Learning Life’s Lessons

I was probably in the 3rd grade and Kenny was in the 5th. Mr. Henniger was the principal at Pond Springs School at the little three room school we attended in Jollyville.

After we ate our lunch each day, Mr. Henniger had a chest type freezer in his office where he kept ice cream bars. If you had a nickel you could buy a ice cream sandwich or a fudgsicle to eat out on the playground. He would go in and we would all line up and watch as he unlocked the freezer with a key on the big key chain attached to his belt.

One of the big boys discovered the unlocking business was all for show. If you pushed down a certain way the lid would fly up. So it became the practice that after he would “lock up” and head to the playground the big boys would go in and help themselves. The younger ones followed suit.

After a few days, the inventory wasn’t working out. Perhaps it was one of the tattletale girls. Either way, a bunch of kids were called in for a good talking to.

We were each told to go home and tell our parents what we had done and then the parent could come up to the school for a conference.

With dread Kenny and I went home and told our mother. I’m not sure if Cecil was included in this. The next morning she took us to school and went in and talked to Mr. Henniger. It wasn’t conversation she delighted in I’m sure. I don’t remember what restitution was required but just having to go home and tell her was punishment enough.

Out of the other dozen or more that were involved, no one else ever told their parents, therefore no other parent ever showed up to talk to Mr. Henninger. Nothing else ever happened.

Kenny and I thought the whole thing didn’t seem that fair. But in the big picture, the two of us learned a lesson. Maybe a couple of lessons.

Don’t take anything that doesn’t belong to you. The other was don’t act too fast and maybe left alone, things will work out. I think the first lesson was the real one to learn. I only jest about the second one. When something happens, face it head on and get it over with. Nothing is hardly ever as bad as you imagine it will be.

Besides, if we had done like all the others, I wouldn’t have this memorable story to tell almost 60 years later. I bet none of them even remember it happening.

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