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Stories from Members
Shirlee Keele

5th Grade


Mrs. Wall was my 5th grade teacher. I knew she didn’t liked me. I was always in trouble with her. Looking back, I don’t think it was my fault. She started picking on me right from the start. She said I didn’t talk loud enough, and if I wanted anyone to hear me, I would have to speak up. Which was not fun, because I was very timid and shy and I never did talk very loud. I still have a soft voice, and its not my fault, it was just the way I was born.


Right from the start, she had picked on me. Every time I would say anything, she would yell, “I CAN’T HEAR YOU.” I would be so embarrassed when she would yell at me like that. I would never raise my hand to answer questions. I hated saying anything at all. So I decided to just quit talking. And of course, that would just make her SO MAD, then she would pick on me all the more. She would make me stand up in front of everybody and repeat what ever I was saying. And to make it worse, I would have to repeat it 4 or 5 times until I was screaming


One day she asked me to read a paragraph from the history book. I was doing just fine until I had read the first sentence. And then I heard it.


I CAN’T HEAR YOU, You will have to start over and read it loud enough for everyone to hear you.”


So I started Over and Over and Over. And each time I read it,

I CAN’T HEAR YOU.” Came screaming across the room. I think I started that paragraph over a dozen times until I was talking so loud I knew all the children in the next room could hear me. And needless to say, I was almost crying by then. BUT, do you think that bothered her? HA HA, guess again. I think it was her personal goal to teach me how to speak loud.


Well this went on all year. She never did let up on me. Sometimes it was even worse. So I decided I would show her. The next time she yelled at me, I wouldn’t talk loud. Maybe I wouldn’t even talk at all. My day finally came. It was a nice fall day, and so beautiful outside. I was looking out the window and day dreaming, when “you know who”, asked me some stupid question, and of course, she wanted me to stand to answer it. So I did, just like she asked. I heard Nancy say in a little whisper, “Talk really loud.” So I did, but it didn’t do any good. When she screamed at me to talk louder, I just sat down. Well as you can imagine, that was the wrong thing to do, because she came up to me, and I remember her face being so red. She told me to go outside and stand in the corner until she came to get me. Of course, the whole class laughed at me as I made my exit. I thought I was going to die.


She had said “outside”, not just out in the hall, so that’s where I went, I went outside. I laugh now to think I was dumb enough to stay there, I should have gone home, but I didn’t. I did things, I threw rocks, tried to scratch the brick up with a stick. Walked around…. boy was I bored. After what was a long time, the bell rang and I realized school was out. Kids started leaving the school and going home. Some of the kids stopped to ask me what I was doing out there all alone. Finally I went in side and asked her if I could leave. She got a surprised look on her face. She had forgotten about me. And I was scared enough that I hadn’t dared leave. She was really nice to me after that; at least I thought she didn’t pick on me so much.


Then one morning she said she wanted each of us to tell something we had done recently. Summer was here and school was almost over. There was just a few more days of school left, and I think she was trying to find something for us to do. She told us to be thinking about it during the day and before we went home, we would all tell our stories.


I kept thinking about what I could tell for my story. We had gone fishing over the week-end, so I decided to tell the class about that. My turn finally came and I talked as loud as I could. I told them about going fishing and cooking out over the fire and all the fun we had. Then I told them something I shouldn’t have. While we were camping, my dad had seen a little baby lamb. Now he really liked lamb, so he killed it. And I said those words so loud and clear. “He killed it.” And then they cooked some of the meat over the fire. It was so good. Then I looked at Mrs. Wall, she wasn’t yelling at me. She had her hand over her mouth, she looked like she was in shock. And I could hear some of the kids talking, and giggling. There were two kids in my class that should never have heard what I said. One was the son of the game warden, and the other one was my cousin, she lived right next door to me. Her dad was my dad’s brother. Sure enough, she ran right home and told her dad. She must have run as fast as she could, because my other cousin was outside waiting for me as I came by his house. He was such a smart eleck, and he started taunting me with his snotty little voice.


So you told the whole class about your dad stealing the lamb.

Boy, are you going to be in trouble.”


I told him to shut up, and I didn’t have any trouble saying that loud. It was then that I really realized what I had done. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about it before. Then I started getting nervous, actually afraid, because my dad was so ornery. As I went into the house, there he was, waiting for me. He had his arms folded, and the look on his face, I knew he had heard it all. He didn’t say anything, THEN, He just grabbed my arm and led me outside. He broke a branch off the tree, ran it through his hand and ripped all the leaves off, and then he preceded to willer my legs. As he always called it. Oh, that hurt so bad, later my legs had big red welts on them. It was THEN He had something to say.


What are you trying to do to me?” He screamed. “Do you want me to go to jail?”


Like it was MY fault he had done what he did. Well, the next day at school, everyone had heard about what had happened. Every body razzed me and wanted to know all about it, in detail. You can be sure I never told anymore stories about the bad things my dad did.


Even now, as I give lessons or talks, I remember to speak in my loudest voice. And now that my mother is getting hard of hearing, I have really improved. So maybe the 5th grade wasn’t such a failure. I did learn something after all. I think Mrs. Wall would be proud of me now.



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