The Girl Who Was a Persona Non Grata, Part III
They Called Her Rag Doll
As Hope Cairn was running away from Mrs. Hancock towards the 3rd grade classroom, she was tripped by Barbara Montpelier. Hope fell to the floor, cutting her knee. Some of the other pupils watched this in glee. Barbara, as usual, was laughing derisively and uproariously at Hope. Hope looked at Barbara, got up and lurched at her, beating her unmercifully!
Hope was beating Barbara within an inch of her life. As expected, many of the pupils, including Barbara's favorites, came to her rescue, dragging Hope away and pinning her on the floor. Hope started to scream and struggle but to no avail. Then Mrs. Hancock appeared, looking at a severely bloodied Barbara, tersely asking what happened. One of Barbara's favorites replied that Hope instigated the fight with Barbara. When another pupil disagreed with the statement of one of Barbara's favorites, the latter pupil icily glared at the former pupil, daring that pupil to go on further! The latter pupil decided to desist from making further statements.
Mrs. Hancock then looked at Hope. She started to hiss, stating that Hope was nothing but a troublemaker. She further added that it is beyond her knowledge why Hope was selected to attend such a prestigious school as this as she was poor and totally undeserving of a private school education. She then slyly remarked to Barbara that Hope would be better off attending public school with the rest of HER kind. Hope looked at Mrs. Hancock, assertively stating that she is entitled to having the best education available! Mrs. Hancock and Barbara just looked at her and laughed, calling her a rag doll who would amount to nothing at all!
Barbara and Hope were about to return to their respective seats; however, Mrs. Hancock decided to retain Hope. She then took out a long 15 inch wooden ruler. She instructed Hope to bend down over the desk and proceeded to give her fourteen harsh hits. Despite the harsh whipping, Hope remained strong and did not cry. After the punishment was administered, Hope returned to her seat and just sat there, glaring at Barbara! Barbara returned the glare, reporting it to Mrs. Hancock. Mrs. Hancock coldly told Hope that she wanted to meet her after school.
Classes were finished and the other students left for home. However, Mrs. Hancock harshly called to Hope to stay after school. She then called Dr. Sorenson, summoning him to come to the class. Dr. Sorenson saw Hope and began to harshly lecture her that to be a bully was against the principles of the school. He further stated that this school was to educate and groom young ladies and gentlemen. He then started to glare at her, carefully enunciating that if she wanted to remain at the school, she had better start being a lady instead of a ragmuffin hooligan. Hope started to disagree with Dr. Sorenson but he abruptly cut her off, leaving the classroom. Mrs. Hancock began to lecture Hope on the importance of being civil. Hope appeared to ignore the teacher, leaving the class!
Mrs. Hancock was of course dumbfounded at this. She thought to herself what an impudent girl. How dare she leave the class without permission. Hope left the class room, proceeding home. As she approached her Hell Kitchen's apartment, her father greeted and kissed her. He asked Hope how was her day. As the question was asked, Hope burst into tears. She recounted how Mrs. Hancock had an animus against her because she was poor. She even related to her father that Mrs. Hancock stated that she would amount to nothing!
Mr. Cairn soothed Hope, stating that she would amount to something as her older sisters did. He added that he would see to that! Hope looked at her father and smiled. He was about to prepare the family's dinner when there was a knock on the door. As he was about to answer the door, Drs. Sorenson and Montpelier in addition to Mrs. Hancock barged inside the Cairn apartment. Mr. Cairn looked totally perplexed. Dr. Montpelier initiated the confrontation, stating that Hope was an incorrigible hoodlum and she should be expelled immediately! Of course, Dr. Sorenson and Mrs. Hancock loudly concurred with Dr. Montpelier's statement!
Mr. Cairn started to become incensed. How dare Dr. Montpelier talk about his loving daughter that way! Hope would never hurt someone unless provoked. She simply was not raised that way! Dr. Montpelier started to tour the apartment. He beckoned Mrs. Hancock to follow her. Mr. Cairn, of course, protested this egregious invasion of familial privacy. Dr. Montpelier remarked about how unusually neat the apartment was for this kind of neighborhood. He then eyed Mr. Cairn in detail. He smiled and left the apartment with Dr. Sorenson and Mrs. Hancock following him.
Mr. Cairn closed the apartment door. He called Hope to his side. He told her as he did the older daughters to obtain all the education and knowledge she could. He further exhort her to be in charge and powerful so people would never have the opportunity to kick her around. He asserted to her to be BETTER than he was! He started to cry uncontrollably. He then proceeded to the main bedroom to care for his wife whose health was becoming increasingly impaired with each succeeding pregnancy and birth.
Hope's next older sister, Nancy, arrived home, kissed her and Mr. Cairn, proceeding into the anteroom of the house to study. Mr. Cairn went to see how Nancy was doing, he smiled at her and left the anteroom. He talked to Hope for a long time. He told her that the family may be poor for now but all of them will succeed beyond their wildest dreams. He named the oldest daughters, some of whom are either in college and/or starting careers. He beamed as he was talking about them. He told Hope that he expects the same from her. She smiled, proceeding to do her homework. She thought that despite Mrs. Hancock and Barbara, she will be a successful third grade student. She has been as far.
It was finally the end of the school year. Everyone was promoted to the 4th grade. Barbara naturally received honors for being the smartest pupil in the 3rd grade class. There were five other students, including I, who received honors for being A students. Although Hope earned good grades, mostly As , she was not honored by Dr. Sorenson and Mrs. Hancock. In fact, it was common knowledge, that Mrs. Hancock purposely gave Hope three Cs in order to prevent her from being on the school's honorable mention list. It was the sole purpose of Mrs. Hancock to try to crush Hope's spirits.
Summer was about to began. Barbara bragged that she would be going to France with her parents to tour the Louvre and other museums. She kissed her favorites and me, wishing all of us a very happy summer. My father came forward and hugged me. He further warned me not to associate with Barbara and her friends. I asked him why. He informed me that she was poison and I should make friends with Hope. With Hope? I protested to my father but to no avail.
He told me that Hope was a very nice person. I stated that she was the poorest pupil and associating with her would ruin my social standing with Barbara and her friends. He then informed me that I was not really friends with Barbara and her cohorts. I thought about the statement, mildly agreeing. He then asserted that I was just a mascot for them. Well, I asserted THAT was being than nothing! He suggested that I have truer friends but I did not want to leave Barbara and her group because of the high status it bestowed upon me...............