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One day at the noon hour, I was watching the baseball game from the schoolhouse. I watched as Andi was playing baseball. Just like a boy, I thought. I couldn’t understand why a girl would do such boyish things.
The boy named Johnny was throwing the ball really hard towards Andi. Andi had already missed the ball twice. From watching the game, I knew that if you missed three times you were out.
I hoped Andi would miss again. Giggling at the fact, I hoped the other team would win with that cute boy----
My thoughts were interrupted by the shout of one of the boys. “Another foul!” someone grumbled. “I’m tired of chasing all of your---”
I jumped back as a ball broke through the window and landed near me. From inside the room, Father jumped up too.
Andi broke the window! I wondered what would happen next.
“Maybe next time you’ll hit old Foster right on the head,” the boy Johnny chuckled.
I ran down the steps hoping to tell Father what Johnny had said. But his yelling made me stop.
“The classroom is a shambles,” Father yelled. He marched into the middle of the field. “My daughter came close to being seriously injured. Who is responsible for this?”
No one answered. Some of the little children started to cry. When they saw their teacher Miss Hall, they went running to her. Father looked at Miss Hall and composed himself.
“This doesn’t concern any of your scholars. Please take them inside,” Father ordered.
Miss Hall quickly walked inside with the children behind her.
Then Father turned back to the boys. “Who broke the window?”
I wanted to say who did it, but I couldn’t get the words out.
Father drew himself up. “If no one confesses, each one of you boys here will be punished.”
I looked at Andi. She looked down at the ground and opened her mouth. Somehow, she couldn’t manage the words.
“I did it,” Cory said.
Everyone gasped. Cory handed Father the baseball bat. "It was an accident. I’ll clean it up right away.” I saw him turn and look at Andi.
“Mr. Blake, I might have known. Today you will feel the switch.” Father grasped Cory’s ear and dragged him into the schoolhouse.
“Cory’s sure going to get it,” Davy Cooper remarked, kicking a rock.
“Cory is a fool,” Johnny said. “I wouldn’t take it for no girl.”
“You going to tell the teacher?” Peter Kincaid wanted to know. He gave Andi a worried look.
“None of us’ll tell.” Davy assured Andi. “One thrashing is plenty for today.” Nods filled the circle.
I slipped inside near the doorway to listen without being seen. The students climbed the stairs a minute later. I was glad they didn’t notice me.
“Now, clean up the mess, Mr. Blake,” Father ordered.
“Yes sir,” Cory replied stiffly and he headed to the back of the room for a broom.
“Watch for glass splinters before seating,” Father directed. “Fourth Reader Class, gather your books and come forward for recitation.”
I held up my hand. Father looked up and frowned.
“What is it, Miss Foster?” he asked.
I stood beside my desk and curtsied. “I think I need to tell you something.”
“Does it concern your recitation?”
I shook my head. “No, Father. It concerns the broken window.” I took a deep breath, hoping Andi wouldn’t be too mad. “The truth is, sir, Cory Blake did not break it.”
Father narrowed his eyes. “Are you certain?”
“Yes, sir. If you recall, I stayed indoors during the noon hour. I was watching the game from over there.” I pointed to the far side of the classroom. “The ball crashed through the window not ten feet from where I was standing. Andrea Carter was holding the bat.”
Father turned a disbelieving look on Andi. “You broke the window?”
“I broke it,” Cory insisted from the back of the room. “Ask anybody.”
Andi jumped to her feet. “She’s right. I broke it. But it was an accident. Just like Cory said.”
“Thank you for speaking up,” Father turned to me and said.
I nodded and sat back down.
“Return to your seat Mr. Blake. Miss Carter, you will clean up the glass then you will stay after class and write in your copybook one hundred times, I will not deceive the teacher.
“I-I can’t stay after class,” Andi stammered. “My brother needs to---”
“You will stay. Is that understood?” Father bellowed. Andi nodded and walked to the back of the room. Cory handed her a note. Then they smiled at each other.
Probably an apology note or something, I thought.