| School Daze |

School Daze: Third Grade

“Atara Tratner. I’m surprised at you. I’m sure your mother isn’t going to be happy to hear about this”


As told to Perel Stone

Thursday, February 11

Vori slipped a tube of toothpaste from her knapsack into her pocket and invited me to join her at recess. I couldn’t imagine what we’d do with the toothpaste, but I knew it wouldn’t be good.

The teachers who don’t have recess duty usually go to the teachers’ room, so most of the classrooms were empty. I followed Vori down the hallway. Walking very quietly, she squeezed a line of toothpaste on the handle of every classroom door.

After the bell rang at the end of recess, we heard shrieks coming from up and down the hallway. Vori gave me a big smile, but I didn’t smile back. My stomach was hurting.


Tuesday, February 16

I stayed away from Vori for a few days after the toothpaste incident, but no one else asked me to play with them during recess. I tried to read a book, but I felt so sad and lonely. I couldn’t pay attention and kept reading the same line over and over again. Then Vori came to me and said, “Atara, let’s have some fun. Class was so boring today.”

“No, thanks. I want to read my book,” I told Vori, showing her the book in my lap.

Vori started laughing. “You haven’t turned the page even once. You’re not reading anything. You’re lucky I’m inviting you to come with me. Every single time girls decide not to join me they regret it — big time. If you don’t come, you’re going to MISS OUT! You’re going to wish you’d had fun with me instead of reading your boring book.”

“But we’re going to get into so much trouble!” I pleaded. I had no idea what Vori had in mind, but all of her ideas were things we could get into trouble for.

“We’re not going to get in trouble! I know how to get away with everything!” She smiled at me. “Nothing happened after the toothpaste last week, right?”

I had to admit she was right. I got up and reluctantly followed her to the hallway where the resource rooms were and teachers were tutoring girls one on one.

Vori knocked on a door very loudly, then grabbed my arm and we ran down the hallway and hid.

She grabbed the door next to us, opened it, and shouted, “Mickey Mouse!” Then we ran away again. All through recess I followed Vori as she opened doors, shouted something silly, and ran away.

But Vori ran faster than I did. And when one of the teachers chased after us and caught me, Vori was long gone.

“Atara Tratner. I’m surprised at you. I’m sure your mother isn’t going to be happy to hear about this,” the teacher said before she went back into her classroom.

I was shaking so badly; I could barely walk back to my own classroom.  I’m so stupid! Why did I go with Vori? My parents warned me not to play with her. What are they going to do to me when they find out?


Monday, May 24

Vori invited me to come play at her house after school today. It’s been a really long time since we played together. The teacher told both of our mothers we shouldn’t play together.

“My parents aren’t home. No one will know you’re at my house. You can tell your mother you’re staying late in school to do homework,” she said.

I was embarrassed to tell Vori that I didn’t want to disobey my parents. Also, it’s been a really long time since anyone invited me over and I don’t have any other friends.

When the doorbell rang, I was shocked to see my mother standing there.

Vori’s parents weren’t home, but her older sister had called my mother and tattled that I was there.



(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 916)

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