Submitted to dVerse
October 26, 2020
When I was a child I went to a one-room schoolhouse which was situated just across the road from our house. School and church activities were the fabric of social life in our rural part of middle Illinois. At the school Halloween party, the parents came in costume as well as the children. My mother loved Halloween, and was quite creative in choice of costume. In the year I was 8 or 9, mother decided that she and I would dress as a couple taking their rooster to market. I don't recall exactly how my father escaped this plan. Mother loved to dress as a man. She was pretty believable with her fedora pulled low, her fake moustache and her britches and shirt. I was a chubby child, and so I suppose I was believable in my babushka, house dress, stuffed ample bosom, long stockings and brogans, carrying a basket containing one of mother's roosters, hogtied and terrified. The logistics of arriving at the party without disclosing our identity puzzled Mom for a bit. "They'll know us", she said, because they won't hear a car before we arrive". At last she arrived at a solution. "We'll go through the garden, climb the fence (with the barbed wire on top) and sneak to the side of the schoolhouse. When the next people arrive, we'll go in with them and they'll think we're all together." So, through the garden we went, and mother spryly climbed the fence. I was not so lucky. I was not only a chubby child, I was a clumsy one, and in my clamber over the fence ripped my leg on the barbed wire. Undaunted, Mom tucked a hanky in my stocking to catch the blood and took off across the road, carrying my rooster-in-a-basket for me.
As I recall, our ruse was successful. Mom had a great time twirling her moustache and tipping her hat to the ladies, the hapless rooster survived, and we won first prize. To this day, the scar on my leg brings back memories of that long-ago Halloween.
celebration in the schoolhouse
well earned prizewinners