teenage rebellion by letting me write the paper. Neither he nor anyone else ever talked with me about it. It was as if my attempt to call attention to the wrongs I'd witnessed slipped into an airless void.


**
*

To be continued on Monday, 2/5/24

If you're just joining the serialization of Fissure, you can find your way to the beginning by using the Table of Contents

 

3 Comments
Post a comment

CHAPTER II, Installment 3, IN AND OUT

***


On a rainy day in August 2014, I took the Railrunner to the First Annual Indigenous Fine Art Market in Santa Fe. From the train I headed for the booth of my long-time friend Ed Singer. After greetings all around and introductions to family members, I walked around the tent, looking at Ed's and his son Monty's paintings. I have always been deeply moved by Ed's work, which combines traditional Diné themes with avant-garde concepts and style. I stopped short in my tour of the booth and stared at a large painting, overcome by the eeriness of it.


The dominant colors are turquoise, rust, and a darkness that is near-black. The painting places the viewer in the interior of a building, looking outward at two open doors. A dark, rusty space separates the doors, and turquoise light streams through both. Exposed pipes of darker turquoise hang above the doors. The door on the left leads to a sloping entryway that disappears beneath a sort of mezzanine guarded by a metal railing. An illuminated orange EXIT sign hangs above the door to the right, and stairs lead from the mezzanine down to that doorway. A visible light source beckons from the upper left corner of the EXIT, making that turquoise brighter than what is seen through the entryway. The interior, despite the turquoise light, is dark and sinister.


I looked at the image for a long time, mesmerized until Ed's life partner, who is White said to me, "It's boarding school."


I gasped and swallowed, and she said, "Everyone who went to boarding school has that reaction." A lump rose in my throat, and tears came to my eyes. I nodded. Despite what she said, I wasn't sure if Sonja knew that I had gone to boarding school. I didn't tell her either.


***


In so many ways I would have been happier in the Navajo Girls' Dorm, or so I thought. I've learned since then that bullying went on everywhere at Rehoboth. A mission school is no better than any other school in that way. Boarding school is the worst. There is no relief to be had by going home after school. The adult-child ratio in the dormitories is… there is no ratio to speak of. You are on your own.


A Diné friend who went to Rehoboth told me about his first day there. Before taking him to school, Charlie's parents bought him a red toy truck. After they left, he went outside to play with it. Maybe it was a touchstone with home for him, just as the mission pickup had been for me. Larry, a boy who was a few years older than Charlie, sauntered over to him and said, "Gimme that truck."


Charlie said, "It's mine."


"Not anymore."


Charlie told me, "I didn't have an older brother to stick up for me. It was just me. So Larry and another boy tormented me for years until finally I got big enough and mean enough to beat them up. Then it stopped. But it made me a mean person, even on into adulthood. The women I've been close to could tell you that."


My last two years of high school were agony. Five Bilgáana boys, one of them a Van Boven, brutalized me verbally every day. They mocked my voice. They groaned every time I raised my hand to ask a question. They made degrading comments. The trauma was such that I repressed most of what happened from day to day so that now I can barely remember specifics. For years afterwards I doubted that it had even happened, until one of the boys, by then a man, told a mutual friend how cruel they had been to me. Apparently he couldn't tell me directly, but the validation was precious.


All of the adults knew what was going on, and not one of them ever interrupted it. Some laughingly went along with it. I had fantasies of doing what Charlie did—beating those boys up so they had to be carried out of school on stretchers. In the end I decided that my best strategy was to speak in class only when called on.


Not only did the adults fail to interrupt persecution by other children, some of the grownups were also bullies. I missed fifty-three days of school in fifth grade for minor, mostly manufactured illnesses because I was terrified of our teacher. She would come into the classroom when we were all seated, some of us quietly chatting with each other and yell, "All right, if you're going to be as mean as a horse, I'm going to be as mean as a horse." She ridiculed a boy who wet his pants when she didn't let him go to the bathroom.


The boy who wet his pants was Diné, but I have to say for Miss Douma that she was indiscriminate in her terrorization of the class. One day the doctor's son, who was Bilagáana, was foolish enough to make an impudent comment. Miss Douma walked over to him, yelling. She grabbed his hair and shook him until his desk fell over. I trembled in my seat, and that afternoon I went home and told my mother what had happened.


