In the frame Charley saw himself as a sixth grader at Lincoln elementary school. Ms. McClellan, just out of college was his teacher. He had held a crush on her since his first class in the fall and his ardor was dashed a couple of weeks before when he found out she was now Mrs. Dyce.
As a kid, Charley was gregarious, sometimes to a fault, slender and quite tall for his age. He was the one with a big smile on his face and almost always had his arm around someone. Of course, nowadays, he would be given time out, suspended, expelled or otherwise molded into political correctness. Over time, he was the class monitor, the class milkman, the teacher’s gopher, crosswalk guard and more often than not, the teacher’s pet. Frequently he was the first one to greet the girl with a new cast on her wrist or the boy with a newly broken foot and always quick to advance a big smile, carry books or help in any other way. Thankfully, most of the time he got away with being overly friendly and perhaps disruptive because he was simply liked by his teachers. It seemed everyone was his friend. . . With one exception.
Lynn Bossleman was, without doubt, the best thing that could happen to a sixth grade class in general and a sixth grade boy in particular for that matter. She was a petite brunette, always groomed to a tee, wore the brightest red, yellow or blue dress, with a pink bow in the middle matching the one in her hair. She wore shoes that looked as though they had just fallen off of Princess Cinderella. But the most striking thing about Lynn was her huge brown eyes and long dark lashes. Charley was in love with her from the moment he first saw her when they were both in second grade and Lynn just arrived as a new student. But there was another part of Lynn that was even more beautiful. She had a way of absorbing everyone with whom she came into contact. First, she captivated by her eyes, but engaged with her focus then captured with her rapt attention. . . With one exception.
There was nothing particularly Lynn could ever point to but Charley was cloaked in invisibility as far as she was concerned. He just never appeared on her radar. That is until the day in May, toward the end of the school year when both were in sixth grade.
Within the frame, the scene came to life. The classroom held about thirty students each in half desks, writing area at the front with a hole that supposedly held an ink bottle and an arm rest on the right. It was as if long ago they determined ink bottles were a bad idea for a sixth grade class but never filled the holes. The teacher’s desk, a dark oak monstrosity that undoubtedly served in the civil war was in front of the classroom next to the flag with 48 stars. Across the front of the room was the chalkboard that spanned its entire width, above was a strip of Celotex sheathing holding the letters of the alphabet with a corresponding phrase to help in memorization.
On one side of the room was a wall of windows with book shelves underneath. There resting were several fish tanks, some with dopey looking goldfish, another guppies and, in a third were several turtles and a small alligator. Next, there was a cage containing the animal of the week, a white mouse.
At the rear of the classroom was a long black counter with a sink in it. It was there to conduct scientific experiments which usually failed. It was also the dissection site of miles and miles of worms, hordes of frogs and a numerous crayfish. The faucets were bright silver tubes rising high over the sink like a shepherd’s staff and the whole apparatus was mostly used to quench the thirst of students because of the never ending supply of paper cups.
Charley’s desk was in the row next to the window about four desks from the front and two seats in front of Lynn, just about causing him to flunk sixth grade and permanently wrench his neck. That day Lynn came in late after everyone else was seated. She walked slowly across the room and down the window aisle, causing every boy en route to hyperventilate. She was wearing their favorite red dress, the one with a pink bow in the middle that matched the one in her hair. She took her seat.
About halfway through class, Charley left his chair and went back to the table to get a drink of water. Of course, he had to pass Lynn’s desk and it is said his heartbeat could be heard resonating off of the walls. The teacher knew his motivation had nothing to do with water as his pace slackened markedly as he passed Lynn’s desk. She saw his eyes quickly focus on her dress. Then on the return trip, carrying a paper cup of water, it appeared Charley momentarily stumbled, causing him to spill a small amount water in her lap.
Deeply apologetic and gaining the attention of the whole class as well as the teacher, he moved into his seat with a most satisfied look on his face. The teacher excused Lynn and Just as she left for the bathroom, Charley whispered, “Don’t worry about it Lynn, I’ve done it too”. There was a large puddle underneath Lynn’s chair, a cleanup for the Janitor.
That was the day Charley came onto Lynn’s radar, and remained there forever.