The recess bell rings and all the kids race outside. The bigger kids are choosing sides for Pom Pom Pullaway, the game of the season. But no one calls my name to be on their side. Feeling like the fat and awkward second-grader that I am in this one-room school, I am afraid no-one will choose me. To hide my fears, I shuffle to the line closest to the school wall.
Everyone else happily lines up. Cameron, an 8th grader, is in the middle. He is fast and big, and when he calls out “Pom, Pom Pull-Away”, I must run where he can’t catch me. As we race from the wall to the line by the oak tree, Cameron tags at least 5 of the other big kids, and even some of the 1st graders. I make it across, and then all the tagged kids in the middle chant, “Pom, Pom Pull-away, Come away or we’ll pull you away” as they prepare to tag more of us as we run back toward the school wall.
As I run across once again, I agonize over getting caught or not getting caught. If I get caught, I must be in the middle and try to catch someone else. I’m afraid I cannot catch those fast kids. But if I don’t get caught, I will have to run even harder the next time to avoid the additional kids in the middle. I hate this game – I would rather be inside finishing my new library book, Caddie Woodlawn.
I see kids running and tagging; it seems everyone is trying to tag their friends, and no one has tagged me. Oh, God! Help me! And then Cameron appears out of nowhere and bumps me, hard! My glasses fall off, and I fall down. He laughs as he runs away, not even seeing me.
Ring, ding-a-ling! I get up as the bell rings, trying to straighten my bent glasses, and stumble invisibly into school to my seat. My group is the next one called forward to the teacher. The other 3 children in my grade don’t have their lesson ready, so Mrs. Tieman lets me go back to my seat to read Caddie Woodlawn. I open the book to hide my tears, and secrete myself in the story.
Me in Grade 2 or 3