CREDOS: Love of books — II

And so it was that every day after the lunch bell rang, Mrs Geyser came out in the yard to collect those reluctant to give up our game of dodge ball or hopscotch.

We would grudgingly troop in, sweaty, hyperactive, and out of breath. We would plop in the chairs behind our wooden desks and heave a sigh of frustration. And midst a roomful of rowdy children twitching from Ho-Ho and Ding-Dong sugar highs, Mrs Geyser would sit behind her desk and take out the dreaded book. “Rest your heads,” she instructed us, “and close your eyes.” Then, ignoring our giggles, snorts and whispers, Mrs Geyser would begin reading. At first we were restless. Indifferent. Guffawing, giggling, passing notes and kicking the desk in front of ours for no reason other than the sheer pleasure of being bratty.

But over time something funny started to happen. Each day when the lunch bell rang, fewer stragglers remained on the playground. We were discovering that the last round of tetherball wasn’t quite as exciting as learning what happened when Mary Ingalls went blind from scarlet fever or when Pa Ingalls met a bear. The day arrived when the lunch bell found Mrs Geyser’s fourth grade class sitting attentively at our desks, wiggling in our seats with excitement.

Could she begin reading now? Please? We simply had to learn what happened when the swarm of locusts descended upon the Ingalls’ farm and threatened to destroy their crops. —