So You Want To Be A Girl, Do You - Chapter 8

So You Want To Be A Girl, Do You? - Chapter 8
By Barbara Lynn Terry

If you have not read “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, you should. It is a good poem to read. Stephanie read in study hall about how Francis Scott Key wrote the poem The Star Spangled Banner while a prisoner aboard a British vessel. She also found out that it is the first stanza of that poem that is our national anthem.*

As she walked inside of her home, she mused to herself just how much the boys in her class have really learned. Or, did they already have the study ability, even at Cass? Oh, well, might as well get a glass of juice.

“Mom, I was thinking about Donny Baird again. What if he forces me to dance with him when we get to the dance? I mean, if he would have a decent attitude, then maybe I might have said yes. But, the way he is now, he is just a jerk.”

“I will take care of Mr. Baird. I have been asked if I would like to be a chaperone at the dance. A lot of the PTA members have been asked. So, with the members of the PTA and the teachers that will be there, we will be able watch everybody more closely. If Donny Baird tries to cut in on a dance between you and Fred, I and a teacher will stop it.”

“Alright, mom. I got a book from the school library about the Revolutionary War. I found what is in it, very interesting. After ncfdinner, I am going to start to read it. Mr. Davis said we will be studying the Revolutionary War for another two weeks, because it was the war that actually founded a nation.”

“Yes, dear. The Revolutionary War was the most important of all of the wars we have had within the US borders, even though our country wasn’t called that at the time. There is a really good movie coming on tonight called North By Northwest starring Cary Grant. I think you will find this movie interesting, because it shows Mount Rushmore in it.”

“I will go and start reading my book. I really don’t have any homework. Most of what we did today was all done in class.”

“Alright, dear. I am going to figure out what to have for dinner.”

Stephanie went to the refrigerator and looked to see if they had ground beef, onions, tomatoes, taco sauce, and sharp cheddar cheese. Then she went to the cupboard to look for tortilla shells, and taco seasoning. Then she looked at her mother with her idea for dinner.

“Mom, we have all of the things for tacos.** We could have tacos for dinner.”

“That sounds like a plan. Thank you, dear.”

“Would you like me to help you?” Stephanie asked her mother.

“Why thank you, dear. Yes, you could shred the lettuce and cut the onions. Did you notice if we have black olives?” Stephanie looked and said yes. But since it only takes a few minutes to prepare the ground beef and cut the onions, they could wait a little longer before they had to start getting the ground beef and onions ready.

So, Stephanie went to read her book on the Revolutionary War. She read about all of the taxation that King George imposed on the thirteen colonies. She read about brigadier general Francis “the Swamp Fox” Marion. She read about Paul Revere. She put the book down and looked at her clock on her night stand. It was time to start dinner.

As she came in the kitchen, her mother was already browning the ground beef. Stephanie got out the lettuce and the onions, and began dicing the onions. When she was finished with the onions, she got out the cheese, and used the bell shaped cheese shredder and shredded the cheese, she got out the black olives, which she sliced, then got out the taco sauce. She put the diced onions in a small bowl, as well as the black olives and cheese.

By the time she was finished with her tasks, the ground beef was ready. Stephanie’s mother spread taco sauce on to the tortilla shells and then put the ground beef, taco sauce, cheese, black olives and tomatoes on to the tortilla shells and wrapped them around the ingredients.

As they ate, Stephanie told her mother about her school day, and that Mr. Davis was still a hunk.

“A hunk, huh. Well, I suppose he may be, but, he is way too old for you.”

“A girl can dream, can’t she?”

“Yes, dear.”

Stephanie ate two tacos, and had a glass of milk. She excused herself from the table, and went to read her book on the Revolutionary War.

“Dear, you could write an essay on the Revolutionary War and ask your teacher if you can get extra credit for it.”

“Thank you, mother, I will do that.”

