In the summer of ’74 I spent a few months in Great Britain, touring in an Austin Mini and loving it! Upon my return to Canada, I found that Honda had come out with their version of a Mini, the Accord. I was ecstatic — I would have a beloved tiny car, here at home.
The Accord came with a manual transmission and a choice of five colours. My blue one was one of the first 10 in Edmonton and soon became a hit wherever I went, nowhere more so than at my K–7 school. Some students would run off the bus and deke through the parking lot (a no-no) just to have look.
Some of the Grade 7 boys even took it upon themselves to play a joke on my “toy car.” They would meet at the lot just before returning to class, lift one end of my Honda (like a wheelbarrow) and roll it elsewhere. Once they even placed it crossways between two other vehicles, making it impossible for me to leave the school grounds until both cars beside mine were gone.
This was a time when cars were long, heavy boats, so my car was way more fun! After the second relocation and my warnings went unheeded, I had to tell the principal. He gave the boys a good lecture about private property and the dangers of what they saw as a joke, and that for sure any repeat would be met with severe consequences.
All was fine for several weeks, but one afternoon, during my prep time, I had to get some art supplies out of my car, and I found my “wheels” between two playground structures not far from the parking lot. They’d assumed I wouldn’t see it until after classes were over. Not a chance, boys!
I went to the three classrooms where I thought my culprits resided and asked the teachers if I could borrow some muscle power for a small job I needed help with. I even named a few who might help. The teachers readily accepted my request and sent the boys to meet me in the mudroom. Once out there, my work gang realized they had been busted. The pleas for mercy were numerous and I saw some start to sweat a little.
“Oh, please Miss G., don’t tell on us … we’ll put it back where it was. We just wanted to do it one last time. Pleeeease!”
I stood pondering their request and then said, “We’ll see. Let’s go.”
My helpers rushed out to the car and heaved it up and slowly brought it back to the parking lot. But before they made it completely into the stall, I piped up, “Hang on fellows, that’s Mr. T’s spot. Mine is over here,” I said, pointing to a spot two cars over. I really couldn’t remember where I had parked that morning.
With gasps and grunts, Honda was back in a stall with the rest of his companions. I debated moving one more spot, but mutiny looked close at hand. On our way back inside, I said, “I guess we won’t find out what those severe consequences were, right guys?” Heads bobbed in agreement.
After classes, a couple of the Grade 7 teachers asked me what in the world I had those boys doing. Apparently, they returned very tired and sweaty.
“But, hey … not complaining,” one of the teachers added. “It was quieter and who wouldn’t like that?”
Irene Gagné is a retired teacher who taught for Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools.
Moot Points is your chance to write about a funny incident, a lesson learned or a poignant experience related to teaching. Please email articles to managing editor Cory Hare: email@example.com.
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