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Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Top Step

By Ronni Prior of Rants By Ronni

I went to a Montessori kindergarten. It was a couple of blocks from home and (back in those innocent days), I walked most of the way home by myself. Mom would meet me at the corner and cross the street with me.

One day, I didn't show up. Where was I, you might well ask. Mom did. She called the school. I heard the teacher say, "No, Mrs Dobell...she's not here. She left with the other children," and her footsteps receded into the kitchen where I could hear and smell her preparing her tea.

I couldn't see her, though, because I was sitting on the top step of the stairs in the gathering dusk wondering what to do.

There were three degrees of punishment at Miss Kenderdine's Montessori school. The first and lowest was being required to sit on her lap in front of the class. Mildly humiliating, but it happened to everyone at least once.

The second was the top step. Children were occasionally consigned there for five minutes in the spirit of time out.

The worst of the worst was to be put to bed in the spare room. Time out with a vengeance!

At the close of that school day, I had become so excited at the prospect of going home that I flung myself on my best friend in a huge and exuberant hug. Much to my surprise, I heard the dread, "Veronica! Top step!"

So I trudged up there and sat. And sat. And sat.

After Mom called, I waited a few minutes and then timidly crept down the stairs and told Miss Kenderdine that I was there.

She had totally forgotten that she had sent me up there.

She did feed me a scone with jam while we waited for Mom to come and get me. It was too dark by then for me to go home alone.

That just may have been the day when I realized that adults were not infallible.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Ronni - Wonderful childhood memory!

As kids, I think our most important life coping skills are developed when we are punished for something we did not do, or when we are left, forgotten on the 'top step'! - Sandy

I think the teacher should have been consigned to the top step for forgetting you. Your mother must have been panicked by that time.

She was a little perturbed...

Good to read one of your posts again. I, too, was a good little girl who always did as told. So, when I stepped on someone's toe in the school line, of course I turned to whisper "I'm sorry," whereupon I got scolded for talking in line--I've never forgotten it in 72 years!


The nuns at my school always made us sit on the convent steps after school and they often forgot we were there.

Once, a boy that was regularly on the steps was a little tired of being forgotten so when he was ordered to report to the steps after school he went home and got his dog first.

The Sisters had two cats and the kid opened the kitchen door just wide enough to let the dog in. The fight that ensued between the dog and the cats was the talk of the parish for a week!

You candy ass girls don't know what real punishment is. Get slapped around by a huge mean penguin and you'll understand.

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