Orphan Survival Stories Index |
I attended Spring Park Elementary School in Jacksonville, which was right next door to the orphanage where I lived with 40 or 50 other children. One of my teachers was Mrs. Horner. She was a good teacher, but she was very strict with her students. Students were there to learn and she was going to teach them, like it or not.
I had very difficult time learning, especially English and math. However, there was one thing I was good at; I was very fast at counting on my fingers. Therefore, one day Mrs. Horner called me to the front of the class and made me stand by the blackboard. One at a time, she called the other children up to the front of the class. Then she called out a math problem that they wrote on the blackboard.
Mrs. Horner would say, "Go" and we would find the answer. She was trying to show me that adding or subtracting in one's head was much faster than counting on fingers.
WRONG, Mrs. Horner.
There must have been 25 children in our classroom. I beat about 15 or 20 of them, before some smart Aleck girl tied with me. Then Mrs. Horner made me hold one of my hands behind my back and race the same girl again. The entire classroom of kids was yelling and screaming with laughter. I was also laughing. When Mrs. Horner said, "Go," I yelled out the answer before the girl even had a chance to figure out the first set of numbers.
This really made Mrs. Horner mad, especially since the class was laughing so loud that Mrs. Drayer, the principal, came from the office to see what was happening. As Mrs. Drayer stood there watching, she also began laughing. She said that she was amazed a child could count so fast by hitting his fingers against his leg.
Mrs. Drayer made me very proud that I could do something no one else could do. No one in the whole wide world could do what I was doing. There was no one faster at counting on his or her fingers, than I was. No one. Finally, I had found something that this orphan boy could do, that no other normal kid could do. The orphan finger was faster than a normal kid's brain. Ha, ha, ha!
Well, I could not beat anyone at counting after that. At least not while my two pointy fingers were stuck in my "big ears" as I sat in the corner for the next two school days.
Thanks a lot, Mrs. Horner.