During my senior year at Boston Latin, one of the required readings for English class was Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. My English teacher was named Ms. O’Malley, and she made the big mistake of mentioning an old tradition. “I used to take my students to Salem, Ma after we read the book.” She said. There was no way we were going to let that comment slide. We finished reading the book in December and pestered Ms. O’Malley, desperately attempting to convince her to agree to a Salem field trip. My friend Luis was also in the class, and we were the two strongest proponents of the trip. We did everything in our power to lay on the guilt. Our performance was Oscar worthy! Ms. O’Malley eventually gave in and agreed to bring the class to Salem. (She really had no choice. We brought up the trip every single day!) Plans were finalized in Late April and permission slips handed out. To be honest, we didn’t have any interest in going to Salem, we simply wanted a day off from school. The trip was scheduled for a Wednesday in May, but there was a problem. The weather forecast for Wednesday was high 80’s to low 90’s; the perfect day to go to the beach. Our group of friends decided to plan a skip day for the record setting date. There was a decision to be made, either we could go on the field trip, which we basically fought for, or we could skip school and go to the beach. It was a tough decision, but we couldn’t pass up the beach. (The trip to Hampton Beach in New Hampshire was fun, but the water was freezing!) There were a total of eight students from the English class, who chose the beach. We felt bad, but nothing could be done. The following day, an aggravated Ms. O’Malley walked into the classroom and said, “Salem was wonderful. How was the beach, boys?” She directed her comment to us. It was a selfish decision, but we were high school seniors. Ms. O’Malley understood our decision and the incident was forgiven. She was a really cool teacher. Not a word was said to the principle. BELIEVE IT OR NOT!
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