“Stephanie, there is a lot you can write about the Revolutionary War. There are British as well as Continental army people you could write about. Such as, there are British governors appointed by King George III, to oversee the colonies. You could even write about King III himself. You know, Stephanie, King George III was a very highly educated man. It is too bad he let that education go to waste.”

“How did he let his education go to waste, mother?” Inquired Stephanie.

“You find out, dear. That is what research is all about. To find out things. Besides, I will not do your essay for you.” Both ladies giggled.

“Alright, mom, I will look everything up, when I have study hall.”

Stephanie went back to her room to read about the Revolutionary War. She read how it started, and what “the shot heard ‘round the world” really meant.

When she was in history class she heard John Michaels relate about he had read about brigadier general Francis Marion. John also said that he was known as the Swamp Fox. She would have to see if this book mentioned him. Right for now, this book started out with a history of hpw the Revolutionary War started. Taxation without representation was only one of the various reasons, the American colonists declared and fought for their independence from King George III.

She figured if she asked Mr. Davis first, then she knew she would get extra credit for her Revolutionary War essay. So, she laid on her bed and read. The book even had paintings of the likenesses of King George III, Lord Conwallis, George Washington, and other key figures of the that time. Photography was a long ways off yet.

After about an hour, Stephanie took a break from reading. She went downstairs and joined her mother in watching television. The movie had just started, so Stephanie didn’t miss anything. The movie they were watching was The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It starred Charles Laughton as the hunchback.** For two and half hours they watched the movie, with Mrs. Kelly making popcorn during the first set of commercials. She filled the small mixing bowl with popcorn and they sat and nibbled while they watched how Quasimodo went through the movie trying to save Esmeralda from certain death.

As the movie was coming to an end, Stephanie laid her head on her mother’s lap, and was promptly sound asleep. Of course, she had a very tiring day. She went to school, came home, read for a bit, helped with dinner, read som more. Then went down to watch television. All of that can put a drain on a eleven year old child.

Mrs. Kelly didn’t wake her, knowing that if Stephanie got up in the middle of the night, she would find herself to her own bed. Stephanie’s mother turned off the tv, placed the popcorn bowl in the sink, and went to her own bedroom to get ready for and get in bed.

The next morning, being a Friday, Mrs. Kelly woke Stephanie and told her it was the last day of school for two and half whole days. Stephanie smiled, and swung her feet from under the covers.

“Good morning, mother,” Stephanie said through a yawn.

“Good morning, dear. Get your bath going and then get dressed. I’m making pancakes, sausage patties, and pouring the milk and orange juice.”

“Alright, mother. I will be down in a few minutes.”

On school days, Stephanie didn’t linger in the bath tub, taking a bubble bath. She just used her perfumed soap and took a shower. It was cold outside, so she would wait until tomorrow to wash her hair.

Her shower completed, she patted herself dry, and went to her bedroom to get dressed. She figured today was the day for a plaid skirt, long sleeved blouse, knee high, double knit socks. She figured her black flats with the one quarter inch heels would complete the outfit. She put her hair in a pony tail, and went downstairs to have breakfast.

“I see you’re all dressed up. Going on a secret date?”

“Oh! Mother,” Stephanie uttered in mock exasperation, with a sigh. “I will just have two pancakes, one sausage patty, milk and juice.”

“All right, dear. I squeezed oranges with the orange juicer.*** So, it is home made orange juice.”

“I read where they said anything home made is better for you than if you bought the same item in the store.”

“Yes, it is. It is also healthier, too. In the packaging, they put what are called preservatives. This, they claim, protects the freshness of the product, like cereals, pancake mix, and many, many other items. So, if you can make it home made, then do it. Besides being healthier, it also tastes better, too.

“Mother, I am eleven years old. Would you teach me how to cook?”

“Of course, Stephanie, I would be only too glad to help you learn how to cook. But, you don’t have time right now. You need to go and catch your bus and get to school. When you get home, I will teach you. We will start with something simple.”

“Alright, mom, see you after school.”

