|Theda and Gerry were already on
restriction. The infraction was a small one true, but still a breaking of
the rules. One girl overslept past the morning wake up call and the other
was guilty of not completing the assigned detail as carefully as she
should have. Being on restriction simply meant not being allowed to go out
on the lawn or attend the Flaming Arrow social later. Both were on the
student council and were to be at a meeting at seven p.m. While they were
waiting in the lobby for the time they could leave the building the two
girls were visiting.
always "in love" with someone and it was with one sigh after another she
kept watching the clock. "If I don't get out there in a little bit I won't
get to see Jimmy at all." She was full of anxiety.
Gerry typically wasn't thinking about
anything other than her notes she had make for the council. When Thelda
looked at the clock and noted it was twenty minutes to seven Gerry really
wasn't alert to what the girl was planning.
"Come on." "Come on." "Let's leave now."
Thelda wanted to go but she wasn't going to just leave on her own, alone.
"If we get caught?" Gerry was reluctant.
"Oh, we won't get caught." "They don't pay
any attention to the kids getting out from the dining hall." Thelda was
With no comment to discourage the girl
Gerry was gathering up her things to leave.
Thelda was all excited and already looking
toward the oval to see if she could see her boyfriend. As the two girls
rounded the corner of the dining hall and started toward Haworth Hall
where the meeting was to be held who would being driving around the oval
but their Mrs. McMahon.
Now Mrs. Mac was always lenient with
Gerry's sliding through some of the duties because it was the girl's
practice to stay out of trouble. But when the ex-marine officer rolled out
of the car, confronted them head on with clinched jaw and eyes narrowed,
Gerry knew there was no getting past this infraction.
"What are you girls doing out here while
you are on restriction?" Mrs. Mac was adamant.
Quickly, Thelda was trying to find a way
out. "We are going to the student council meeting." Now if Mrs. Mac had
not been alert to Thelda's history this would have been a valid excuse.
However, the experienced old leader of women was wise to the girl's
She slowly, deliberately lifted her arm to
leisurely look at the military looking watch. "You are twenty minutes
early for the meeting." "Back to the building!" "And now!"
The girls had no alternative but to return
to the same lobby they had just left. Mrs. Mac had come into her office
from the back entrance and was sitting at her desk in the office off to
the side of the lobby as the girls entered. "Girls!" "Come on in here and
take a seat."
Gerry was now glaring at Thelda but didn't
dare open her mouth to utter one word.
It seemed like an eternity they sat in the
rigid chairs before Mrs. Mac. spoke. "Now girls!" She was level in her
address. "You were already on restriction, and now you pushed just one
step farther." "When is this going to stop?"
Thelda spoke. "We are so sorry, Mrs. Mac."
"We just wanted to go a little early to have some time on the lawn."
Mrs. Mac would not be put off. "Now Thelda,
I know why you wanted to go early."
Gerry tried to weasel out of her place in
the crime. "I was just with Thelda." She tried to excuse herself.
The older woman never spoke quickly or
without thinking. "I cannot let this go by.""There must be punishment."
"It must be carried out immediately."
Thelda was a veteran of the school and she
knew what was to be. Gerry was newer and more ignorant of consequences,
but she was soon to learn.
"Thelda, you will mop and wax the lobby and
the south hallway, on your knees" "Gerry, you will mop and wax the reading
room and the north hallway on your knees." The fact that these were great
spaces didn't seem to bother Mrs. Mac in the least.
It wasn't just the discipline. It was the
fact that the girls would be on their knees cleaning as the other girls
were coming in from the Flaming Arrow.
Later as Gerry was soaking her knees with
cold compresses treating the blisters there, she had time to think. She
knew the discipline was not too harsh. It wasn't as if she had not been
taught about "bad association," as a child. It was this point Mrs. Mac was
driving across. For the rest of her time at the school the girl never had
a problem with keeping to "schedule," or being in the wrong place at the