A Haven for Vee

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Gold Tack

Shhhh...don't tell anyone...Bobby's going to put a tack in Miss Flaubert's chair!

I was, as the class prude and very good girl, appropriately shocked; however, I said nothing, told no one. Perhaps that was because I liked Bobby a whole lot more than I liked Miss Flaubert. She was our French teacher and was she ever strict!
She often called us names (in French, of course) that I'm pretty sure weren't nice.

Reporting one comment to my mother had not proved to be as helpful as I had hoped because my mother agreed with Miss Flaubert. Mother would often say, "I do not know how you came to be in such a rough class." We were sadly known as "terrors." Can you imagine?!

On that winter day (I know that it was winter because Miss Flaubert was wearing a thick wool skirt, A-line I believe), we took our seats in French class right after lunch, all except for Bobby who managed to place that tack on the teacher's chair and hightail it back to his desk just before Miss Flaubert came in. She greeted us, "Bonjour mes petits crétins." Yes, I'm fairly certain that that was what she said. Then she headed for her desk in the left front corner of the room.

Every eye was wide. Every heart pounded. My face was flushed. I wasn't feeling so well.

She pulled out her chair and, while watching us — after all, she had never had such an attentive group — sat down slowly.

Oh it was agonizing. The entire class leaned forward waiting. Nothing. Not a sound in the room except for a small strangled cough from Bobby. She shifted in her seat. We gasped a bit, I think. Nothing. No hint of trouble whatsoever. Then she took her text and went to the chalkboard where she stood writing sentences in French and all the while a small gold tack glinted at us from her wool-skirted posterior.

I do believe that my class suffered a collective nervous breakdown that day. Bobby was the most afflicted. It may have been the very day that he decided to take up a career in psychology.*

As Miss Flaubert turned to ask Bobby if he'd like to go get some water, the tack fell to the floor without so much as a plink.

[I told this true story to my grandson Sunday. He had such an incredulous look on his face, was shocked at all the right places, and even covered his mouth in wide-eyed horror. It was very satisfying. I'm not sure that my son appreciated my telling the story, though I am sure that Sam would never do such a thing.]

Now, if any of you decide to share a story about school days, I'm all ears. =D

* (Yes, would you believe that he is a well respected psychologist today?!)


  1. A fabulous story....well told!

    I would have been as uncomfortable as you were.

  2. You had me on the edge of my seat (no pun intended)! You have a way with a story, Vee! I can feel the tension, waiting for Miss Flaubert to sit on that tack...yikes! :D

    (I love that your grand was captivated by your story...I know that was fun.)

  3. What a cute and absolutely hysterical story! You told it so well although my tendency to giggle would have given something away. =)

    I was always fairly good in school although I couldn't seem to get my "Control's Talking" grade above a C.

    Go figure.

    The worst thing that I ever did was when I learned those lovely details of how a baby is born over Christmas break (my momma was expecting my little brother at the time), when the teacher asked us to draw a picture of what we did over the break, she got multiple detailed pages of how a baby is born first grade edition from me......

    Have a great Tuesday!

    1. What a hoot! =D Glad that you picked up on the humor I was trying to convey.

  4. Loved the story. It brought back memories.

  5. What a wonderful story Vee!!! I was a goody two shoes myself and would have been mortified! I guess it was a good thing it was cold weather...I hope you are staying cozy sweet friend, hugs and love, Dawn

  6. You are truly a gifted writer! I'm afraid my story doesn't have nearly that kind of humor and was one of my most embarrassing moments. It was first grade and I asked to go to the bathroom twice. Miss Green said no both times. Each and every one of the students knew and every one of them ignored it and never said a word then nor in the future. I don't remember who cleaned the puddle. I still wonder if Miss Green (it was her first year teaching) ever again denied a child's request to go to the bathroom.

    Your story is so much better! Wish I, another very respectful student, would have had the imagination and courage to put a tack in Miss Green's chair.

  7. Ah, back in the day when pranks were harmless, not necessarily painless. :-). It was always the boys doing the deed with the girls all a twitter. One guy in grade school squeezed toothpaste along the drawer handle of our teacher's desk drawer and ended up standing in the corner.
    I don't suppose the kids have this kind of mischievous fun these days.

  8. You are such a great story teller Vee. I was squirming right along with the class :-).

    Nothing nearly as fun happened in my class rooms growing up.

  9. Oh that is a precious school-time story.

    Her thick wool skirt "saved" her!


