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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Getting My Book Taken Away

I was a really good student in 5th grade-smart, but also into sports. I sat in Mr. Perguson's second row. He was the overweight teacher that turned away from the class and sneezed towards the chalkboard to cover up his flatulance.  I never got in trouble, until one day during silent reading.  This is the book I was reading:
See them walking on the beach in nightgowns? Does this look risque to you? It sure did to Mr Perguson.  He took my book away and asked me where I have gotten it.
"My mother," I replied.
He harrumphed and told me he'd be keeping it for a while and that he would be calling my mother after school.
As the daughter of a daughter of a high school principle I knew that if I got in trouble at school, I would be in trouble at home. My parents supported our teachers as much as they could. So I sweated it a little, but mainly hoped that my mom would just think it was funny. After all, this was Katherine Paterson, the author of Bridge of Terabithia and The Trumpeter of Krakow. And this one was the Newberry Medal winner in 1981. 

I went home and told me mom what had happened. Better she heard it from me first, right? She did laugh, just like I was hoping. Later that evening she talked to Mr. Perguson on the phone, but she did not share the conversation with me.
The next morning before class started he came to my desk and returned my book saying he had read it the previous night and it was okay for me to read.
No kidding, I thought, my mom is the one who gave it to me.
He didn't question my reading for the rest of the year. The flatulence I'm afraid though, didn't go away. If only I'd been a few rows further back . . .

Note: there are 21 different covers of Jacob Have I Loved, and this cover is still my favorite. 

1 comment:

  1. Even if this book was a romance, I think it was wrong for your teacher to confiscate it. This reminds me of my 7th grade history teacher who got mad at me for smiling in his classroom. I never misbehaved in there, but I was a cheerful person, so I usual had a natural smile on my face--whether I realized it or not.The teacher told me, "What is that half-smile you always have creeping up your face?" I was shocked and actually pretty hurt. I couldn't believe I'd gotten in trouble for being a happy person!