"She's the teacher," my mother said. I knew then that no one would stand up for us in the face of the tyranny that was practiced at Rehoboth by adults and children alike.


The matron in the Girls' Dorm was even more notorious among students than Miss Douma was. Her nickname was a Navajo one, Jaadii, having to do with her thick calves, and she was universally hated.


Ilene Benally was someone I'd known since we were both around six. When we lived at Teec Nos Pos, she and I played together in the small canyon below her mother's hogan and in the arroyo across from the mission. She joined our class at Rehoboth when we were in sixth grade, and we graduated high school in our class of sixteen. At UNM we took some of the same classes and got our degrees while working in the Navajo Reading Study. Later Ilene and I shared an office in a Native American educational publishing house.


One day at work, while we were eating burritos at our desks, we fell to reminiscing. Ilene had just written a contemporary story about a traditional Diné character. When she told me about it, I was carried back to the red-walled canyon of our childhood.


"Remember when we used to pretend to be Pueblo Indians down there behind your mom's hogan?"


Ilene chuckled. "Yes," she said.


We shifted to talking about Rehoboth. I'd always known that Jaadii was mean, but I'd never heard specific stories. Or maybe I'd suppressed them.
"One time, because the dorm room was so cold, some of us hopped into bed without praying first," Ilene told me. "Jaadii caught us. She made us kneel on those hard wooden floors in our nightgowns for an hour, while she sat in her rocking chair, wrapped in her shawl, drinking a cup of cocoa, and smiling. Two days later, we all had colds. One of us ended up in the hospital with pneumonia."


"Did you tell anyone?"


Ilene looked at me askance. "It wouldn't do any good."

I nodded. Bullying is about power and powerlessness. Bullies feel powerless in some way, in some part of their lives, so they exert power where they can. I learned that the five Bilagáana boys who bullied me were frequently beat up by Diné boys who saw them as privileged, and they were correct in their perception. Charlie, who was tormented by Larry, tormented my younger brother in turn. Jaadii and Miss Douma, as single women, were at the bottom of the mission's adult heap. The Rehoboth pastor snickered about them as "unplucked flowers" and "unclaimed jewels" when he taught us catechism.

 

© Anna Redsand, 2024. All rights reserved.

 

***

 

To Be Continued on Friday, 2/2/24

This story is important for its place in the larger context of government and mission boarding schools in Native Nations.

Please comment.

Please share.

 

3 Comments
Post a comment

CHAPTER II, Installment 2, IN AND OUT

Mealtime in the Mission House

***


I became a boarding school student for the first time when I was eight. After the Teec Nos Pos BIA school, I once again took my schooling by correspondence. Halfway through fourth grade, my mother gave birth to her sixth child. My father bought our first automatic washing machine and decided I would go to Rehoboth Mission School, one hundred thirty miles away. The washing machine meant my mother no longer had to use a washboard or feed clothing and diapers through the rollers of the old wringer washer. Boarding school for me meant more time for her other chores.


I was excited. I thought I could be like those teens departing for Anadarko and Chilocco. The braids that hung to the middle of my back were cut off, leaving a severe bob to make it possible for me to take care of my own hair. My mother gave me a small tin box for my little treasures. It wasn't a footlocker like those big kids bound for Intermountain owned, but it was mine and it was new. Everything else went into the yellow and brown suitcase my mother had used since nursing school.


Sixty-seven years after I started at Rehoboth, whenever January 24 comes around, I remember it as the anniversary of my first day of boarding school. It's not that I try to remember; I can't help it.


My father drove me to Rehoboth in the mission pickup, thirty miles over dirt and cobbles, one hundred miles over the narrow asphalt strip that was New Mexico Highway 666. He was on his way to Prescott, Arizona to be a witness in the Federal trial of someone from Teec Nos Pos. He left the pickup to be serviced by the Rehoboth maintenance crew. Over the next few days, while he was in court, that pickup became my touchstone to home. I knew on that first day that boarding school was not going to be an adventure after all, Anadarko and Riverside to the contrary.