  10. I am seriously laughing out loud Vee. You sure do tell a great story. That was so funny. You and I were a lot alike. I was so shy. I remember the many times boys put tacks on the teacher's chair. I vaguely remember a garter snake in a drawer one time too. Oh they were mischievous. The worst trouble was "unknown" boys calling the school saying there was a bomb in the school. We were evacuated and sent home for the rest of the day. That happened more than once too. Then there were the 'stink' bombs let off in the basement washrooms (boys) that had us evacuated until the air was cleared. Such excitement! Such a stink!!! I also remember seeing a boy holding a dead rat by it's tail and swinging it at the girls on the playground. Gross!!! I'm sure they got the strap on their hands when caught. I wonder what their punishment would be today? The bomb thing would send one to jail or a psychologist at least. Thanks for the memories Vee. Hugs, Pam

  11. Good morning! I was a definite goody two shoes and would have been equally horrified. I went to catholic school for 10 years and had many nuns that taught us. I remember one day when the 8th grade boys were giving this one tiny nun the hardest time, which they did frequently, laughing at her etc. One day in frustrated fury she rushed down the aisle and literally began pummeling this kid with her fists. We all watched in horror when he burst into tears and fled from the room. Now she couldn't have possibly hurt him....she was tiny and weak and he was near six ft and strong. But he was soo humiliated to be hit by the small nun he fled. They never did it again. Can you imagine such a thing happening today? Haven't thought about this in years...haha. Enjoy your day!

  12. A fabulous well told story from the past. If I wasn't up earlier than usual and if I was done with my brain awakening coffee I might be able to pull up a story for you...

  13. You wrote it like the beginning of a novel.

    Lady, you are an author, you really are.

    What a grand story!

    I have a couple but no time - you should have a monthly linky party called
    "School Day Stories." I bet it would go over well, people love to share things from the past.


  14. You gave us all so many smiles this morning!!! I love it!!

  15. What a great story! It brought back memories of shorthand class. We were a very disrupting class. Teased the teacher a lot about her boyfriend.

  16. Hehehe, I could hardly wait to see what the end of the story would tell us!

    My husband's brother is a psychiatric social worker. In that field, he has admitted it is true that those attracted to it often had unsettled childhood memories themselves.

    Just saying...

  17. What a great story and so adorable that your grandson was as spell bound as I was! I wish I could remember all the trouble my chatty friend and I got into.....I do recall one incident in Grade 1 (we didn't have kindergarden in those days). My friend and I were always chatting and the teacher was tired of telling us to be quiet I guess so she took scotch tape and taped our mouths closed - can you even imagine that happening today??

  18. Hi Vee,
    Now this is a funny story! Bad Bobby..LOL
    kids will be kids.
    I was the good girl too. Never had any trouble, although the kids would pick on me for being short and they didn't want to pick me to be on their team of volley ball . OH well...I guess that's why I don't have a sports bone in my body.
    Thank you Vee for your sweet note, Sending you a big hug!

  19. Oh, such a story! Those were the "good ol' days"!

    Alright --- so when I was in 4th grade, Danny got in trouble with our teacher, Mr. Smith. So Mr. Smith took him into the office to give him a switching. Unfortunately Danny had a tack in his pocket and it made the switching extra uncomfortable! We all felt sorry for Danny. He had our full sympathies. We were very quiet and good in our seats while Danny got his switching (tiny office right off the classroom).

    True story. Danny didn't turn out so well though. Not like Bobby.

  20. Oh goodness, what a hoot!!!! Love this story! Tell John I was actually a good child at school. Never got into trouble. I only had to sit in the corner alot in the first grade cuz I liked to talk. My teachers loved me. I NEVER put tacks in the teacher's chair! I'm glad Mrs. Flaubert had on a thick wool skirt that day! OR, that tack must've poked in and between where Mrs. Flaubert's anatomy was NOT! LOL!!! Great TRUE story, Vee!!!

    (sure you didn't put the tack there?)

  21. From one goodie two shoes to another, great story and you told it so well! Laughing still!

  22. Great "share" well told Vee!
    Once I was looking around the Internet for various ancestor names and up popped a newspaper story. It was an interview with some old guy, written in the 1930s. He was remembering his life as a child in Ohio in the 1870 and he told about a class prank played in his log cabin one room school house as a fifth grader.

    He mentioned by name my great great great grandmother as she was put in charge of marching the bad child around the room with his forbidden gum stuck on his nose, my multi great grandmother was leading the march shouldering a broom military fashion leading the march.

