by Frank Pollard

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Keeping Free (1 of 12)
Frank Pollard

We lived a mile from the dirt road - really. Our house was one mile from the road maintained by the county. Terrapin Grade School was on that road. It was about the last rural school to be consolidated in Texas. By the time Miss Mueller came to be our teacher, the total student body numbered five: Albert, Freddy, Henry, Mary, and me. Mary was the prettiest girl in school!

We didn't have a lunchroom in Terrapin Grade School, so we all brought our lunches. We four boys usually had what was left over from breakfast - cold biscuits and sausage, ham or bacon. Mary's lunch was different. Every day she had sandwiches made of store-bought sliced bread and bologna. I watched that girl eat those luscious lunches and dreamed of the day when I would grow up, make my fortune and have all the sliced bread and bologna sandwiches I wanted. Since Mary was the only girl in school, she was courted in grade-school fashion by all of us. Terrapin Grade School had a tall "teeter-totter," the biggest seesaw I ever saw. Once while Mary and I were seesawing, going way up and down, she said, "Frank, you're the one I like best." My, how that thrilled me! I almost burst a button off my overalls! But a minute later, when I was up, way up, she jumped off the other end and started talking to Albert. That almost broke my heart. I learned right then you can't trust a girl who is full of bologna!

Miss Mueller was the administration, faculty, and staff at Terrapin Grade School. She was principal, teacher, counselor, nurse and janitor. And she loved us. She noticed we were not living in the lap of luxury, so she taught us more than American history. She taught us about the American advantage. Injected into our thought stream was her contagious conviction: we can be just about anything we really want to be. Starting low in this land does not mean you have to stay low. Under the American advantage we are free to pursue our dreams.

That priceless issue is ...

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