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The Girl Who Was A Persona Non Grata, Part VIII
They Called Her Rag Doll
It was now January 1964 and the sixth grade class was now used to Miss Chou. Well, all except for Barbara Montpelier and Collette Tyler. Those two girls felt that they were the stars in the class thereby deserving the deluxe treatment. However, Miss Chou was having none of that much to their chagrin.
As was expected, Mrs. Montpelier was none too fond of Miss Chou. She expected Miss Chou to grant preferential treatment to her precious darling, Barbara, as she was the one of the main contributors to the school. One cold day in February 1964, Mrs. Montpelier wanted to have a very long detailed discussion with both Dr. Sorenson and Miss Chou. She went to the school and proceeded to Dr. Sorenson's office. While she was in Dr. Sorenson's office, she instructed him to summon Miss Chou from her class.
Dr. Sorenson did as Mrs. Montpelier ordered. Miss Chou reluctantly left the class, proceeding towards Dr. Sorenson's office. When she got there, she saw Mrs. Montpelier quite incensed. Mrs. Montpelier explained to Dr. Sorenson in the presence of Miss Chou that the latter was an unfair and harsh teacher. Mrs. Montpelier further exhorted Dr. Sorenson to treat Barbara like the star she was. Then Mrs. Montpelier leaned towards Miss Chou, warning her if she did not treat her precious darling preferentially, there would be dire consequences.
Miss Chou was not the type of teacher to be threatened nor underestimated. Miss Chou glared at Mrs. Montpelier, strongly asserting to Mrs. Montpelier that her daughter was the same as the other students. Miss Chou further added to Mrs. Montpelier that her daughter would be accorded the same treatment, no more, no less. As soon as Miss Chou finished her statement, she abruptly left the principals' office and proceeded toward her classroom to continue teaching.
Mrs. Montpelier was very incensed regarding this. Dr. Sorenson was about to placate her but to no avail. Mrs. Montpelier got up and hurriedly left the office. As Mrs. Montpelier left the office, she informed Dr. Sorenson that she intended to meet with the school board in order to take action to have Miss Chou ousted from the school. Dr. Sorenson just looked at Mrs. Montpelier nonplussed.
Miss Chou seemed triumphant. She did not believe in letting a parent dictate to her regarding teaching methodology. She was of the school that teachers were in charge of the students thus deserving the utmost respect. She further believed that the American system of education was too permissive which resulted in students having little or no respect for their teachers. She was about to turn back the clock regarding the teacher-student relationship.
One person who did not complain but actually thrived in this class was Hope. She enjoyed Miss Chou's method of teaching, furthermore appreciating the discipline that was bestowed upon her. Miss Chou saw promise in Hope that the other teachers did not see.
Miss Chou considered Hope to be a diamond in the rough. She was further impressed by Hope's plucky independence and fierceness. She noticed too that Hope was becoming quite proficient in art, mathematics, language arts, and science. Under the tutelage of Miss Chou, Hope became a straight A+ student with a 100 average thus being the smartest student in the class. Everyone was buoyed and overjoyed by this.............except for Collette and Barbara. Barbara did not like this at all. She was finally toppled from her place as the smartest student. In fact, now she was the sixth smartest student! She did not like this at all and neither did Mrs. Montpelier.
"No one, especially a rag muffin was going to topple my precious angel," shouted Mrs. Montpelier to Dr. Sorenson. Dr. Sorenson tried to explain to Mrs. Montpelier that children do not remain in the same grade status forever. Mrs. Montpelier became more incensed and slapped Dr. Sorenson in anger. Mrs. Montpelier realizing what she did, sat down and profusely apologized to Dr. Sorenson. Dr. Sorenson instructed Mrs. Montpelier to calm down, giving her some tea with cookies. As Mrs. Montpelier drank the tea, she took a valium to calm her nerves.
Dr. Sorenson called a cab to take Mrs. Montpelier home. She seemed extremely distraught about the fact that her precious daughter was no longer the first in her class. The injustice of it all, she thought. In the meanwhile.........Hope was ever ebullient regarding her status. In fact, she was gloating. She felt utterly significant for the first time in her young life.
I and Cassandra were happy for Hope. We told her that if she kept up her stellar grades, she could gain a scholarship to a good high school which in turn could make her eligible for a good college. She seems so encouraged by our remarks.
Hope informed her father and sisters of the fact that she was the first in her class. Mr. Cairn, of course, was extremely pleased with her. He told her to keep up the good work. He further explained to Hope that he wanted a vastly better life for her. It was his intention for Hope to succeed beyond his wildest dreams. He wanted to ascertain that Hope's dreams whatever it was to come to fruition.
It was now summer 1964. Everyone was glad that the rigors of the sixth grade was over. Now, the seventh grade awaits. Elementary school days were over forever and we were now going to embark upon junior high. Junior high...........it seemed so sophisticated. We were no longer girls but young women! There was a whole new and exciting world out there!
Everyone was prepared for summer. Some would travel abroad while others remained at or near home. Hope had a surprise that summer...............Miss Chou was going to take Hope to Hong Kong with her to visit relatives. Hope was greatly anticipating the trip.
As usual, Barbara Montpelier was not pleased with the 1963-64 school year. Dr. and Mrs. Montpelier also were not pleased. In fact, they were utterly displeased and intended to do something about it! However, it was now summer and time to get Miss Chou off their minds. They wanted to take Barbara to the French Riviera.
As summer began, it soon ended and it was back to school. We were in junior high now and our teacher was.........yes, Miss Chou again. When Barbara saw Miss Chou again, she burst out crying. So did Collette. They were none too pleased that Miss Chou was now teaching seventh grade. They were expecting Mrs. Hancock. The roster clearly stated that Mrs. Hancock would be the seventh grade teacher. They clearly were not expecting Miss Chou. It was obvious that both parties detested Miss Chou with a passion. The longterm enmity between Barbara and Collette disappeared under the weight of Miss Chou. They have bonded and become the best of friends. They have two things in common-their hatred of Miss Chou and Hope.
Their two cliques joined together into one big group. This group was mean girls to the quadrillionth degree. There was nothing too snooty nor outlandish for these girls. Barbara was the leader of the group while Collette was second in command. Unbeknowst to Dr. and Mrs. Montpelier, their precious daughter, Barbara, was becoming quite a bully. Barbara, Collette, and their cohort were known to verbally harass girls that they felt were threatening to them or that they did not like for one reason or another.
One day in December 1964, Hope was alone out of school and walking home. Barbara motioned some girls in her clique, particularly Xenobie Darby and Madolyn Hitchcock, to jump and beat Hope. Hope was beaten so severely that she had to be hospitalized. Mr. Cairn heard of this and demanded to speak to Dr. Sorenson. When he called Dr. Sorenson to make an appointment, he was told by the secretary that he was unavailable. However, he was ........he was conferring with Mrs. Montpelier at the time.............