flunking the first grade

Flunking the First Grade

unnamedOne day on my way to school in the first grade, passing thru a wooded area, I came upon a cardboard box full of squirming puppies so young their eyes weren’t open yet. I lay in the tall grass and let them crawl over me. I stayed there for hours. Then I put them back in the box and carried them to my grandparents’ house where I was living with my mother and brother.

We were dirt poor, and without a moment’s hesitation my grandfather, who was mixing cement in the yard, dropped the puppies into a large basin of water and drowned them. Mouths he couldn’t afford to feed.

I learned two fundamental things about life that day, but they still didn’t let me go on to the second grade, which taught me another fundamental thing about life.

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