THANKS MRS. DUKE!
We always went right to the end of June before our summer holidays when I was in public school. The only time we didn’t finish school, on June 30, is if June 30 fell on a weekend.
On the last day of school, the last thing we would do was go to the room of our next grade. I was ten when I passed from Grade 4 to Grade 5. I remember going from a room on the second floor, of Davenport Public School, to a room on the third floor for Grade 5.
How exciting! The last day of school with the summer promising nothing but fun.
“No more pencils. No more books. No more teachers’ dirty looks!”
Mrs. Duke was my Grade 5 teacher. She was English and looked like Queen Elizabeth. Same facial features and same hair style. The only difference was that the Queen had dark hair and Mrs. Duke had blonde hair.
“I congratulate all of you for passing from Grade 4 to Grade 5,” said Mrs. Duke. “This is the room you will be in when you return in September.”
That is all we needed to know. Summer, here we come!
“Before I let you go,” said Mrs. Duke, “I have an assignment for you.”
She walked up and down the aisles placing a paper on our desks.
“I want you to read six books over the summer, and write a book report on one of the books you read. This paper gives you guidelines on how to write a book report. Your book report will be due in September when you come back. Have fun!”
What? Homework? Homework for the summer holidays? Who gets homework for the summer holidays? Mrs. Duke ruined all the excitement we had about the summer.
I hated reading. I loved watching television. And now I had to read six books over the summer? Sheesh!
I went to the library and borrowed six books. I only remember two of the six: a book about Greek myths and The Three Musketeers. I did the book report on The Three Musketeers.
I felt like an idiot when I returned in September with my book report. Several of my friends had no book report with the excuse, “I lost the paper.” Why didn’t I think of that? I could have lost the paper and not have to worry about doing a report.
Mrs. Duke was big on reading. At some point, soon after I started Grade 5, I started to love reading books. This love has grown over the years. Now I prefer to read books and not watch television.
Thanks, Mrs. Duke!