    I treasure his report of a moment in my great grandmother's life; she was a twin and all we have of her is a photograph of her as an elderly woman.

  23. I would have burst out laughing as soon as I saw the tack on her butt! Great story. And lucky for Mrs. Flaubert, I bet that wool skirt was lined! xo

  24. Ouch! You really have a great way of telling a story, Vee. How ironic that Bobby is a psychologist today. I would think he'd go on to the entertainment business!


  25. How funny! I had long forgotten that someone did this during grade school. I didn't know about it beforehand or else I would have tattled. My poor teacher felt it too! (A very strict nun.) Giggles abounded that morning in our classroom.

  26. Well there was this day that I was standing at the chalkboard beside Wendell, we were in the 4th grade. I was wearing a jumper that buttoned all the way down the front. I'm sure it was a hand me down from one of my sisters, so the buttonholes were well worn. Well you can probably imagine what happened next. Wendell said..... ah....Abigail......you have a problem. I looked down the front of my jumper and to my horror, every button had come undone. There I was exposed for the whole 4th grade class to see, me in a turtleneck and tights wearing my jumper like a long vest.

  27. Oh...now that brings back memories of junior high (now called middle school over here). Every class has a Bobby or two...and identifying with your Mrs. Flaubert was easy to do as well. Good story. It brings back memories of my 8th grade typing class...where the 'emergency exit' door of the classroom was open to the great outdoors on a spring day and by the end of class, only a handful of students remained. Every time the teacher turned his back...another student slipped out the door. The teacher seemed oblivious and never said a word. There are good reasons why my typing is so pathetic!

  28. A cute story beautifully told! I was called "giggle-box" when I was a youngster and I'm quite sure I would have been laughing!

    I went to a one-room country school the first 6 grades. The desks one year had tops that were raised and books, etc. were stored in the well underneath. The teacher accidentally "broke wind" one day sitting at her desk in front of the room. In unison, all the desk tops flew up and much laughter and giggling could be heard behind those raised tops! She just kept on working and not a word was said. I suppose we all thought that having raised our desk tops and hiding behind them that she wouldn't notice we were laughing hysterically! Of course, she didn't want to draw any more attention to the "incident" and just ignored us. Eventually the laughter died down and we got to work, but not without a few giggles now and then. You can bet what the topic of conversation was at recess!

  29. I was mesmerized, I kept expecting that you were going to say that you stood up and told on Bobby! I guess that would have been social suicide or knowing that's what I would have done:-d Great story and I hope your grandson got it, XOXO

  30. What a great telling of a very humorous story! I have a tell-tale face, so one look at me and any teacher could tell that something was up. I do remember my 3rd grade teacher was a German lady that spoke with a heavy accent and because she was hard to understand she got frustrated with us. She would take a ruler and walk around the class punctuating every word with a smack of her ruler. One day she went to pull her ruler out and only found 2 small pieces of it. An unnamed big brother had heard enough of the stories he decided to take action.

  31. greetings from balmy BC. Enjoyed your story so much. I was reminded of April Fools in Gr. 7 I brought my father's alarm clock to school and set it to go off in the middle of class. Which it did. My teacher was not impressed and some how she know it was me. I was given a detention and the clock was taken away which didn't make my father any to happy either. BUT, the kids thought it was funny and that made it all worthwhile.

  32. I loved your story and it made me smile.

    I was in seventh grade and our General Science teacher was just someone who no one respected and I don't know why but we just did whatever we wanted in that class and just ignored the poor man. Just one of the things we did was push all the desks to the sides of the room and started playing tag in the class room. The teacher just stood there not knowing what to do.
    Another time we all brought water pistols to class and had a water fight. He'd try to give us detention and we just didn't show up.
    He never finished out the year - we got a new teacher and things went back to normal.

  33. My bestest friend in the second grade was a sweet little girl named Pam. I don't know if we became friends because we shared the first same name or for some other reason maybe. Who really knows when you're seven years old...right? Anywho, Pam was very mischevious and our sweet teacher Mrs. Kyle always had trouble keeping her in line. One beautiful spring day, Pam decided she didn't want to learn anything, she wanted to play outside, in the fresh spring air! She refused to stay seated in her chair...she danced about the classroom and even started skipping!!! Finally after attempts at being put out in the hallway (which only allowed her to skip up and down the vast space)-poor Mrs.Kyle, brought her back into the room and placed her desk facing all of us children and TIED her to it! I was so upset that I cried and begged for her to be set free! Sheepishly, Mrs. Kyle looked down at Pam, who at this point was crying herself, and asked her if she had learned anything? She had...she promised to be a good little girl and always obey teacher....haha,I don't recall her ever being bad after that day. (Although, her family moved to Pennsylvania that summer.

