Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law
he meditates day and night. (Ps 1:1-2 ESV)
Shaken and Stirred
By Stephen W. Hiemstra
Seventh grade was different.
Instead of having a teacher, a classroom, and a desk, you had a bell and a locker. When the bell rang, you moved from one class to another. Because of the constant motion, you couldn’t leave your books and stuff in your desk so books, notes, and personal items were stored in the locker.
School started with a bell.
Before the bell, we lined up outside the doors and just waited. At one point, friends and I went in early to drop off and pick up things in our locker but the vice principal (VP) caught us. He slammed one of our lockers shut and we took off running—no body wanted to be caught by the VP.
All day screams could be heard coming out of the VP’s office. He spent the day wandering the halls, catching rule breakers, and reminding them of the rules with a paddle that hung on his wall.
I never visited the VP’s office, but in fourth grade I visited the principal’s office.
My trip to the principal’s office started when Michael and his gang grabbed my kickball at recess. A bloody fight broke out between me, Michael, and his gang over the ball. It was unfortunate because Michael, who used to be a friend and a good student in third grade, gave up on his studies when he started hanging with this gang. Later in middle school, he carved wooden knives in shop and threatened everyone, even the teacher. In high school, he entered juvenil detention never to return. But, that day in fourth grade—when Michael and his gang grabbed my kickball—we were sent us to the principal’s office together a bloody mess. After the nurse cleaned us up, we were all sent home.
No, I never visited the VP’s office. I learned to keep the rules, not the VP, but from Mr. B.
I remember Mr. B’s civics class, in part, because he wore a crew cut and told great stories—but that is not the main reason why I remember Mr. B’s civics class.
One day while Mr. B was writing on the board I shot a spit ball at a guy and it landed at Mr. B’s feet. Now, Mr. B must have been having a bad day because he went nuts. He turned around, grabbed the student in front of me, picked him up by the shoulders, and shook him like a rag doll. For the rest of the period, nothing more was said; the class was silent.
Now silence can be golden. At a time when so much hung in the balance, I gave up on spit balls and didn’t need any longer to be reminded of the rules.