Godfrey’s long suffering teacher Margaret Kromplak enjoyed drinking beer after work. Here she speaks of Godfrey, thanks to the times we lived in back then and Godfreys’ steadfast refusal to conform, I had him in my basement “Special Class” for three years.Undersized, urchin like in appearance , he peered out at the world through a mop of shaggy hair, toothless until he was nine.Godfrey sat in the rear of my room , dwarfed by an oversize desk. Somehow he managed to create only poetry out of his schoolwork,even sums.He informed me once quite gravely that in a “Whirled that rhymed there surely would come Whirled Peas”,I look back on the years with Godfrey in the classroom with fondness… when I retired my colleagues had this note from him framed- it has a place in my heart and hung on my Loo wall many years, he wrote
DEER MSR KROMPLAKE; PLEASE BE EXCUSED GODFREY FORM THE LUNCH RHOOM.HE MAY PANIC AND BARF AT THE SIGHT OF BEETS AND AISLE FAYNT AT THE SMELLT OF BEETS .GODFREY WILL EAT HIS LUNCH OUTSIDE UNDER THE -STARS. (STAIRS)THANK YOU FROM GODFREY.
MY STORY- I knew from the start he was an odd little boy, when dragged by the ear down the hall to the small basement room, where I had been hired to teach.He had recited a poem proclaiming his profound dislike of beets.Unrepentant and scruffy holding in his fist the poem he had wrote ,I left him to sit alone in the back of the alcove where I hung my hat and coat. .He wore an old kilt wrapped about three times held up by a thick length of twine.He wore rubber boots instead of school shoes,and under his horse sweater when he took it off, I saw beet juice stains and a large bruise.In exchange for an apple I pried from his hand the poem I’d been told to take from him and read…it was a six year old’s paen to the joy of being free- to say-I DO NOT LIKE BEETS HOORAY FOR ME
I confess I grew fond of Godfrey over time and although he spoke rarely he always spoke in rhyme. When I heard hollering and the thud of beets outside I knew it was Godfrey looking for a place to hide.
One day I read that the inebriated kind of teacher that I am, thinks only of the comfort of the flask , not the task of molding the young mind. Somewhere in the years of knowing Godfrey he molded mine.I quit consuming beets in pickle or tin, I cut back in class consuming sherry and gin.I no longer slapped the children twice a day I threw my strap and wooden spoon away.I began to read to them …books and poems , even join them at recess at their play.Now I am old and speak of him at close of the day.
.It is Godfrey’s wake ! Throw beets throw the Wurzels throw them high and send him on his way..hurl the Wurzels far as you can see, and lets all shout I DO NOT LIKE BEETS HOORAY FOR ME.!!