The first class of the morning was English. Thankfully, some of us left Mrs. Whitlock’s class (get out of jail, free) and went to Mrs. Carr’s class.
Mrs. Carr was built like a Sherman tank, and taught us Russian sometimes instead of English. How she got away with us, I don’t know. Russia and the USA were enemies in 1969; I guess no one went home and told their parents we were singing “Silent Night” in Russian.
In the beginning of December, we started practicing a play to be performed at the School Christmas concert. I was always one for behind-the-scenes work, rather than taking to the stage, and luckily I was assigned to making some background props, and painting scenery. Each day, the class would read through part of the play before getting into our English workbook assignments.
There were to be three elves in the play; all three spots were taken by the petite, cute girls, who all were involved in ballet after school. It was a natural fit.
About a week before the Christmas concert, we learned that one of the “elves” had the chicken pox, and she would be out of school all the way through Christmas vacation. So Mrs. Carr decided that I would fill in for the missing elf. I was never petite, and I was considered “chubby”. And I decided that there was no way I was going up on stage, dressed in tights and a short outfit to barely cover my butt.
I played along for a few days, reading the parts for the play during class. Then two days before the concert, I was able to convince my mother that I had a terrible pain in my stomach. I stayed home from school.
The next day took a little more convincing, but I did it. I stayed home again. And yes, the third day I was once again able to convince my mother that I was way too sick to go to school. And although I was so sorry to be missing out on the “fun” day and the parties and concert, I was just too sick.
I’m not sure if the play went on with two elves, or if they got a third at the last minute. I only know that I saved myself from the embarrassment of being up in front of the school in tight tights!
My younger sister came home that day, and reported that her own class was up on stage singing Christmas carols. One of her friends, Diane, suddenly passed out and fell over. The school principal then jumped up on stage to see if she was alright, and split his pants in the process. Now that would have been funny to see; I didn’t like the principal and was terrified of him.
But it was well worth staying home that day, even if I had to hear that story second-hand.