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THE INSPECTION



I was six-years-old when my first grade teacher pinned me up against the bathroom door of Spring Park Elementary School. I stood with my face toward the wall, clutching the front of my shirt as tightly as I could.

"Let me have it, Roger," ordered Mrs. Cherry.

The teacher pulled and tugged, but she could not get my hands loose. All at once, the janitor grabbed me. He threw me backward onto the hard wooden floor. When I fell, a small doll wearing a pink dress came flying out from beneath my shirt.

The janitor and Mrs. Cherry grabbed me by the arms and carried me to the office of Mrs. Dryer, the school Principal.

My teacher explained to the Principal that I had been caught in the cloakroom with the door closed. When the door was opened, I was seen hiding something inside my shirt. Mrs. Cherry told Mrs. Dryer she had taken me out into the hallway, and demanded I hand over whatever I was hiding inside my shirt. When I refused, Mrs. Cherry grabbed me and we wrestled against the wall for thirty or forty feet, until reaching the boy's bathroom.

Mrs. Dryer lowered her head, and looked at me over the top of her glasses with a very stern look.

"Why did you take the doll from the cloak-room?" she asked.

"I was gonna take it back to the orphan home and show it to Tommy Jerigan and the other boys."

"Don't you know that boys are not supposed to play with dolls?"

"I didn't play with no doll," I explained.

"Then what did you do with the doll?"

I sat there silent for about a minute. Various thoughts were running around through my head. I was trying to decide if telling the truth, would be as bad as telling a lie.

For about a week word had spread around the boy's dormitory, that girls were somehow different from boys. When we boys discussed the matter in our underground fort, we decided that boys were with out a doubt, faster than girls were. Girls also had longer hair and they wore dresses. However, once twelve-year-old Tommy Jernigan showed up, the truth of the matter changed quite dramatically.

Every eye in the fort was as big as basketballs, and innocent little ears were open to the most unbelievable story any of us had ever heard before.

At the orphanage, the head matron often called me "an inquisitive little bastard." A quality that got me into serious trouble during my stay at the Children's Home Society Orphanage.

"THE DOLL! What did you do to the doll?” she asked me again, as she held the twelve-inch doll out in front of her.

"How come there ain't nothin' in there?” I blurted out.

"Nothing in where?" asked the Principal.

"When I pulled up her dress and pulled down those little pants, there was nothing inside there," I said.

"And just what were you expecting to find, young man?"

"I didn't know. That why I was lookin'." I shrugged my shoulders.

Over the years, I have purchased many a Barbie Doll for my granddaughter, Chelsey. When she begins to change the doll's clothing, I always shake my head and I leave the room. I am sure the day will come when her G.I. Joe will be called upon to do “his duty.” I hope that things have not changed, and he will be ready for "the surprise inspection."



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