 
There was a separate dorm for missionary kids, which really meant Bilagáana missionary kids. Miss Vander Weide, the white-haired matron, showed me to my basement room with its Pepto Bismol pink walls and insulated steam pipes suspended from the low ceiling. "Everyone calls me Miss Van," she said. She showed me a drawer. "Just put your suitcase on your bed for now, and you can unpack later." Mine was the narrow bed. At right angles to it was a double one. "That's where Jessie and Bonnie sleep. You'll meet them after school."


Then she walked me down the hill from the big white house that had been turned into our dorm and across the mission campus to the school. She knocked on the third and fourth grade classroom door, and a stylishly dressed, young Diné woman opened it. She and the high school Home Ec teacher were the only Diné faculty. Everyone else was Dutch American or Dutch Canadian. Neither of these women would last long at Rehoboth. Miss Silversmith brought me to the front of the room, put her arm around my shoulders and introduced me. In all my years at Rehoboth, she was the only one to give me the welcome of touch.


At noon we lined up and marched to the Mission House where we sat ten to a table, all ages, with one adult who would ensure that we ate some of everything and cleaned our plates. After school, I went up the hill. Jessie and Bonnie were there in our room. Bonnie wore a brace on her leg, and when I saw it, I realized who she was—the missionaries' kid from Two Wells who had been bitten by a rattlesnake. She was in first grade, and I thought she seemed kind of slow. She didn't say anything at all.


Jessie was big, way bigger than me and a lot bigger than Bonnie. "I'm in sixth grade," she said. It sounded like a challenge. "What grade are you in?"


"Fourth," I squeaked.


"Ohh." The slant to her oh tied my stomach in knots. "Well, we had a lot more space in here before they brought your bed in." She kicked Bonnie's brace at the ankle, "Didn't we, Stupid?"


Bonnie nodded. She didn't seem to care about being kicked or called Stupid.


I knew I should say something, but I didn't dare. "I'll say something next time," I thought. I already knew there would be a next time. I unpacked my suitcase, and started out of the room.


"Hey! Where are you going?" Jessie asked.


I was afraid if I told her, she would follow me. I didn't say anything.


"Hey! I asked where you're going."


"Upstairs."


"Oh, are you going to tell on me? Are you a tattletale?"


I shook my head.


"What did you say?"


"I didn't … no."


"You better not be if you know what's good for you."


Just then Wilma, who was in high school and shared the room next to ours, stepped over to our doorway. I knew her because she was the daughter of the missionary in Shiprock. "Hey, Jessie," she said. "You better leave her alone."


I said hi to Wilma and hurried toward the stairs. I knew where my father had left the pickup, and I crossed the campus, walked up behind the houses to a garage that could berth up to three vehicles. Outside the garage stood the familiar dark green pickup with the white lettering on the door: "Teec Nos Pos Christian Reformed Mission." I touched the lettering. I tried the door, but it was locked. I wanted to get in and sit on the leathery brown seat and wait for my father to come back from Prescott and take me home. Instead I leaned in and rested my forehead against the door and felt the tears trickle down my cheeks.


I'd stood there a while, when a bell gonged on the other side of campus. A thin, bent man wearing blue coveralls and rimless glasses came out of the maintenance shop and said, "That's your supper bell. If you want supper, you better run."


I didn't know if I should run to the dorm or the Mission House. I picked the Mission House. Then I saw the others marching down from my dorm, and a second bell rang. I was pretty sure I'd made the wrong choice. Much longer lines of Navajo students marched from the big gray dorms on either side of the schoolhouse.


After supper Miss Van got out a carom board, and Jessie and a boy named Bobby, whom I recognized as a third grader from my classroom, taught me how to play. While we shot the wooden rings into pockets, two sisters from Naschitti who were in high school took turns practicing the piano. Three high school boys and Wilma did homework in the dining room. "Maybe it won't be so bad," I thought.


Then Miss Van told us it was time for us younger kids to get ready for bed. Bobby went to his room, and Jessie, Bonnie and I headed downstairs. I had brand new flannel pajamas, white with little orange and turquoise stars, ordered from the Sears catalog. I felt I was going to cry, so when I pulled the top on, I kept my head inside. I was afraid to let Jessie see.


"Hey. You. Don't start crying now."


I gulped and said, "I'm not." My voice quavered.


"You're on the verge. I can tell."


I pulled my pajama top on the rest of the way and sought refuge under the covers, pulling them close to my face so I could cry without being heard.


