“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” You can find this inscription at the General Post Office in New York City at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street. We usually associate these word with our postal carriers, mailmen, we used to call them, sometimes femailmen. However, with a few changes this famous sentence could apply to us students and Haydock School.
There were never any excuses for not attending class. Sometimes we had rain. Fog was quite common. Santa Ana winds blew. The gloom of night was not an issue. We were home from school by then.
One day in February Alice, Natalia and I walked to school in the pouring rain. It felt like all the water in the skies were dropping down upon us. We arrived at the school soaked to the skin. I stood at the doorway of the class room. I was dripping all over the floor. I was wearing a woolen sweater and I smelled like a wet sheep.
The Teacher jumped out of her chair like she just sat on a tack. She started wagging her finger.
“How dare you show up to school tardy? How dare you show up and drip water all over our floor? Don’t you know that when it rains you should wear your rubbers, and a rain coat? At least and umbrella?”
I knew what she was talking about because kept pointing to the wall where the other children had hung their rain gear.
I was lucky to have that little red sweater that my sister Alice had outgrown. I felt a lump growing in my throat and tears ready to pour out of my eyes.
The teacher sent me to the basement and told me to stand in front of the furnace until my clothes dried out. My sisters eventually showed up. It took us a while to dry out, but it was nice being warm.
That same afternoon Teacher was asking the class a question.
“Who brought an umbrella to school today?”
I raised my hand like many of the other kids and said yes. I did not know what she had said. I thought that she had asked if I wanted an umbrella.
The rain was still pouring down. Teacher was sending children home by two’s, one who did not have an umbrella went home with one who had one. I was the last to leave.
I caught it again. She wagged her finger at me again sent me out of the room angrily. Didn’t she notice that I did not have an umbrella in the morning?
I walked home many afternoons with a lump in my throat.