That time in French class
In high school, students had the option to either take Spanish or French. Mrs. Larkin taught Spanish, and Mrs. Everett taught French. I decided to take French because Mrs. Everett lived in our neighborhood, and I heard that it was easier than Spanish, plus she was Warren’s mom. Knowing what I know now, Spanish would have been my language of choice.
Mrs. Everett may have been from the neighborhood but definitely showed no partiality. She was kin to Jimmy Brown, a famous major league baseball player. Warren would spend many summers wherever he coached and always brought back a present for me. Once he brought me a Houston Astros’ program with the players’ autographs on it. I wish I had kept it!
I can see the French classroom and its five rows of desk as I type. Mrs. Everett had her desk strategically located by her filing cabinet, next to the windows. The desks we sat in had a slant on the desktop, and in the bottom of the desk, we had a place to keep our books. People had stuck bubble gum under the desktop, and we continued to do so because we did not want to get caught chewing gum. Claudia Gardner (Parvin), Dan Winfield, Becky Lawson (Leach) and Mike Gibbs were some of the students in my class. Becky was one of the prettiest girls in the school, and she sat directly behind me. She is a pretty now as she was back then. I sat on the third row in the first desk hoping to impress Mrs. Everett. It did not work, as I found her hard to impress.
There is one funny story that happened in French class that year, which I hope will not embarrass anyone as I tell it. Mrs. Everett had a bad habit of walking out in the hall to confer with Mrs. Larkin about the languages. She once made the mistake of leaving the key to her next test in the filing cabinet in front of Dan. He felt as though we needed it, so he got it and passed it to everyone. Becky at first did not want to take the answers, but I encouraged her to do so. Well, we took the test and there were some good grades made. Dan made a 100, so Mrs. Everett got suspicious and asked everyone in the class, one by one, if they had the answers. When she got to me she said, “You made a 78, so I know you had the answers.” She then moved to Becky and said, “I would be disappointed if you had the answers.” Becky, being the honest person she was/is, admitted that she did and that hurt me more than Becky. Everyone in the room admitted it but one person, and he did not confess.
With choices come consequences, and we all learned a valuable lesson from that experience. We suffered the consequences that our parents dealt out and took it as a lesson well-learned. We all laugh about it now, but the lesson we got at home was never forgotten. I am afraid that is missing in our society today and would make the teachers’ job much easier if it was applied more often.
They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C.! The Original Washington!
— Harold Jr.
Harold Robinson Jr. is a native of Washington.