Stephanie grabbed her coat, the book on the Revolutionary War that she was reading, and went out to catch the number 27 going toward Wisconsin Avenue. Once she got to Wisconsin Avenue, she could take any bus going east, because they all stopped at North 19th Street and West Wisconsin Avenue.

The bus came right on time, for a change, and she go on. But, she had to stand in the stairwell, because this bus was overfilled. Legally, they weren’t allowed to have students standing in the stairwell, because of safety concerns. So, being in the stairwell, and not being able to reach the fare box, she didn’t have to show her school bus pass.

The bus let almost all of the students off at North 27th and West Wisconsin Avenue. The number 10 from county hospital was just pulling up to the eastbound bus stop. Stephanie waved her hand indicating that she needed to get on that bus. The bus driver waited for the students, and they all thanked him. This bus wasn’t crowded, and Stephanie was actually able to sit down.

When the bus was nearing North 19th Street, Stephanie pulled the buzzer cord, indicating that she wanted to get off. The bus stopped at North 19th Street, and several students got off. Donny Baird knew what bus stop she got off at, and he was waiting by the bus stop.

“Hey, Steph, where’re our books. I only see one. Would like me to carry that for you?”

“Donald Adam Baird, you are a … uhm … troll. Yes, a troll, now go back under your bridge.”

“Aww c’mon Steph. All I want is for you to let me take you to the dance.”

“Donald Adam Baird, we have been over this time and time again. I keep saying no, and you keep asking. I think George is right; you took the train instead of waiting for brains. Now, get away from me, or I will tell George and Fred that you are bothering me, again, to go to the dance with you.”

“But, all I want is one dance, then.”

Stephanie kept walking toward the school, where she saw George and Fred talking. She went up to them, and told them what Donny was up to. George and Fred went over by Donny Baird.

“Hey, Fred, it’s Donny Baird. You know him, he’s the one that keeps bothering Stephanie.”

“Is that so, George? What do you think should be done with Donald Baird?”

“I think,” George told Fred. “That maybe he should get his ass kicked a few times. Then maybe he will get the message that Stephanie Kelly is off limits to him.”

“So, who will kick my ass?” Inquired Donald (Donny) Adam Baird.

“Fred, let’s flip for it. Heads I will be only too happy to do the dirty work. Tails, you get the honors.”

“What? You think Fred can take me?”

“Don’t sell Fred short, Donny. Just because Fred is quiet and minds his own business, doesn’t mean he can’t fight. If I were you Donny, I would leave Stephanie alone, from now on.”

“All I said, George, was that she should dump frumpy here, and go to the dance with a real man.”

Fred became angry and gave Donny Baird a lesson he soon will not forget. This is how it happened.

“Donny,” said Fred, as he was talking to Donny. “Let’s go across the street. The bell won’t ring for another five minutes, yet.”

“That is enough time for me to kick your ass,” Donny told Fred.

They went in the alley across the street and all you could hear
was “no, Fred, no”, coming from Donny Baird.

“Now, Mr. Baird, if you ever tell anyone again, about how you’re a real man, and you should be the one to take this or that girl anywhere, you better be prepared to get the ass whipping of your life.”

“Donny, one other thing. If you tell the nurse I kicked your ass remember that I have Stephanie, George and the others out there by the door, to tell principal Stevens about you constantly bothering Stephanie. I thought that we got away from the bullies when Jimmy Henderson and his two friends were expelled. I guess I was wrong.”

“Fred, I’m…I’m not…a bully. I was just asking Stephanie if she wanted to go the dance with me, instead of you.”

“Well, now you know who she is going with. Besides, she needs someone who will treat her with respect. You, Donny, on the other hand, don’t even know what respect is. Now, this is the end of you bothering Stephanie for any reason.”

“Sure, Fred, sure”

They went back across the street, and just in time for the first bell. Everybody filed in to the school, and right to their lockers. Stephanie got out her English, math, and geography books, as well as her notebooks for each class. They proceeded to their first English class.

“I don’t think Donny will bother you any more, Steph,” Michelle said, on the way to class.

