Missing Kids

I’m a retired teacher.  Jody and I didn’t have any children.  I miss kids.

In May, when I knew I was moving to Belmont, I imagined myself volunteering at the  elementary school in town.  Except there isn’t one.  Some local human, sitting with me around the Diner lunch counter, told me that Belmont kids go to school at South Dorchester Elementary, on a country road a few kilometres south of the village.

Six months later, I hadn’t made any move towards being a presence at the school.  And still I was missing kids.  So yesterday I ventured along the beauty of Crossley-Hunter Line.  And there on my left was my beige brick destination.  It was lunch recess.

As I walked into the office, I sure hoped the principal would welcome another volunteer.  I talked to the secretary (Trish?) for a few minutes.  She seemed nice.  And then I asked to speak to the principal.  Lynn told me a bit about the school.  It was a small place – just 200 students.  Perfect.  She said I’d have to go through a police check at the station in nearby St. Thomas.  Did I know where it was?  In the spirit of winning friends and influencing people, I said “Oh yes.  I’ve made use of their luxurious accommodations many a time.”  Lynn smiled.

As we wandered through Lynn’s “ten cent tour”, I asked if the staff were intelligent (or maybe if they were nice people).  All this within earshot of two teachers chatting near their classrooms.  “Definitely.”  More smiles.

I suppose I should have been more discreet on first meeting, given that I wanted to become a part of the school.  Oh well.  Discretion is not my middle name.

Up next was the OPP station (Ontario Provincial Police).  Fill in the form, sit down and wait for the response.  And it was “You need to be fingerprinted.”  Ouch.  I’ve done lots of fingerpainting but never the printing stuff.  I’m pretty sure I’m not a hardened criminal.  But that’s okay.  My ink session is next Thursday.

I’m hoping that by the first of December I’ll be accepted sufficiently at South Dorchester to do my usual Christmas schtick … reciting Twas The Night Before Christmas.  I love doing that.

Yesterday evening I went to a fish fry at the Belmont Arena.  The girl plunking a bun on my plate looked to be elementary-aged.  So I asked her about the school and she said the teachers are great.  Yay!  A character reference.  Later I asked three other kids the same question.  Their mom smiled and the children pondered.  They like it, and I got that their responses were genuine, not just mouthing stuff that would please an adult.

So … my educational future beckons.  May there be a place for me.


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