A GOOD PUPIL?

“The word pupil is hardly used these days unless of course we’re talking about those dark spots in your eyes. Ophthalmologists like to mess with pupils during eye checkups. They dilate them to make sure you can’t see clearly. The procedure is intended to test a patient’s driving skills on the way home.”

Michael Hankins – “Pupil”

I was a “pupil” at one time in my life. Several 1960’s school report cards indicate such. Was I a good pupil? I like to think so.

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines pupil as: A young person who is being taught under the supervision of a tutor or teacher, as in school.

I had several outstanding teachers including a couple of imaginary tutors. More on that later.

The word pupil is hardly used these days unless of course we’re talking about those dark spots in your eyes. Ophthalmologists like to mess with pupils during eye checkups. They dilate them to make sure you can’t see clearly. The procedure is intended to test a patient’s driving skills on the way home.

I have all my report cards except 1st grade. Pupil is mentioned on several coffee-stained survivors. I suppose mom and dad inspected them at breakfast, accidentally spilling a few drops of precious Maxwell House while reading.

Gazing at these relics is like cruising back in time. Some of my teacher’s remarks were quite interesting, especially the ones of high praise.

Some of my “pupil” report cards.

Fourth grade teacher Mrs. Hagan wrote:

Michael fails to listen and follow instructions.

Nothing has really changed in that area. What guy does listen and follow instructions? It’s inherent to the species.

Mrs. Drake, my 5th grade teacher was especially observant of my efforts. She wrote the most uplifting critiques of all.

The first 6 weeks:

Mike could do better with a little more effort.

The third 6 weeks:

Mike just doesn’t pay attention.

The fourth 6 weeks:

Mike seems to be improving some.

On the final 6 weeks Mrs. Drake didn’t hold back:

Mike could sure do much better. I just haven’t found the way to get him to put out!

Fifth grade was the year I discovered The Hardy Boys mystery series. I’d stay up into the wee hours of morning reading these intriguing books. Frank and Joe Hardy tutored me on things that I’d never learn at school. Dad and mom didn’t have to pay these guys for private lessons.

A few important tips picked up from Frank and Joe were:

In high school it pays to have a car if you’re going to date.

Hot rods are an acceptable form of transportation.

Hanging with the in crowd is overrated.

It’s okay to be cool and still be friends with squares and introverts.

Adventure comes before homework.

When mom discovered what was going on, she, along with Mrs. Drake thought they’d put a stop to my educational slump by declaring: Lights off at nine. That lasted a good portion of the fourth 6 weeks. Little did they know a small flashlight used the final 6 weeks worked great for reading under covers.

If I ever was a teacher’s pet, it was in Mrs. Turner’s 6th grade class. I believe my quirky sense of humor matched hers. She wasn’t so amused when me and another kid placed Greenie Stick’em Caps on the bottom of desk legs. They popped when a desk chair was sat in, leaving black marks on classroom floor. We were instructed to clean them up under a janitor’s supervision.

In spite of that prank gone awry, Mrs. Turner wrote on back of my last report card for me to visit her that summer. We left for Alaska nine days before school let out. Mom picked me up early that last day. My mother said Mrs. Turner had tears in her eyes. My brother said it was tears of happiness on finally getting rid of me.

Mrs. Turner’s 6th grade class.

I’m not sure where my fictional tutor’s Frank and Joe Hardy are these days? I like to believe they married high-school sweethearts, Callie Shaw and Iola Morton. Author, Franklin W. Dixon never made that clear.

The foursome would now own high-powered metal detectors, poking around golden beaches for treasure chests laden to the gills with gold doubloons and jewels. Of course, their kids and grandchildren would be digging in the sand as well on their own treasure hunting expeditions. Adventure runs thick in Hardy blood.

Age wise, Frank and Joe would be in their mid 90’s. With The Hardy Boys being exercise and health nuts, all of the above is entirely possible where this fictional series is concerned.

I’m so glad they were a part of my life!

Frank and Joe Hardy

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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