Winter. Grade 3. My teacher, Mrs. Bailey, was a large lady who was loud, stern, and never cracked a smile. I cowered in her presence and prayed I didn’t get called out to answer a question in class. If I was wrong, I feared being on the receiving end of a death stare or worse, have a ruler smacked across my desk. She was intimidating to say the least.
Before the lunchtime bell, we were informed that it had been snowing all morning and were advised that throwing snowballs at each other was not allowed but we were free to build snowmen and make snow angels if we wished.
My best friend and I bundled up and went outside. We didn’t want to build a snowman or make snow angels so decided, instead, to play a snowball throwing game where we would throw the snowball over our shoulders to hit the chalk circle we drew on the brick wall behind us. Technically, we weren’t throwing snowballs at each other so figured we were in the clear.
She threw hers first and hit just below the target. Next up was me. I stood at the marker, balled up my snow, turned my back to the wall, ready, aim, fire. With great force, I launched the snowball behind me. At that moment, my friend put her hands to her mouth and was frozen in horror. When I turned around to see if I had hit the target, there was my teacher - who was making lunch hour rounds - covered in snow. I had hit the target alright. Just the wrong one.
She stood there in disapproval and promptly made a “come hither” movement with her finger, asking me why I didn’t listen to instruction. I was brought inside for the rest of the lunch hour and was given a stern talking to but never actually got the punishment I thought I was in for. She actually went pretty easy on me, realizing that it was a mistake and I never meant to hit her. Even still, I cried from the sheer embarrassment of it all and never threw a snowball on the school grounds again.