“Don’t bet on it, Mish.Donny Baird is so egotistical, he will tell others that he beat up Fred. He is one boy that just will not learn and may be headed for the school of hard knocks, as my mother calls prison.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised, Steph. He just might join Jimmy Henderson and his two friends there.”

“I would be willing to bet on it.”

Mrs. Richards was writing sentences on the blackboard, and when she was done, we had all taken our seats.

“Class, on the blackboard are five sentences. I want you all to copy them as they are written. Then we are going to discuss the parts of speech in each sentence.”

We opened our English books, then we got out our notebooks. We copied the five sentences, and each of them were written differently. Mrs. Richards busied herself at her desk. When she thought that we had had enough time to copy the sentences, she stood up and spoke to the class.

“Alright class, we are now going to discuss the parts of speech in each sentence. Who would like to go first. Michelle raised her hand. “Michelle, would you please read the first sentence.”

“If the hound chased the rabbit, where did the hound go?”

“Now, Michelle, tells us what the parts of speech are in this sentence.”

“Yes, Mrs. Richards. If is a conjunction, the is a definite adverb, Hound is a noun, chased is a verb, rabbit is a noun, where is an adverb. I couldn’t find what part of speech ‘go’ was, even though some books I looked in, said ‘go’ was a verb, because it described action.”

“Alright, Michelle, thank you. Johnny Foster, will you please read the second sentence? Then give us the parts of speech in that sentence.”

Johnny read the second sentence and gave the parts of speech that he recognized. After he was through, Mrs. Richards thanked him, and then the bell rang. We left the classroom and went to our math class.

Mr. Jenkins was sitting at his desk, looking at some papers. I couldn’t see what was on those papers, but, I had a sneaky suspicion in the back of my mind. Mr. Jenkins put the papers down and looked over the class.

“I can see by looking at the class that everybody is here. That is good, because today, we are having our first pop quiz of the year. I will give these papers to the first desk in each row, and they are to pass them back to the person behind them.” He passed out the papers. “Alright, class, you may begin.”

He sat back down and busied himself with paper work. Every now and then, he would look up, and look around the class. The alarm clock he had on his desk rang.

“Alright, class, put your pencils down, and please pass your papers forward.”

He took the papers and began grading them, after telling us to do the exercises at the end of chapter three. While we wee doing the exercises, Mr. Jenkins graded the quiz papers. When we were finished with the exercises, the bell rang ending class. We were told to leave our exercise papers on his desk. We did that as we left the classroom, not giving Mr. Jenkins a chance to give us homework. Michelle, Sally, Janet, Dan, and George all had our lockers near each other. So, guess who comes up to me, at my locker. Uh huh. Donny Baird.

“You listen to me, I am taking you to the dance, whether Fred, or George, or anyone else doesn’t like it.”

George came over and stood right behind Donny Baird.

“Do you have a problem, Donald Adam Baird?”

“Mind your own business, George. This doesn’t concern you.”

“Maybe not, but it concerns me,” Mr. Jenkins said. “Leave her alone, Mr. Baird. Now, leave her alone, or, we can go to Mr. Stevens office and find out what your problem really is.”

“Man, you teachers are all alike. All I asked her is would she go to the dance with me.”

“That isn’t what I heard, Mr. Baird. I heard you order her to go to the school dance with you. Didn’t you learn your lesson this morning. Oh! Yes! I know all about it. But, I will tell you what I will do, the next time you bother her. I will have the boxing ring put up in the gym, and you and Fred can go to it. How does that sound, Mr. Baird?”

“Go to hell, Jenkins.”

“Come with me, Mr. Baird,” whereupon Mr. Jenkins grabbed his shirt collar and walked Donny to Mr. Stevens office.

“I don’t think he will cause anymore trouble at this school. He has been trouble ever since Jimmy Henderson and his two so-called friends were expelled.”

“I know, George, But, I did everything I could think of to make him stop. He just wouldn’t.”

