Murdo Girl…The pick is in a pickle

I have just one thing to say to the (not so little), Murdo Girl. Your paper is too full of…adjectives.


Murdo Girl…1966 (13 in 66 was like 10 is now)

This is my first day of 8th grade, and Mr. Pickner is my teacher. I am in a state of stunned disbelief.

I do not know how I will get through this year. My head is spinning, my thoughts are all a jumble. The only thing I can think of, is maybe Mr. Pickner has known all along that I was the one responsible for the damage done to the ceiling in the Principal’s Office. The light fixture and a bunch of boards fell right out of the ceiling. It was all because I tried to do a flip on the floor of the 8th  grade room, right above the principal’s office, and landed like a ton of bricks.

No one including Mr. Pickner, ever confronted me about the incident, but now I’m convinced he has known all along. There is no other possible explanation for what has befallen me, since I fell from my flip, and landed flat on my back.

Lest you start thinking of me as an overly dramatic preteen, let me enlighten you. (Can you tell I’ve been reading the dictionary?)

At the beginning of each year, Mr. Pickner picks out one girl student and makes her sit at the front of the class. The students who are Pickner picks, are always, I mean always, brainiacs. Last year it was Cynthia Bork, and the previous year it was Jane Joy. Need I say more? They all go on to be valedictorian of their class, and without fail, are on the Dean’s list in College.

This is Cynthia, last year’s Pickner pick. She and I were best friends until she started high school, then she dropped me like a hot potato

I know what you’re thinking, and I’m not offended in the least. I do okay in school. I get A’s and B’s. My study time consists of whatever I can get done while I dry my hair in the mornings. I’ve become pretty good at surreptitiously reading the History chapter during class. I can even stay far enough ahead in case I get asked a question.

This isn’t me…this is my study time example


I participate in band and cheerleading, which currently are the only extracurricular activities offered to girls. I don’t think that is even a criteria for being one of the Pickner picks. There have been a few, less than brilliant cheerleaders. I will offer myself as an example.

Haven’t I been through enough? You have read in my papers about all the unfortunate ties my family has had with most of my teachers. I really thought I had it made this year. I was looking forward to a much needed  break from being compared to a relative or ratted on by a teacher-friend of Mom’s. Then there was the perceived threat of the teacher-sister of Billy’s girlfriend. Oh, and don’t forget Mrs. Lathrop, who said, ” Your Dad was brilliant in science, and you’re not!” Next year, I will encounter all the high school teachers who have glowing memories of an impressive family member who has gone before me. I can already read the expressions on their faces. They’ll be thinking, ” Why, Why, Why can’t she get it like her, Dad, cousin, uncle, even her brother?” (They won’t bring Mom up much.)

There are several girls in my class that are smarter than I am. Those who are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to excel scholastically. In fact, I’m trying to think of one I’m smarter than. I am not kidding, this just does not make sense.

This day started out so great. It was a sunny morning. The breeze was light enough that we could stand up straight instead of leaning into a forceful, take your breath away, wind. I wore the red jumper that Dad bought me when I was confirmed. Do you think that has something to do with it? Red does call attention to the wearer.

So, here I am sitting right smack in front of Mr. Pickner. When he motioned for me to take the dreaded desk up front, I looked behind me hoping it was the girl who sat there he was signaling to, but it was Don Edwards, and he was grinning from ear to ear. That kid never misses a thing. Mrs. Palander was totally undone by him last year. I really feel sorry for his sister Susan, who’s in 7th grade this year. She won’t have a chance trying to live down Don’s reputation.

Well, as Mom always says, We shall see what we shall see.


The lady gets after me when I complain all the way through my paper, so I’ll give you another update from a previous story. I talked to Billy about the time Mom and her friends took him to the Silver Spur in Ft. Pierre, where the cowboys drink their pop. He said they had to take the door off the bathroom he was in, because they couldn’t explain to him how to unlock it. He also said he thought the ladies were drinking the same kind of pop the cowboys were.

. Here’s Billy with his little cowboy shirt on.

I’ll bet Billy is scarred for life by that experience. He’ll probably never darken the door of a place like that again.


13 thoughts on “Murdo Girl…The pick is in a pickle

  1. countrygirl57 May 16, 2016 / 6:39 pm

    😊😊can’t wait for the rest of the story!!

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol Fairbanks May 16, 2016 / 7:05 pm

    You and I both started on a new path in the fall of 1966! I took over Mrs. Poppe’s kindergarten classes in the outbuilding on the playground that fall! In 1965-66, I taught the first 4 grades in Okaton. Mr. Haugland hired me for kindergarten in the spring of 1966.


    • Mary Francis McNinch May 16, 2016 / 7:12 pm

      There was no kindergarten class when I started school. Did Mrs. Poppe teach another class when you took over? I don’t remember.


      • Carol Fairbanks May 16, 2016 / 8:07 pm

        Yes, Mrs. Poppe taught the very first kindergarten classes in 1965-66 school year. The main school didn’t have room for it, hence a country school building was brought in and plopped on playground. Mrs. Poppe moved into main building and I think taught first grade, but not sure.


    • Mary Francis McNinch May 16, 2016 / 9:04 pm

      I just re-calculated. I started 8th grade in the fall of 65 and we moved to the new elementary building the 2nd half of the year.


      • Carol Fairbanks May 16, 2016 / 9:21 pm

        Okay, and I started teaching there in fall of ’66.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. lifelessons May 16, 2016 / 7:24 pm

    I remember Mr. P blowing hot and cold. One time for a pep rally, I wrote on the board: Speech: Pickner…He saw it and BLEW!!!!!! That’s MR. Pickner!!!!! he roared. Trembling, I went up and added the requisite Mister!!!!!!


  4. Valerie Halla May 16, 2016 / 10:18 pm

    Great stories once again. Weird that the only two years I went to school in Murdo and I,too, had Mrs. Pallander and Mr. Pickner. Portia Burns was the smartest probably in my class. Being in big schools and towns has its advantages! You know what I mean?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Francis McNinch May 16, 2016 / 10:21 pm

      So was Portia the one who had to sit up front? I’m trying to figure out how many years Mr. Pickner did that.


      • Cody Pickner May 16, 2017 / 8:43 am

        I asked my dad this. He said as far as he knew his dad did it every year.


      • Mary Francis McNinch May 16, 2017 / 9:23 am

        Is your Dad Jerry, Barry, or Scott? Your Grandpa was a little intimidating, but he was a good teacher.


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