Fictional story of a private school in rural America where the mysteries and forgotten oddities hover around the head mistress and her legacy.
Sitting in the main auditorium of Chaspin Day School Jennifer felt like she would was being swallowed up by a sea of plaid uniforms. The room was lit by enormous candelabras and the upper classmen filed in pairs down the middle aisle of the plaid sea and then split off half to the left and half to the right to gather on the stage where they looked like a collection of life sized dolls sitting in rows of gray metal chairs on the stage.
In the center off the stage a sturdy wooden podium waited for Head Master Clayton. Once the upper class was seated the doors in the back of the auditorium closed. Jennifer’s classmate Marcus turned his head to look back at the door and quickly realized he was the only one turned around. The room was silent and Marcus's movement immediately drew the attention of Dr. Clayton who would surely summon Marcus to the Head Master's office later in the day.
Jennifer could hear Dr. Clayton's footsteps approaching as he came up the center aisle. He carried a large white candle and paused to place it in the center of an ornate candelabra at the stairs leading up to the stage. As he placed the candle in the candelabra a stage light came on shining brighter and brighter as Dr. Clayton walked up onto the stage and took his place as head master at the podium.
He stood for a moment, gazing about the sea of plaid, ensuring that he held all attention. He placed both arms widely atop the podium allowing his formal academic attire to drape impressively. Dr. Clayton always conducted assemblies in full academic garb instilling respect for pomp and circumstance in the students of Chaspin.
"Welcome." His voice filled the silent void of the auditorium.
"Today, we have completed the first quarter of this fine school year and gather to honor and regard the achievements of Chaspin's upperclassmen."
Jennifer and her third grade classmates knew that someday they would be among those sitting on the stage. Most of them had sat this assembly several times before and knew the routine. Each upper class student would be asked to stand, their grades would be announced and they would receive their quarterly evaluation in front of everyone. The successes and the failures of their academic progress so far this year would be candidly announced and by participating in the assembly all students would benefit in developing discipline and an appreciation for the strengths and weaknesses of their peers.
Jennifer and her third grade classmates couldn't wait for recess.