In grade school, I once got in trouble for dipping my classmate’s braids into the inkwell. Why you ask? How could I resist?
First, let me tell you more about grade school. My favorite subjects were gym and math. Gym I liked because we learned sports. My gym teacher was patient as he taught us how to shoot baskets and play baseball. I loved the physicality of it. Gym class was segregated by gender back then, so boys only in my gym class. At the time (my daughter and granddaughters have since straightened me out), I assumed this was because girls were weak and couldn’t play sports as well as boys.
I liked math because it was complicated. When I solved the problem I felt good. When I couldn’t solve a problem I felt “crappy.” Then there was my math teacher. She was kind and always helpful and made me feel seen. And oh boy did she have the looks! All the boys had crushes on her.
The old braid in the inkwell trick…
Let me explain. In my day, every school desk was equipped with a built-in inkwell in the top, righthand corner. It had a little lid that opened and closed. Next to the inkwell was a penholder and pen with a tip, that you dunked into the inkwell. Back then inkwell filler was a coveted job. There were big jugs of ink in the closet, and you would go around and fill the inkwells on each of the desks.
The girl in front of me had long braids. Like the movies, I really did dip the tip of her hair into the inkwell. One of her friends saw it, told her and she told the teacher. The teacher punished me. Why did I do it? It was just a cute thing to do. The ink was right there. She had long braids. I don’t remember her. Maybe it was a crush? I just remember the temptation of her hair, so close to the inkwell.