The next day I found my safe place. It was behind the big gray Girls' Dorm. The Navajo girls' dorm. Irma Ahasteen was in fourth grade too, and I knew her from Beclaibito, the place next to Teec Nos Pos. She drew me into a game of Red Rover. When the first bell for supper sounded I raced up the hill so I could march back down with the missionary kids. The Bilagáana missionary kids.


The first weekend I went home, I begged my parents to let me stay. "You wanted to go," they said. "Now you have to live with your decision." Only when someone else said, years later, "You were only eight years old," did I realize how inappropriate their reasoning had been.


"Can't I stay in the Girls' Dorm instead?" I asked.


"You can't stay there because the Navajo kids can't go home on weekends. You wouldn't like that, would you?"


"Why can't they?"


"If they go home, they might not go to church. We want them to go to church every Sunday."


Later I would realize that this constituted one rationale for a separate dormitory for missionary kids. Much later, it would occur to me to wonder why the Diné missionary kids didn't live in our dormitory. Surely no one feared that they wouldn't go to church if they went home on the weekends.


At home, my brother Rick and I made what we called Ps. We wouldn't say, "Plans" out loud because they were to be kept secret from our parents. The plans were strategies for keeping me from returning to Rehoboth after a weekend home. Our most elaborate P was to dig a large pit, cover it with branches, and hide me in it until it was past time to leave. That way I would miss my ride in the old green Studebaker with the missionary kids from Shiprock.


Every time I went back to school, I spent the first half hour in class sobbing. I tried desperately and failed to stop myself. Finally Miss Silversmith would say, "Why don't you go to the office and get a drink of water?" She never sounded impatient with me, only kind, even though I was the only one who went through this Monday after Monday.


It wasn't every Monday. All the other kids in our dorm went home every weekend, and even though I had a ride to Shiprock, my parents said that the thirty-miles over the dirt road would be too expensive and hard on the car every week. Two round trips would have amounted to a hundred twenty miles of rough road, but in my mind it was only thirty, and I couldn't understand why they wouldn't want me home every weekend. I was forced to spend alternate weekends with families that lived on the mission compound. Mostly one family, the Van Bovens, where the children repeated Jessie's bullying less overtly. The Van Boven kids teased me about having skipped a grade. They teased me about being homesick. They laughed when I accidentally slipped into what linguists have called Dummitawry English—English spoken with a Diné accent. They dished out the meanness of kids who don't want someone else's kid living with them.

 

© Anna Redsand, 2024. All rights reserved.

 

***

 

To Be Continued on Monday, 1/29/24

Please Comment

Please Share

 

.

5 Comments
Post a comment

CHAPTER II, Installment 1: IN AND OUT

A BIA school like the one at Teec Nos Pos

"In and Out" was first published in Isthmus, Special Political Issue, 2016

 

Anadarko. Chilocco. Haskell. Riverside. Intermountain. That's where the giant olive-green, formerly military buses were headed. Far away to Oklahoma, Kansas, California, Utah. I watched with admiration as teenagers hefted their shiny enameled cobalt or black footlockers into the bellies of the buses and then climbed aboard. The girls wore shirtwaist dresses with full skirts, bounced out by crinolines. The boys had on startlingly white shirts and brand new dark blue jeans, black or white cowboy hats.

 

The buses lined up beside the little Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) School. Each bus stood there for a whole day, while horses and wagons came and went—parents bringing their children to buses that would take them to boarding schools far away. At day's end, the buses roared off, raising dust as they passed the mission below the school—the mission where I stood watching.

 

I loved the names of those places. They sounded like poetry. Anadarko—full of mystery. Chilocco—a sound of music. Intermountain—surrounded by majesty. Riverside—a green paradise. "Someday I will go to boarding school," I thought, and I knew it would be a romantic adventure.

 

I was five, living on the small mission post in Teec Nos Pos in the northeast part of the Navajo Nation. My first year of school had been a kindergarten correspondence course from the Calvert School in Baltimore. Missionaries the world over used the Calvert Course, but the next year my parents arranged with the principal that I would attend the BIA school.

 

"She won't be on the books," the principal said, "because it's not really legal for her to attend."

 

"What about report cards?"

 

"She'll get a report card, but we just won't include her in any of our reports to the Bureau."

