The story goes like this. It was about 1965. I was a student in Mrs. Libby Williams’ Grade 3 Class at Ragged Island Consolidated School.

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My curly-haired little brother, Francis, had started Grade Primary (Full-day Kindergarten). He wasn’t terribly fond of school. Staying at home to play with his cars and trucks seemed much more appealing.

In 1965, a lot was expected of five-year-olds. There were no tables for groups, no blocks, no puzzles, no play time, no Lego, no puppets, no dress-up corner, no Play-Doh, no cars and trucks — nothing fun. Nope, each student sat in his or her desk all day learning to read, memorizing math facts, practicing printing and colouring inside the lines. It wasn’t much fun for an energetic little boy.


It made perfect sense that Francis was always on the hunt for a reason to leave the oppressive classroom. He looooved to visit the custodians in the furnace room or to hide out in the boys’ washroom. During one of his trips, he knocked on the door of my grade-three class. Mrs. Williams asked someone to open the door and there stood my cute-as-a-button, blonde-haired brother, Francis.

From her desk, Mrs. Williams called out, “What do you want, dear?”
He answered, “Is Muckie there?
“No, dear,” she answered. “You must be at the wrong door.”

Francis was persistent and would not be easily deterred. And that, dear friends, is when disaster struck. He pointed directly at me and bellowed, “There she is!”

Mortified beyond words, I turned every colour of the rainbow. Even worse, my classmates laughed at me. I hurried to the door to find out what he wanted before he could say “Muckie” again. Francis insisted he had lost his pencil so I quickly found one for him and sent him on his way. I’m sure you can predict the outcome. Everyone who heard him, started calling me Muckie.

To this day, I do not know if Francis’ pencil story was true or if he needed a reprieve from the taxing demands of Grade Primary. Although it may have mattered in 1965, it does not 2017. Francis will always be my little brother and I love him very much. We love to shoot the breeze over a delicious cup of warm, sweet “crummy-up.”