The Pencil Pal

In the 1980s, the electric company I worked for up north had a program called Pencil Pals. The premise was to write to inner city kids and encourage their writing skills. I chose a school that my father had attended in his youth. At the end of the Pencil Pal year we would take a charter bus to the school, meet our Pencil Pal, have lunch and spend some time either playing games in the classroom or on the playground. The kids also got to meet Mr. Pencil.

The day came to meet Connie. Her teacher told me she was quite nervous for days before about the entire process. We had lunch, and Connie asked if we could return to her homeroom to play a game, because she was not feeling well. We were playing a board game when Connie announced, “I do not feel so good,” and she proceeded to vomit all over me and into my purse. The teacher ran over and escorted me to the teachers lounge and Connie to the nurse. We returned to the classroom and — you guessed it — again she vomited all over me. This time she stayed in the nurse’s room!

Needless to say she felt so very bad, but I reassured her that as a mom I had seen vomit before. No one seemed to want to sit near me on the bus on the way back to our vehicles, and my “sympathetic” friends decided to rename the program Pukey Pals.

Jeannine Sweet, Supply, Brunswick EMC

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