When I was in elementary school, my mother was great about letting me play hooky. She always had an excuse note ready, and I took full advantage of the fact. I think she secretly liked my company and she did always make sure I was reading or learning something if I stayed home. In retrospect, I really should have been home schooled. I don’t think that was an accepted practice back then though.
As I got to junior high school age, the supply of excuse notes dwindled noticeably. I accepted my fate reluctantly, but managed to have some days off despite mom’s best intentions. I took days for special occasions, like an exciting soap opera wedding or a visit to the orthodontist. Yes, the later is said sarcastically, but I did milk those appointments for time off from school. I handled the need to stay home to watch a soap opera with a convenient headache.
One day, I believe it was 1975 or possibly 1976, we learned that Gerald Ford would be landing at the Beverly Airport. Mom decided that she would go and try to meet him, or at the very least get a picture of him. I wanted to go too, after all that would surely be a special event to attend. Surely she’d keep me out of school for this, right?
Wrong! The one time I could have had a chance to meet a sitting President of the United States, she insisted I go to school and stay the whole day! I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t understand her reasoning. She never did explain to me why I had to go to that day instead of to the Beverly Airport with her and my father. She only mumbled something about the importance of education. I could have written a nice essay about the subject and used it for English class, or maybe even American History class.
My parents did go to the airport but they didn’t get anywhere near President Ford. In fact, there is only one picture in our family photos of the day, and it is too blurry to even share on Danvers Patch. It seems the “what is wrong with this picture” of the improbability of mom making me go to school showed up in the photographic evidence of President Ford’s stop at the airport.
If I had gone with her, I would have gotten closer and taken a much better picture. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.