Vinnie’s mom checks her iPhone every fifteen minutes for a text or an email from school. Nothing. She turns her iPhone off and restarts it convinced there is something wrong with it. The iPhone restarts, new emails arrive along with a text from Dr. Sampson reading, “Tell Rupert he was a delight this morning. Have you considered getting Rupert his own iPhone?”
Vinnie’s mom thinks if anyone needs help it isn’t me. It’s Dr. Sampson. I can’t believe she’s board certified as a psychologist. She knows she can’t keep checking her phone. She tucks it in her rear jean’s pocket and ponders whether she should go to the gym and exercise for the next three hours until Vinnie comes home, spring clean house even though it’s fall, or call her good friend Irene and ask her if she wants to go to Gleason’s Winery for wine and cheese and crackers. Of course, she reasons, the smart choice is to call Irene. An inner voice counsels her, ‘what if the school calls and asks you to get Vinnie.’
Vinnie’s mom decides against all three choices, instead she decides to take Dexter for a walk around the neighborhood. She calls, “Dexter, Dexter, want to go for a walk? I have your leash.”
Dexter comes prancing out of Vinnie’s bedroom strutting as proudly as a beagle can strut. The first love in a beagle’s life is food. Coming in at a distant second is publicly pooping on the most manicured lawn in the neighborhood.
Vinnie’s mom hooks Dexter to the leash, they walk to the front door. Vinnie’s mom opens the door and Dexter bolts out, his eyes glued on the prize, the Johnson’s lawn.
Meanwhile at Kennedy Elementary School . . .
Mrs. Mavis checks the time on her iWatch, two oh five. Only thirty more minutes of school before the students are dismissed. She wonders if something is wrong with Vinnie. She hasn’t sent him to the office. She hasn’t sent him to time out. She hasn’t thought of emailing his mom. In fact, she thinks, Vinnie has been the model student. Maybe this oral project is just what he needed.
Two oh six p.m. “Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis.”
I knew it couldn’t last, it never does, thinks Mrs. Mavis. “Yes, Vincent.”
“Can we bring in photos and other stuff to go along with our interviews?”
Mrs. Mavis remembers what Dr. Cashman said how the oral family history projects will be set up in the gym and parents can come and listen to their children explain what they’ve learned. “That is a good idea, Vincent. Remember, you’ll have limited space, so you only can bring in the most important artifacts.”
“Mrs. Mavis, Mrs. Mavis.”
“Is an art fact like if you have someone in your family who paints? My uncle Russell painted all the toilets in city hall, does that count? Can I take pictures of the different toilets?”
The class erupts into laughter.
“Joey, that’s enough, go to time out,” says Mrs. Mavis.
“Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis.”
“Joey didn’t do anything wrong. His uncle Russell really painted all the toilets in city hall. He also painted the toilets in the courthouse.”
The class erupts in laughter.
“Vincent, to the office.”
“Why, Mrs. Mavis? I didn’t do anything?”
“Okay, Mrs. Mavis. Want me to bring back any supplies when Mrs. N sends me back to class?”
The class erupts again.
“Children there is nothing funny here. Open up your math workbooks and begin your homework.”
“Can I take my workbook with me, Mrs. Mavis. Then I don’t have to do homework tonight. I want to talk about my oral history project with my Uncle Mike.”
“I changed my mind about sending you to the office, Vincent. Sit down and do your work in your workbook.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Mavis.”
Larry whispers to Vinnie, “I wish Uncle Mike was my uncle.”