Friday, 29 May 2015

It Started With a School Excursion


My kids both went on a school excursion today. On the way to school I was thinking about one particular excursion from my own school days, but I kept it to myself.

When I was in Grade 5 we loaded up a bus with a few classes from my school to visit a beach about an hour away. 

Along the way we mysteriously detoured to a house belonging to a teacher from another class. As he ducked inside the house I assumed he must have forgotten his lunch or something, but instead he returned to the bus with a box full of tiny grey kittens.

Long story short I was one of several children who raised their hands to say I would love to have one of the kittens. Of course, the devil is always in the detail with this kind of thing. I could have sworn he said something like “Blah blah blah let me know tomorrow”. It turns out he actually said “Check with your parents and let me know tomorrow”. Just semantics really. Anyway, I gave him the nod the next day and ‘project kitten’ was good to go.

A couple of days later my kitten was delivered to school. Before school that day I had fashioned a multi-purpose kitty-carrier to house the kitten at school and carry him home on my bike at the end of the day. It was a small open cardboard crate, with newspaper over the top. Solid as a rock.

Parental status – still very much in the dark unfortunately.

Then a few problems arose during the kitten transfer at school.

Firstly, it’s fairly safe to say that my classroom teacher, Mr M, was not on board with ‘project kitten’. He didn’t like the fact that one of his esteemed colleagues saw fit to bring kittens to school and distribute them to students, and he definitely didn’t like the fact that I planned on keeping my kitten in a home-styled kitty-carrier in the corner of the classroom for the rest of the day.

Secondly - and this proved to be the deal breaker - my new kitten was not completely satisfied with his temporary lodgings. He howled the biggest howls he could manage with his tiny kitten-voice. With every howl Mr M would flinch, and glare towards the box. It seemed to go on for hours but really it was only a few short minutes before the kitten liberated himself.  There was only one way this could go.

Nope, there was no phone call to my parents to collect their oldest child (and new kitten), no paperwork documenting my departure from school. There was just a middle aged man with a red face and steam coming out of his ears screaming “GET OUT! AND TAKE THAT BLASTED CAT WITH YOU!”

Obviously Mr M was not a cat person.

I assumed he wasn’t in the mood to provide any craft supplies to repair my kitty-carrier, so I quickly jettisoned that and marched myself over to the bike racks. Somehow I managed to ride all the way home clutching a screeching, scratching kitten to my upper torso, steering my bike with the other hand.

The relief at the end of the journey lasted only briefly, as I entered another level of hell - explaining the whole thing to my mother, who was in bed recuperating after an appendectomy.

This was certainly turning into a fine old mess.

Mum assured me that she would be ‘speaking to somebody’ about this, to arrange the return of our little ball of fluff as soon as possible. And with that hanging over me I hopped on my bike and returned from the fire back to the frying pan at school.

As I shuffled back into class, nursing my finely lacerated arms, Mr M barely acknowledged my return, nor did he enquire about the welfare of my furry friend. As long as I was sans kitten, that’s all that mattered.

I spent a very long afternoon wondering why my air-tight plan hadn’t gone as smoothly as I’d hoped. Things had certainly unravelled rather quickly, that’s for sure.

When I got home after school, bracing myself for trouble, I found the little grey kitten curled tightly in a ball beside mum on the bed.

He had been unofficially given the green light to join our family. And it looked like we had been given the green light too.

For the longest time he didn’t have a name, and I’m not sure if that made him nervous. Eventually he became known as Grey Man. He lived to a ripe old age too, despite possibly using up several of his nine lives on that initial bike ride home.

I didn’t share that story with my kids as they set off for their excursion today.


Just in case…



31 comments:

  1. What a great story! I do love a happy ending! Thanks for linking up with the Ultimate Rabbit Hole.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh those cute kittens..how could you refuse...I feel your certainty as a young one in your plan.... I had many and why didn't they work out.. Usually an adult halted any great endings.. Glad he found a home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too, Tamara. Lots of great plans...

      Delete
  3. Clearly you are an animal lover and for that I love you. Who can resist a helpless kitten? The teacher in question has a bit to answer for though! I love posts that tell a story from the past :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Michelle. Funny, what both teachers did was strange but not really out of keeping with the times.

      Delete
  4. I am not relaying this story to my daughter! It would give her too many ideas on ways to acquire a puppy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ingrid. Yes, I'm keeping it under wraps around here too.

      Delete
  5. Love it! I'm not sure I'd be so understanding if one of my boys brought home a kitten...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the compliment, Allison. Well, that was the 70s. The whole episode would never unfold like that now, I suspect!

      Delete
  6. Love little kitty cats - grey ones are adorbs!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Haha - great story! Sounds just like something I would have done and I did do something similar. I once was at a shopping centre and passed by a pet shop. There was a little puppy in the window and he was crying. He looked at me with his sad eyes and begged for me to save him. It was my duty to do so and so I did. I bought that puppy and took him home. My parents were not impressed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is gold, Min. I wonder how many kids wanted to do that but didn't go through with it?

      Delete
  8. Got love the carefree attitude of our educators back in the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, Sally-Ann. That's how it was. Definitely a different style of teacher back in the day.

      Delete
  9. That's a fantastic story. I can't believe you rode home with a kitten on your bike! Schools and teachers were funny back then - someone would be suspended these days, and it wouldn't be the kid!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True story, Bronnie. Advanced bike riding skills (and it was a country town so not as dangerous as the city). Yes, that story, on so many levels, would never unfold like that today.

      Delete
  10. Hilarious! I must definitely be getting old because all the way through I was thinking like a parent/adult freaking out if my child brought a kitten home from school. It would probably end up exactly the same way though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, Karin. Don't worry, I don't think any teachers these days would be handing out kittens without permission, paperwork, and all of the other legalities.

      Delete
  11. This is awesome! So many twists and turns to Grey Man's nine lives. I love that you found him curled up beside your Mum - too cute. Now I want to know what your kids brought home from their excursion - keep us posted!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the lovely comments, Tonia. x And luckily they didn't come home with anything except a clipboard with a few fragments of 'work' on it!

      Delete
  12. That is the best story behind a family pet. I hope your kids had a great excursion :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much Alicia. And yes, they did have a great time. No pets in their backpacks either.

      Delete
  13. oh no!!! Those careless '70's!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That they were, Lydia. Turned out well in the end though.

      Delete
  14. Oh that's such a great read. What an awesome story :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Caz. I really appreciate that. :)

      Delete
  15. Aww! So glad Grey Man was allowed into your life. All you have to do is let the kitten cuddle up next to family and they fall in love just as easily and quickly as you! Well, in most cases that is.

    ReplyDelete