I don't know why but I did not want to go to school that day. It could not have been from fear of not doing something for class. It was my third grade year and I was still doing fairly well in school Grades would not start to falter until my freshman year. I had a lovely teacher who was as nice and patient as you could ever hope for. Possibly she was the best teacher I had through my elementary school years.
Ms. Bledsoe was beautiful. She had brunette hair that she wore in a flip like Mary Tyler Moore wore hers in The Dick Van Dyke Show. She had dark eyes that I do not ever remember being cold or penetrating. They were soft eyes that always showed a smile in them. She loved teaching. Anyone could see that she did. She treated all of the kids the same by treating all of us as special. That is a very difficult thing to pull off but I believe she did it. There was a lot of teaching to be done in the third grade. A lot of new things that could be difficult to learn. She taught us how to write in cursive. I can't really gauge on how well she taught cursive since I print everything except my signature and my signature is not very easy to read. In mathematics it was her job to teach us the different base systems. Starting with the base ten system she would move on to trying to explain to us the base twelve and the base two systems. In english she taught us the basic start as to how a sentence is diagrammed. I still don't know why I had to learn this skill because as far as I know I never use it. I use the skill of sentence diagramming so much that I don't have a clue as to how it is done. She taught it though and she made sure that we accomplished what she expected us to during that year.
I had woke up that morning and decided that school was not going to fit into my agenda for the day. For some reason I just did not feel like going. I went downstairs and told mom that I was not feeling well. I had a terrible headache and I didn't think I should go to school that day. I don't think she was buying it at first and in reality I don't think she ever really did buy into it. She decided however that I could stay home from school if I was sick and so I began my day by lying in my bed in my room.
Being sick from school when you are not really sick can get tedious after awhile. Back in those days most houses had just one television and there certainly were not televisions in kid's rooms. So I laid there and read for a while until I tired of it. Then I tried to play a board game or two against myself and found out that it wasn't much fun when you are the loser as well as the winner. I worked my way downstairs and laid on the couch. Here I could watch television while I was being sick. Daytime television with mom though were soap operas. Not very exciting for a third grade boy. I tired of watching those silly shows quickly. I had to find something to occupy my time and get rid of the boredom of being sick.
Mom was babysitting during the days to help bring in some much needed money for the family. There was one of her children that she was taking care of in a playpen in the living room. This was something I could do. I could help mom babysit while I was being sick for a day. I started to entertain my moms ward by making faces and doing funny sounds to make the kid laugh. As the morning progressed into the second hour I found myself having to work harder to keep the child's attention. This was my downfall.
I found myself standing on my head facing the playpen and making noise when I heard my named yelled from the kitchen. Mom had caught me doing some very un-sick like things. When a person has a headache that is bad enough to keep them home from school, I guess you don't really expect to see them in the living room standing on their head laughing at a baby. I was caught and I was sunk. I was told to go up and dress for school. I obviously was not sick enough to stay home. I went upstairs and dressed slowly and came back down. Mom took me up to the school to be sure the teacher had a good explanation of why I had not shown up earlier.
We got to the school and took the short walk to Ms Bledsoe's classroom door. Her room was the first door as you entered the school so the walk was far to short for my taste. Mom made me explain to the teacher that I had said I wasn't feeling well because of a headache but that it had miraculously disappeared. After I finished my explanation mom took it upon herself to embellish on what had happened that morning. She told Ms Bledsoe the whole story right up to and including my head stand in the living room.
Ms Bledsoe stood and looked at me with those tender eyes of hers. She then explained that perhaps I was sick but it wasn't from a headache. I was sick with a little known illness call "schoolitis". Apparently schoolitis manifests itself when a kid gets bored at school or just tired of going. It can attack at anytime and it can have far reaching consequences in the future. Schoolitis was a dangerous disease that was best nipped in the bud before it made itself at home in my body. If not taken care of immediately and purged from my system it could effect me the rest of my life and even turn into"workitis". She was glad we had caught it soon enough and invited me to go into the class while she talked to mom a little more. I went in and sat at my little desk while all the other kids were taking advantage of the teacher being out of the room and talking to each other. I just sat there thinking about the huge mistake I had made that morning.
Later in the day while we were outside at recess, Ms Bledsoe came over to talk to me. She said she noticed that by the way I was playing that we must have rid myself of all of the schoolitis. We should keep an eye out so that I wouldn't be attacked by the deadly disease again. I nodded my head and went back to playing.
Now I wasn't a stupid kid. I knew there wasn't such a thing as schoolitis in reality. I knew that Ms Bledsoe was doing her job and teaching me that school is important and it can make for a more exciting day then staying at home lying around in your bed all day long. I learned the lesson she was trying to teach me. I learned it well. It seemed that the next few times when I actually did get sick on a school day the first question that mom would ask me was it shoolitis or not.
I was glad when mom finally let that go and seemed to forget about the danger of me contracting schoolitis again. I was also very glad that Ms Bledsoe had the wisdom to teach me about shoolitis. The lesson she taught me that day has stayed with me ever since and I don't have to worry about contracting workitis now that I am out of the schoolitis stage of life.