We entered Mr. Johnson’s class. I was ready for geography. We were talking last time about points of interest. He said yesterday, that we would continue talking about these points of interests.

“Class, I have taken roll call as you were coming in. Everyone is all here. Yesterday, we talked about points if interests that people visit each year. Does anyone have any other points of interest that we didn’t talk about yesterday?” Nobody raised their hand. “What about Monument Valley, where they make western movies? What about Pier 39 in San Francisco? There are many points of interest we haven’t talked about, yet.”

Jimmy raised his hand. “Yes, Jimmy.”

“Many people visit the USS Arizona monument in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

“That is a very good point of interest, Jimmy. Thank you.” Sally raised her hand. “Yes, Sally.”

“What about Sea World*** in Orlando, Florida? A lot of people visit there every year, too.”

“Yes, Sally, they certainly do. Anybody else?”

Just then, the bell ending class rang.

“There is no homework for tonight. I want to go over some other points of interests on Monday. There are several we haven’t covered, yet. Have a good weekend.”

We left Mr. Johnston’s class and went to put our books away. Then we headed for the cafeteria.

We talked as we walked to the cafeteria. We were having beef stroganoff for lunch, with carrots, and bread. The problem with the bread was, it was ten cents a slice. We got our lunch and sat down to eat. Donny Baird just happened in to the cafeteria.

“Now, either you go to the school dance with me, or …” He didn’t get to finish. Mr. Jenkins must have followed him.

“Mr. Baird, you were just suspended. What are you doing here?”

“It is really none of your business.”

“Okay. Let’s go young man. I’m sure the police will be interested in what you have been up to.”

Mr. Jenkins took Donny Baird back to Mr. Stevens office. We kind of knew that he was on his way to being expelled. It seems that we get rid of one bully and someone else steps up to take his place. The bell rang for the end of lunch, and we put our garbage in the container for that purpose, and we set our trays on the stand by the door, as well as, dropping our flatware in the stock pot filled three quarters of the way with water.

After we got our afternoon books, we headed to study hall. Since I didn’t have any work to do, I looked for a book on the American Revolution. The book I have, is good, but there are other books by other authors. There was a book I hadn’t read. It is called Johnny Tremaine. I’m going to read this book and see who Johnny Tremaine was.

I had just finished chapter one of Johnny Tremaine, when the bell rang ending class. We left study hall and headed to Mr. Davis’ class and American History. I was enjoying this class, because it taught me things about America I had never known before. As we were all seated, Mr. Davis took roll call. Mr. Davis also did not dress or act like other teachers.

“Class, the last time we met, we were talking about the Coercive or Intolerable Acts, set against the colonies by the English Parliament. I thought today, we would have a short quiz on what we have learned.” Mr. Davis passed out the quiz papers. “Alright class, you may begin.”

As we were doing our quiz, I finally saw the title of the book of poems he was reading from. It is called “Tales of a Wayside Inn”.**** He seemed very interested in this book, because, I guess, it contained poems from the time of the American Revolution. I will have to look for that book. Maybe the school library may have it.

By the time we were through with our quiz, the bell ending class had rung.

“Class, leave your quiz papers on my desk and have a good weekend.”

This was the end of the school day, because we didn’t have home ec. Our teacher was out with a cold. Maybe it is only the twenty four hour kind. Anyway, we went to our lockers and put our books away. We have been lucky, so far, on these first few days of school. So, we started out of the door, and we saw the police put Donny Baird in the back seat of a police car. Well, it looks like Donny Baird, jimmy Henderson and his two friends, will have a lot to talk about when Donny gets to the detention center. I just hope that where ever they go, they will learn not to pick on others weaker than they are.

**The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) RKO Radio Pictures 1hr.57min - Starring Charles Laughton, Maureen O’Hara, Edmond O’Brien.

***SeaWorld Amusement Park, 7007 Sea World Dr., Orlando, FL

****Tales of a Wayside Inn, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, first published in 1863. This book may be purchased from all reputable book sellers and

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