  34. LOL! You're such a good story teller! I was quite enthralled and enjoyed your description of your grandson's reaction!

    Well I went to an all girl Catholic boarding school and we would never do anything even remotely like that :D
    As a matter of fact, my French teacher was the most beautiful nun in the Convent and very sweet.

  35. I love Sam's reaction to the story. Very satisfying, indeed!
    My hubby was kind of the class clown in a Catholic school. He pretended to karate chop a nun's hat/head and somehow made contact with her in a karate chop fashion and got in big trouble.
    He always got A's in things like courage, but not so much in conduct!

  36. Vee, what an extremely lovely surprise to check my e-mail and find your comment! I really appreciate you coming over to see how I am doing. I still intend to get back to regular blogging one of these days, but lately I have really been missing my blog friends. So, what a happy, happy surprise to hear from you! I am doing well, staying much too busy, and still trying to sort out my priority list. Two sons in college now (still living at home) and a teenage daughter not yet old enough to drive but who has somewhere to be EVERY day of the week, mostly related to her ballet and work! That along with my commissioned artwork and web design business has fairly well taken over my life. Let me assure you that I am BLESSED beyond measure. God has been so good in giving me such a precious family, and I am thankful that the boys still love being around us enough to want to stay home and attend college... lol These days it just makes economic sense for them to do that if they can. This particular week I am working on a large commissioned architectural watercolor & drawing combination and a website build for a photographer. I am yearning to get back into blogging, as well as a couple of other creative projects that have been on the back burner much too long. I will have to read up and see how things are going with you... but I am hoping/trusting that you are happy and blessed! LOVED your story of the "Gold Tack"! Thanks so much, again, for checking in on me!!


  37. Oh my... I will have to think back for some stories from Catholic grammar school with only nuns for teachers. I may have blocked them out!!

  38. That is just the best school story. I will have to put on my thinking cap and see what I can come up with.

  39. Great story, Vee! So funny! I could visualize the whole thing. That must have been a very thick wool skirt. ; )


  40. Loved your story:) There were some identical boy twins in my grade. They were always put in separate classrooms. Every year they picked a day to switch places. The kids would all know, but I'm not sure if the teachers ever figured it out.

  41. That was a great story, school is so different now, we all have stories of pranks we got up to, some we got away with some not, I can only think of one off hand. We were in first year at high school (13 year old girls) I went to a all girls school and we had student teachers who did a month long teaching experience with us once a year., we pretended that there were mice living in the heater in our classroom, one of the girls had caught a couple of mice and let them go at a peak time when we would get the best reaction. Our student teacher was so terrified she ran out of the class and up to the headmistress's office, the headmistress told her not to be so silly and came down to our classroom and put us all on detention, the school has just been treated for any pests and mice the weekend before and she was no fool, she knew we set it up so that one backed fired on us.

  42. Funny!

    I think I was like you in school - a good girl, wanting to please and do what was "right." So I have no exciting stories to tell....

    Tim's Mom however was like your friend Bobby and was always doing things and getting into trouble! We love her stories, but have told her maybe she shouldn't tell the kids! lol!

    Thanks for the smiles today!


  43. I love this story, Vee! So well told, with that twist of humor that makes the reading of it utterly enjoyable. I'm thinking....

  44. I just laughed right out loud when I got the part about the tack glittering from the back of the skirt. I'm giggling again as I type this.

    I was such a goody two shoes in school that I never DID the daring deed. I just giggled at the daring deed. Just like I'm doing now.

  45. I loved this story, Vee! I went to a parochial school and the nuns were very strict. If you didn't know your lesson your head would be punched against the blackboard or your knuckles would get smacked with a ruler. Not many would dare to fool around with such corporal punishment. Once, when I was in third grade, I saw a mouse in the girls lavatory. When I told my classes' good sister she didn't believe me. She made me go back with her to show her where I saw it. The mouse ran out and across the floor right in front of her, almost across her shoes! Sister jumped so high that her floor length skirts wooshed up like the famous Marilyn Monroe's dress photo shoot! I had to choke down my laugh or else I knew I'd suffer the consequences. Oh....and later in the day the pricincipal called me into her office and told me I didn't see a mouse. She told me it was really a "hamster' that escaped another classroom's cage. Yeah, right! LOL!


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