At dinner tonight, I first told Anne the story of my day and then Anne told me about her day. I was going to write about my day, but I like her story better, so I’m going to tell that one instead. I know you’ll be pleased. I was. Today she was subbing in kindergarten/1st grade and when it came to story time she got to read “Miss Nelson is Missing”, by Harry Allard and James Marshall.
I guess that I have to set the scene a bit with my story after all. I received an email today that announced that I now have the opportunity to voluntarily lay myself off. As incentive I’d get five months pay, but all in all it is not particularly attractive. The other shoe to drop is that assuredly after this voluntary layoff, an involuntary layoff will soon follow. These developments have gotten everyone’s undies all in a bunch at work, but I’ll go on the record here and say that after over thirty-five years of this corporate downsizing crap, I no longer care. Actually, my thoughts involve stronger language, but I’ll spare you. I have an exit strategy and I will work the plan. Anyway, as part of this a coworker, Frank has been ‘joking’ about pushing me down the stairs, to get me out-of-the-way.
That last segue was what got Anne speaking about her day. One little boy had pushed another down the stairs at school, albeit without serious injury. She then told me the story about Miss Nelson that she had read in class today. Let me sketch it for you and be warned, there will be spoilers.
One day in class, after many days of rambunctious classroom behavior, Miss Nelson was not in class. Miss Viola Swamp a frumpy old bag of a lady, with a witch’s nose and a black dress was the substitute. She had a booming voice and she would brook no dissent. She scared everyone and she was also not very much fun. After a day or two the children decided to go to the police and report that Miss Nelson was missing. The desk sergeant listened to the student’s report and after a bit of deliberation decided that Miss Nelson was missing. The kids left feeling that the police would be no help, but the very next day Miss Nelson reappeared. Her students welcomed her back and asked where she had been. She said, “That’s my secret.” Then she noticed how well-behaved they were now and she asked them why and they said, “That’s our secret.” At the end of the day, Miss Nelson went home and hung up her coat and on the next hook was a frumpy old black dress and she said to her self, “Now, that is my secret.”
I love that book! And your post is wonderful too…you’re a great storyteller.