A couple of years ago, Mondale came up with the idea to have his students write their own "strudel stories" and then made strudel with the kids as they told their family stories. Since the thought of making food scares me in general, let alone with a bunch of kids, I've shied away from doing this the past couple of years.
However, this year I asked Mondale if he would help me make the strudel with my class. He readily agreed and we were off. I had each student go home and ask their parents or grandparents about a family anecdote that they could write about and share.
The kids insisted that I write one as well. So I did. I present to you the story of Stone Groove, the Wheelchair, and the Suction Cup Mishap
I think I got the details right but I'm sure Stone Groove will correct me if I'm wrong.
When my dad was nine-years-old, he got a really scary disease called polio. The year was 1953 and everyone was very scared of polio. It could paralyze you, meaning you couldn’t walk, or it could even kill you. We are lucky that in 1954, the cure for polio was invented and now, no one in the U.S. gets polio anymore.
But back to my dad. When he got polio, he got it in his legs. This meant that he couldn’t walk. He was in third grade and all of a sudden, a healthy boy was confined to a wheelchair. He was sad but it wasn’t all bad. His friends still liked to play games with him and they took turns wheeling him around.
One day, one of his friends brought a new toy to show off. It was a suction cup gun. It wasn’t dangerous or anything but if you shot it at something, the suction part might get stuck to a surface.
One of the kids had an idea, “Let’s shoot suction darts at passing cars! They won’t even know what hit them. It will be funny.” So that is what they set out to do. And my dad’s friend was right. The first few cars had no idea that anyone was shooting anything at them as they drove past. Granted, most of the shots completely missed but still …
Anyway, the boys’ luck was about to run out because they finally hit a car. But they didn’t actually hit a car. It was much worse and much funnier than that. You see, the shot had been a perfect one. In fact, it was so perfect that the boys couldn’t have done it again if they had tried. The dart had flown in through the car’s open window and hit the driver flush in the forehead!!
SCREEEEEEECH went the brakes. Out came the angry driver. Psssstttt went all of the boys. They scattered in every which direction. Anywhere was a better place than there. No one wanted to get in trouble. And they all got away because third graders can run faster than middle-aged drivers.
There was only one problem. My dad’s friends forgot to take my dad. They left him in his wheelchair to face the wrath of the angry citizen. But my dad was smart. He knew that since he was in a wheelchair, the man wouldn’t be too bad at him. And he wasn’t. My dad was also quite mad that his friends had ditched him. The man said, “Hi there, young man. What happened to all of your friends? They left you here to face the punishment, huh? Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. If you give me all of your friend’s names and telephone numbers, I won’t call your parents. What do you say?”
My dad knew a good deal when he heard one. He gave up his friends. And that night, each and every one of them got a phone call from the driver. And each and every one of them got in trouble that night. All except my dad.
Normally, a kid who tells on all of his friends ends up with few friends. Except all of my dad’s friends felt guilty that they had left him. So after they all served their punishments, my dad was forgiven.
A year later, the polio went away and my dad’s legs were okay again. Of course, he had a lot of work to do to get back to normal. But he worked hard and was eventually able to run and walk and do everything a healthy kid can do once again.