The early morning arrives far too soon for the young teacher. It’s to be his first day, and already the heat of the summer is upon him.
They have sent him to a small town at the top of the valley, and he’s pleased, as he wasn’t sure how he’d handle a city school. He has his clothes laid out and ready. In his brief case are a few lesson ideas he gathered while at the Teacher’s College.
As much as possible he wants to make a good impression on the other staff with whom he’ll be working. He dresses securing his tie, even though it is now seven thirty he breaks out in a sweat but knows he has to dress as professionally as he can. After all, he is young and looks it.
In his old car, he arrives at the school on top of the hill. It’s a cluster of old wooden buildings; the main office the only building you’d think anyone has cared for.
The Principal conducts the staff meeting where he surveys a few young teachers such as himself. After the English/History faculty meets, all three of them. The head is an older woman and the other teacher a man a little older than him but with set ideas about teaching, the school and the kids.
He goes home the first day, his teaching program in his bag and sets to work writing his lessons for the next day.
The next day he is at school early to run off copies of work he wants his classes to do, he has been told they need to be kept busy, and he has to be organised.
In one class he meets an outspoken girl who looks at him seeing the young man he is. Over time they become friends, she invites him to the farm she lives on, shows him stock work, sheep management and one day invites him to help collect the hay bails and store them in the old barn. She is her father’s right hand ‘man’ the eldest of four girls.
Their relationship is very relaxed, and at years end she presents him with a wallet she has made from leather. It has his initial on the front, and he is very flattered she thinks so highly of him.
But by years end he leaves, moves to the city where married life and children take over his every day.
They stay friends for several years until as so often happens, life occurs, and he moves once again this time far away.
They drift into their respective lives and soon lose contact. One often wonders what became of the other.
Some forty years later the old teacher finds the wallet she made, still in as good nick as the day she made it.
He holds it in his hands and wonders what became of her, would she even recognise him now.
The old teacher remembers her as the sassy young girl in his class. Over the years there were many like her who were gobbled up by life beyond school leaving him to hope he made some positive contribution to their lives.