When my kids were young, I tried so hard to protect them from the bullies and the bad guys. I knew it was a matter of time before their minds would be infiltrated. I couldn’t be with them every minute. I could only hope that I had taught them right from wrong at home and that they would carry it with them.
I was always very protective of my children and tried extra hard to be completely sure of any influences in their lives. But I’m here to tell you, that no matter how much you try to make sure everything is kosher….it never is.
We never had anyone other than my parents or Minor’s parents keep Kate and John. If they were unable to keep them for some reason, then Minor and I stayed home. This arrangement truly worked for us and for the grandparents, as well. It relieved a lot of stress on me because I knew my parents would care for my children as well as they cared for me, if not better. And the same went for Minor’s parents. It was the perfect situation! ………or so I thought.
John was in 3rd grade and Kate was in 5th grade and rode the big yellow school bus to my parent’s house every afternoon. They stayed with Daddy until about 5:30 or 6:00pm, when I arrived to pick them up. Most days, they watched cartoons while Daddy dozed in his easy chair. They were old enough to fix themselves a snack, if they wanted it, and clean up after themselves, as well. Daddy had a golf cart that he sometimes rode them around the neighborhood on and they would all pile in with dog and take a ride. They loved being at Mimi and Pa’s house and couldn’t wait to go there each day.
One morning upon entering my office at the bank, my phone was already ringing. The bank had not even opened yet…..it would have to be someone who had my direct phone line. So I answered immediately and was taken completely by surprise when it was the elementary school principal at Kate and John’s school.
“Is this Mrs. Pryor?” he questioned.
“Yes, it is.”, I answered.
“I’m sorry to have to call you at work, but you are going to have to come to the school immediately. It seems that your son, John, was caught handing out pornography on the school bus this morning.”, he said.
*long silence* “……………………………….excuse me, what did you say?, I asked.
My brain could not compute the words I had just heard…… I felt the color leave my face….. I began to get nauseated….. I felt weak and had to sit down….. tears began to fill my eyes. There were several other people standing in my office and they witnessed an entire body change before them and became silent, except for a whisper among them, “It must be bad.”.
The principal repeated himself and although I was barely able to speak, with a quivering voice, I asked, “Are you sure? Are you sure it was MY son?”.
“Yes, maam. The bus driver saw him and reported it. She said he had a deck of cards with naked women on them….pornography. He was passing them around to the other kids on the bus.”, he answered.
“Where did he get them? Did he say where he got them?”, I asked.
“Yes, maam. He said they came from his grandparents house.”, he answered. “And you will need to come to the school immediately and pick them up. You may want to bring Mr. Pryor, as well." he said.
I hung the phone up slowly……… I looked up to see everyone in my office waiting around my desk to hear what had happened.
I paused for a moment and took a deep breath. I was in shock and my voice quivered as I told them I had to go….that John had been caught on the school bus with a deck of pornography cards and the principal said I had to come pick them up now. The men in the office tried not to laugh and the women were just glad it wasn’t their son.
I called Minor and told him the news and we met at home and drove to the school together. On the way over to the school, I called my Mama and told her what was going on. Her response was, “Oh, yeah…..those are the cards I bought for your Daddy when we were in Tennessee last month. Do you need me to explain that to the principal? I’ll come up there right now! I don’t even know where the cards were…..”
“No, Mama. I don’t need you to come to the school. Minor and I are handling it. Just, just, please keep that stuff hidden…..okay?”, I answered.
So Minor and I entered the school as though we had committed a crime, and we, along with my parents were now being investigated for distributing pornography to underage children.
We walked into the Principal’s office and as we sat down, he closed the door. He sat back down across the desk from us and told us the same story over again as we remained silent. He said he had already talked to John and needed to give the cards to us. He then slid the deck of cards that were now sealed inside an envelope, across the desk to Minor and said, “You might want to take these.”
We apologized and more or less confessed our sins as bad parents who obviously had bad parents, as well……..and left.
As we got to our car, I turned to Minor and said, “Give me that envelope……..I’m dying to see what the hell this is all about!”
I had imagined all sorts of things that could be on those cards. And to make matters worse, my sweet little 8 year old had seen it, too! His innocence would be gone forever……and at the mercy of my own parents!
As I opened the envelope and pulled out the cards, this is what I saw………
Yes! Girly cards……somewhat revealing, but this was not what I considered pornography! What rock had that Principal been under?
Now…..I am not by any means approving of my 8 year old showing girly cards around on the school bus, but let’s face it people, there is so much worse out there to pass around the school bus. I was so relieved that the cards weren’t hard core porn, that I had to laugh.
When John got home from school, Minor and I talked to him about the seriousness of what had happened.
This was his story in a time line.......and completely backed up by Kate.
• Kate found the cards under the sofa at Mimi and Pa’s house the day before.
• Just then, I arrived at Mimi and Pa’s to pick the kids up.
• Kate didn’t have her book bag with her, so she hurriedly stuffed the cards into John’s book bag and she would look at them when she got home. John was oblivious.
• Next morning on the school bus, John opened his book bag to get a pencil out and saw the cards.
• He pulled the cards out to see what they were and other kids saw them, as well.
• A girl on the seat behind them saw what was going on and she told the bus driver.
And that’s the story. One thing I know……..never say never.