“The Pencil Box and Fire Story”

First Grade

What could be more exciting than to be a big “KID” and getting to go to school …starting the First Grade… with all the kids you know in the neighborhood and be old enough to stay with your classmates all day?

Also, being the oldest and first child in the family to be  going to school, I had a list of school supplies that I would need, which was of some real importance to me!

Naturally, we all went to the nearby stores on Florissant Avenue, and Bryan Hill School was several blocks down from where we would be shopping. Seems like a great area with everything you need,  and all so close to home.

The one thing that I just had to have, was this special pencil box. The school did not specify this item… It  was something that I saw and just felt as  a young child  and going to be a student…something important to have.

It may have been twelve inches long by about three inches wide and maybe two inches in height. The top had a snap type opening in the front, with the top lifting up and back, revealing a drawer that you could pull out for extra pencils and even something that you just might want to hide.

At the age that I was then,  and having two younger brothers, I felt that I needed a secret place that only I knew about? And, that is exactly what I did. I had a small box of stick matches, which no one knew that I had and I put them in the pencil box drawer. “Did I hide the matches?”… NO!

My youngest brother “TOMMY” – was  a nosy sort and must have watch me with my pencil box and knew what I had, and… that it was something that we, children should not even  have?

So, the next day,  and after I had left for school, as our parents were  maybe still in their bedroom, “TOMMY” took the matches from my pencil box and decided that he would  have  some fun… all by himself? 

Tommy starting to light a match or two… and just  watching  the flame, and  with the matches being  so short  each match…  he started dropping them, and being so close to his bedroom  window, the curtains caught on “FIRE!”

Tommy was now scared … dropped everything and left our room with a nice “FIRE” catching  the curtains on fire  and also a very large paper bag of Tommy’s  wooden  toy blocks.

Tommy is now sitting in the kitchen on a wooden red stool, not making a sound and not letting anyone know what he had done? He is as quiet as a “MOUSE!”

But, those falling blocks are making a noise and the fire-smoke has my father’s attention. He runs to the room and with a heavy wet towel, knocks everything burning down and has that fire out, and all without neighbors or anyone even aware of a fire in our house!

Any other time Tommy has a lot to say, but now he is not talking at all!

I’m guessing he would like to say that I had done this, but I’m at school – I really would have loved to hear and see what was said and done, but it all was put on “HOLD” … till I came home from school!

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