Monday, December 19, 2011

Roses are Red Pt 1

This is one of my favorite Christmas Stories. It is titled Roses Are Red, and it is recounted by a man
 named Richard Siddoway. I want to share it with all of you but it will have to be in different
 installments. It might be long but I am going to try and keep it to 4 or 5 part. So here is Part 1.
Today is December 23rd. It on on this day each year that i do penance for an act I committed in 1947, when I was seven years old. I was in teh third grade at Emerson School and had been blessed with a marvelous teacher named Miss Heacock.  She was not much taller than I, and had dark red hair, and smiling green eyes. I credit her with any love I have for Classical music, because she spent part of every Thursday morning introducing us to the lives of the great composers and playing recordings of music by Beethoven, Brahms, Bach, and other great musicians. I loved school because of the influence of this wonderful woman.

As Christmas approached we made decorations for our schoolroom. Miles of red and green paper strips were pasted into interlocking loops to form paper chains as we listened to Handel's Messiah. Pictures of Santa Claus were drawn and painted with water colors. Stained-glass windows were approximated as Miss Heacock ironed our crayon drawings between pieces of scrap paper.  A Christmas tree was placed in one front corner of the room, and the odor of pine replaced by the particularly pungent aroma of oil that arose from the decades-old hardwood floors of our classroom. It was then that Miss Heacock announced we were to have a Christmas party on the day we were released for Christmas vacation. We were all excited.

Fate had blessed us with a peculiar situation that year. There were exactly as many girls as boys in our class. Miss Heacock decided, perhaps in an attempt to introduce us to the social graces, that each of us would purchase a gift for another student in the room. Each boy would supply a gift for a girl and vice versa. The gifts were to cost no more than twenty-five cents. There have been moments in my life when I have known exactly what was going to happen. I claim no great gift of prophecy, but, nevertheless, I have known.  As Miss Heacock began walking down the aisles, a box of boys' names in one hand, on with girls' names in the other, I knew the name I'd draw would be Violet's. 

Violet was a sorry little girl who had been placed in our class that year. She was very plain and did little to help her looks. Her hair was rarely combed, she wore the same dress every day, and, worst of all, she wet the bed and rarely bathed. Violet sat in the back corner of the room, partially because she chose to sit there, but also because the rest of us had moved away from her. When the room warmed up, the aroma of Violet mixed with the perfume of floor oil and became almost overpowering. Seven-and eight-year-old children cane be cruel, very cruel. Violet had been the target of most of our cruetly during the school year.

Miss Heacock approached my desk with  the box of girls' names. I reached into the box,, shuffled the
 names around, and finally withdrew the folded scrap of paper. I placed it before me on my desk.  My
 fingers trembled as i unfolded it. There it was, as I new it would be: "Violet." I quickly 
wadded up the paper and shoved it into my pants pocket. The bell rang for recess. 

"Who'd you get?" asked my best friend Allen. I panicked. I couldn't let let anyone know I'd gotten Violet. "We're supposed to keep it secret."  "Sure, but you can tell me," Allen probed. "I'll tell you who I got. Just between us okay?" "Miss Heacock said to keep it secret." My voice squeaked a little. Suddenly Allen smiled. Earlier in the year I had made the mistake of telling him I thought one of the girls in our class, Margo of the honey-colored hair, was pretty. I had endured considerable abuse since that disclosure. "I'll bet you got Margo's name. That's why you won't tell. You got Margo!" Immediately he was running around the playground shouting that i"d gotten Margo's name. So much for Allen's ability to keep a secret.

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