 

My parents were sticklers for rules, so it's surprising that they agreed to this arrangement, having me be a sort of ghost student.

 

"We can't have her in first grade, though," Miss Mims added. "The other kids will still be learning English, and she already knows how to read." She gave my mother a look of disapproval.

 

On a bright September morning, my mother walked me up the hill for my first day of second grade—my first day of "real" school. The building had been constructed as a Works Project Administration (WPA) effort during the Depression and was built of native sandstone and pine vigas. We entered the cool, dark hallway, and I was assailed by unfamiliar smells that I would soon enough identify as sawdust sweeping compound, petroleum jelly, and Government commodity powdered milk, pressed pink lunchmeat and pale yellow processed cheese.

 

We marched down the quiet, empty hall to my classroom. My mother knocked, and Mr. Washington answered. Silent children filled all the seats but one. Perhaps the arrangement with Miss Mims had been reached after the school year started, and that explained the already full classroom. Mr. Washington pointed to my seat, and my stomach went queasy. We started work, and between reading, coloring, adding and subtracting, I forgot that my mother was gone.

 

Before lunch I found out where the petroleum jelly smell came from. We girls went into a bathroom to wash up by the long porcelain trough with its many faucets.

 

Afterwards, the others took large dollops of Vaseline from a container in the coatroom and spread their faces, hands and arms with it to protect against the desert air. I imitated them. We trouped into the dining hall, where I learned about the powdered milk, pink meat and pale cheese. My stomach got queasier.

 

Then Mrs. Belone came in, and I was happy to see her. Hers was the first familiar face I'd seen all day. She was the mother of Sally and Carol, the girls we played with in the apple tree, down in the arroyo, and in each other's houses. But she pretended that she didn't know me. "Line up! Line up! Time for your nap," she shouted.

 

"What?" I didn't say it out loud, but I was thinking it. "How could this be? What's happening? I don't take naps anymore. And why does Mrs. Belone sound so mean?"

 

She got us marching to a room with rows and rows of narrow metal beds. Striped seersucker bedspreads covered them—light and dark green ones and pink and maroon ones.

 

Mrs. Belone led me to a bed. "Here. You sleep here."

 

I tried to say, "But I don't sleep here. I don't stay here." But she was gone to some other part of the room where two boys were tussling with each other and laughing. She got that out of them right away.

 

I lay stiff and straight on top of my pink and maroon spread. I was terrified that this could mean I would be staying here permanently. Mrs. Belone left. My bed was near the door, and I rolled off of it, being as quiet as I could. The springs squeaked, and I stopped. No one said anything or did anything. I got to the floor, hunched over, and scooted to the door. It was open a crack, and I slipped out, looked both ways down the dark hall, saw no one, and made a dash for the outer door. It was heavy, made of metal, and it made a loud creak when I pressed the bar to open it. I squeezed through, and launched into a run. I didn't stop until I was home.

 

My mother looked surprised, when I dashed into the kitchen. Between gulped breaths, tears streaming, I said, "I don't want to go to school anymore. They're trying to keep me there. I had to go in this room and go to bed. They want me to stay there. And Mrs. Belone pretended like she doesn't even know me." I stopped and looked up at my mother, then I added, "And the food tastes awful."

 

She got on the phone to Miss Mims. I waited, hoping I wouldn't have to go back ever again, and listened to my mother's end of the conversation. When she got off the phone, I said, "Do I have to go back?"

 

"Yes."

 

"Noo. I don't want to. Please."

 

"You have to. But you can come home for lunch and have your nap here."

 

"But…" I was pleased but puzzled. "I don't take naps."

 

"We'll see about that. You have ten minutes. Then you have to go back up."

 

As soon as things were settled, I felt ashamed. I knew the other kids' mothers couldn't call Miss Mims and get things changed for them. I knew they had to eat the lunches, take naps in that big room, eat supper there, and sleep there at night. I was glad I didn't have to, and I felt guilty for being glad. What had happened didn't fit with my sense of fairness. But I wanted the reprieve anyway.

 

***

 

© Anna Redsand, 2024. All rightds reserved.

 

If you missed the first essay, "Fissures and Crenellations," you can read the entire essay by going to the Table of Contents.

Please comment.

Please share.

To be continued on Friday, 1/26/24

4 Comments
Post a comment