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IS THIS YOURS, MISS REID?

Story ID:8689
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Gilboa New York USA
Year:1950
Person:Laura Reid & Dickie Bruce
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IS THIS YOURS, MISS REID?
By Fred Wickert


This true story involves two main characters. Laura Reid was an attractive young teacher. She was our home room teacher and our Social Studies teacher. She had more trouble adjusting than most. She was not only a city girl in the midst of a bunch of country kids, but she had been raised in a house without a man. Her mother and her aunt raised her. She was a person who became flustered far easier than most. She had always been sheltered from real life. If someone said the word “Shit,” she acted as if it had splattered onto her.

Laura Reid had a particularly rough time getting used to us and to life in the country. City water systems and plumbing, for example, were fed from a single water supply and had few problems other than the occasional water main break. Country water systems, on the other hand, were usually wells or springs and air often got in the pipes. Rust from iron and other minerals often clogged pipes from building up inside.

One day Miss Reid was observed in a highly agitated state, running from the ladies room on the second floor of the school. She spied one of the janitors in the hall nearby and ran up to him. She informed him something was terribly wrong with one of the toilets in the ladies room and suggested he go check on it. Poor Miss Reid was almost hysterical, she was so upset.

The janitor, Hayward Regular, commonly called Haid, proceeded on into the ladies room. In a few minutes he was observed coming out of the ladies room with a big grin on his face.

My dad was the Vocational Agriculture teacher and shop teacher, and he and Haid Regular were good friends. It seems that Haid related the rest of the story to my Dad. My dad in turn, could not resist telling Mom about it when he came home. Dad had a powerful rumbling bass voice, and when he talked in a whisper, he could be heard clearly 50 yards away. Therefore, I hardly had to eavesdrop to hear the story myself.

When Haid Regular went in the ladies room to see what might be the cause of Miss Reid's distress, he could see nothing amiss. He turned on the faucets in a couple of the sinks and they were okay. Everything looked in order. The commode seats were the kind that stuck up in the air an inch or so and went down flat whenever someone sat on them. They were designed to flush the toilet automatically when the person sitting on them got up. When a child forgot to flush, it didn't matter because they flushed by themselves.

Haid reached up with his foot and depressed the seat on one of the commodes and released it. As soon as he did so, a spout of water shot up about a foot above the toilet seat. The mystery of what was wrong was solved. Air had become trapped in the lines and when Miss Reid began to get up from the throne on which she was seated, let us say she got an unexpected high pressure cold water wash of her posterior.

The other main character of this story is a boy in our class named Dickie Bruce. Dickie was a good-looking kid. He was of medium height and slender build. He had brown wavy hair and a perpetual good-humored grin on his face. Dickie meant well but didn't have a whole lot of common sense. He was always getting in trouble because he did things he thought were okay, but in reality were downright stupid. You couldn't help liking him, but never trusted him to do anything for you because you knew in advance it would be a disaster.

The hallways on the second floor of the school along the wall opposite the side of the class room doors were lined with wall lockers. When girls had gym class they routinely grabbed their gym suit out of their locker, went downstairs to the girls locker room, and changed into the gym suit. Then they returned to their lockers to put their clothes in the locker and returned to the lower floor for gym class.

On the day in question when classes changed, Dickie Bruce was delayed by the teacher of his last class and was late coming to Social Studies class. As he walked along the now empty hallway, he observed, laying on the floor in front of the lockers, a brassier. He bent over and plucked the bra off the floor and continued towards the classroom door. As he opened the door and entered the classroom, he had the bra dangling from his thumb and index finger, held as high in the air as he could hold it. He said, “Miss Reid, did you lose this?”

The entire class erupted into laughter. Miss Reid turned all different colors of the rainbow. When both she and the class finally calmed down, she sent him to the Principal’s office. She had him take the bra with him. The classrooms had a pick-up and ring phone system for the teachers to communicate with the office and the office with the teachers. Using the phone she explained to the office what had happened before Dickie Bruce arrived at the office.

When he arrived at the office, Dickie Bruce had to face Vivian Burdette Peckham, Col., U.S. Army, or Prof as he was called. A stern taskmaster for sure. I don't recall what his sentence for punishment was, but it was pronounced and Dickie was sent away from the office. I have it from a very reliable source that after Dickie was out of sight of the office, Prof Peckham, who rarely smiled within the walls of the school, was observed doubled over with laughter.

I don't know what became of Dickie Bruce. He did not return to the school the following year and did not graduate with us. Laura Reid, I guess, was ruined for teaching by us kids. She did not return another year for teaching but instead took a job with a construction company as a switchboard operator where she remained for many years. As far as I know, the owner of the bra was never revealed. I don't believe anyone ever went to the office to claim it.

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