Mrs. Stockdale was my first ever school teacher. I’d joined the school year quite late (after the Easter break), so I received a personal tour of the classroom. She introduced me to all the children, told me about nap time and showed me the rabbit hutch.
A Rabbit!!! I thought. I’d never seen a rabbit in the fur and asked to see it. She told me I couldn’t as she didn’t want to spook the bunny.
I understood, but I was disappointed. The problem was that front of the wooden hutch was solid, so I couldn’t see into it. The hutch was divided into two parts. A narrow pocket on the right hand side had a mesh cover and the dividing wall between the two halves of the hutch had an opening in it which allowed the rabbit to come move between both sides. I can’t tell you how long I spent staring at the narrow opening encouraging that rabbit to pop his head through the gap so I could see him and all to no avail.
Because the rabbit was the class pet, Mrs. Stockdale encouraged everyone in class to bring lettuce and things for the rabbit to eat each day. I, along with everyone else in class, brought a little something in every day and each morning, Mrs. Stockdale would open up the hutch and put the food in the small viewable area. But do you think that rabbit showed itself? Did it buggery. Not in the three or so months that I was in Mrs. Stockdale’s class did I ever see the damn rabbit at any time.
Needless to say, I left Mrs. Stockdale’s charge a broken child. I wanted to see the rabbit and I didn’t, but being a worldly child at the of age 5 and three months, I got over my disappointment and moved on.
However, it was only recently I got to thinking about that Garbo-esque rabbit and I came to a conclusion—there was no damn rabbit. That was an empty hutch. Son of a bitch!
To make matters worse, I think the rabbit thing was a ruse. I now believe we were bringing in salad fixings for Mrs. Stockdale. I do remember her saying, “Remember children, rabbits like more than just lettuce. They love celery, tomatoes, and they never say no to a hardboiled egg.”
Oh, how I wish I’d been on to you sooner, Mrs. Stockdale. Grr.