She remembered that across from
her old school at Hancock Park there was a store.
The store front was plain,
butted against the sidewalk which was covered with gum
wads and cigarette butts. The front window displayed a
sign, Stationary Store. She would go in, find the
ink eradicator. The fix was in. She had the weekend to
spend on this project; Bs and a few As, that was enough.
The next events: Her parents
signed the forgery they barely looked at it, she took it
back to school, she handed it in. Nothing happened then
but…a few days later, on the way to an assembly, Miss
Dutton pulled her aside and escorted her back to the
The ensuing confrontation, being
shown the ersatz report card, the "I’ll have to call
your parents" created a hysterical me. I sobbed out my
story: The divorce, the loss of my daddy, my new daddy,
the strictness of my mother, who was not just strict,
but who was predisposed to yelling and slapping around.
Damn, what a kind woman. She
finally asked me "what kind of grades do you want?"
"Good grades that will make them
like me and be proud." Miss Dutton took out a fresh
report card, put my name and grade on the cover, looked
over to me. As she was putting pen to paper, I stopped
her. "Will you make it look like Sonya Coopers card? You
know with the big brackets from top to bottom for "A’s?"
"Will you work to earn these pre-given "A’s"? I was so
astonished by this offer. She believed in me. I achieved
This became the foundation for
desiring to be a teacher, to be a good, kind
understanding of children when I grew up.