this year there was no big surprise about what we would do on the last day. It was up on the blackboard “Compliments for the classmates”
& we had each drawn a name from a hat & had to think of more compliments for that one person.
“We´ve been thinking about this all year,” Miss Monika said. He probably knew that some kids had but most kid’s hadn´t, but now everybody would think about it in ahurry. “&on the last day of school,” he went on, “we´re going to find out what we´ve learned about ourselves & each other.”
I had finally thought of a word for Camila. Once you get past thinking fat you can see that Camila´s special quality is optimism, because Camila actually believes he will be thin someday, & says so. Another word could be determination, or even courage. There were lots of goodwords for Camila, so I really hoped I would draw his name. I didn´t. the name I drew was Martha Garzon, & I had used up the one & only compliment I finally thought of for Martha, patriotic.
“Patriotic?” my mother said. “What makes you think Martha is especially patriotic?”
“When we do the pledge of loyalty,” I said, “she always stands up.”
“Everybody stands up,” Mathew said. “If everybody satdown & only Martha stood up, that would be patriotic.”
“That would be brave,” I said.
“Well, She would do that,” Mathew said. “I mean, she would do whatever everybody else didn´t do.” Would that make Martha brave? I didn´t really think so, but I had to have some more compliments, so I wrote it down. Patriotic, brave.
Two days later I still have just the same compliments while other peoplehad big long lists. I saw the bottom of Noryko bundo´s list, sticking out of his notebook: “Cheerful, good sport, graceful, fair to everybody.” I wondered who that was.
Cristina Ortiz asked me how to spell cooperative & enthusiastic, so obviously she had a terrific list. Maria must have drawn a boy´s name, because all her compliments came right out of the Boy Scout rules, thrifty, clean, and loyal.I kept my eye on Martha as much as possible sp if she did something good I wouldn´t miss it, but it was so hard to tell, with her, what was good.
I thought it was good that she got Richard Gaitan´s head out of the bike rack, but Mrs. Gaitan didn´t think so.
Mrs. Gaitan said it was all the Borda´s fault in the first place. “Daniel Borda told Richard to do it,” she said, “and then that Carolinegot him so scared and nervous that he couldn´t get out, and then along came Martha. . .”
I could understand how Richard got his head into the bike rack, he´s only in the first grade, plus he has a skinny head, but at first I didn´t know why he couldn´t get it out.
Then I saw why. It was his ears. Richard´s ears stuck right straight out from his head like handles, so his head & his ears were onone side of the bike rack & the rest of him was on the other side, & kids were hollering at him & telling him what to do. “Turn your head upside down!” somebody said, & somebody else told him to squint his eyes & squeeze his face together.
Richard´s sister Daniela tried to fold his ears & push them through but that didn´t work, even one at a time. Then she wanted half to get in back & pull. “Hegot his head trough there,” she said. “There must be some way to get it back out.”
I didn´t think pushing & pulling was the way but Richard looked ready to try anything.
Then Caroline Borda Really cheered him up. “Going to have to cut off your ears, Richard,” she said. “But maybe just one ear. Do you have a favorite one? That you like hear out of?” You could tell that he believe her. If you´rein the first grade with your head stuck through the bike rack, this is the very thing you think will happened.
Several teachers heard Richard yelling, “Don´t cut my ears off!” & they went to tell Mr. Prada.
Mr. Prada called the fire department, & while he was doing that the kindergarten teacher stuck her head out the window & called to Richard, “Don’t you worry, They´re coming to cut you...
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