School Days of Old – Episode 2

I still don’t have much going on fit to blog about except I just got through reading Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. It was a waste of time. So I’m revisit my days back in school and tell about something that happened back in the day. Since this happened in early 1972, my memory is a little fuzzy on the details. Fear not though. I’m not going to let the facts stand in the way of a good story. See that’s part of the art of Southern story telling. You have to embellish a little.

As I mentioned it was early in 1972. I was in the sixth grade at the time and had the grand idea that I would start a special civic organization devoted to hating Donny Osmond. Why? I couldn’t stand him. That was reason enough. Thus the short lived Donny Osmond Haters Club was born.

Back in those days Donny was a polarizing figure. You either loved him or you hated him. There was no middle ground to stand on. A goodly number of girls counted themselves as Donny’s loyal fans. A goodly number, but not all. Quite a few girls found him to be repulsive. Thus it was easy enough to start the club and populate the membership rolls with avid Donny Osmond haters.

One classmate was a sympathizer but he found the concept of belonging to any sort of organization that existed to visit hate on another human being distasteful. Therefore he started his own version known as the Donny Osmond Dislikers Club. Same idea, just watered down and more goody-two-shoes. Needless to say his version failed to attract the widespread membership that my version did. Just something about if you are going to be a part of an organization dedicated to active loathing someone you don’t want to be in the watered down version.

Within days half of Lattimore Elementary School’s student population was a member. We even had officers. All went well and we were blissfully hating on Donny Osmond until some valuable club material fell into the hands of Mr. C.C. Padgett, our esteemed principal. Along with the membership list there also fell into his hands a sheet filled with anti-Donny Osmond propaganda. I’m sure most of it was very puerile. In fact my memory can only recall one of the points. It was: “Donny Osmond can’t even pee in a straight line.”

Now Mr. Padgett came into the lunch room and made a federal case out of it. He was very concerned about the list and some of the things that had been written against Donny Osmond. Mr. Padgett was not a fan, I’m sure. Growing up he seemed stern and harsh, but as I have aged I have come to the realization that he was merely an old school disciplinarian. He wanted order and he wanted what was best for the students. He was also a wonderful Christian man.

My name was at the top of the list owing to the fact that I had started the club. Later that day I found myself in Mr. Padgett’s office explaining myself. Of course I did not have a good explanation. I received a paddling and looking back it could have been worse, but my real punishment was to come later and linger for months.

Remember I said Mr. Padgett was a fine Christian man. Well he sang in our church choir as did my Dad. Both being tenors they normally sat beside one another in choir practice. Of course my parents were like many others during that time. The teacher and school authorities had their full support. Getting in trouble at school meant getting in trouble at home. I was never the type to confess my sins and get double.

Wednesday night choir practice rolled around and I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that Mr. Padgett would tell my Dad all the sordid details of the Donny Osmond Haters Club. Then Sunday morning church rolled around and I got that same sick feeling. This went on for months each time Wednesday night or Sunday morning rolled around. I just knew Mr. Padgett would spill the beans. How could he not?

But he never did. Bless his heart. I have always had respect for him for not getting me in more trouble. He died around 1988 or so and I finally was sure my secret had died with him. Of course I was in my 20s at the time he passed away and I was certain the statute of limitations had expired for that particular infraction. When I finally confessed to my parents after all those years, they merely laughed and said I had more than likely punished myself worse than they could have.

How do I feel about Donny Osmond now? Well my opinion has changed. I won’t say I am a fan and I certainly don’t agree with the false religion he embraces, but beyond that I admire the fact that he has been married to his wife for thirty years and has an unblemished reputation. That’s worthy of my respect!!!

I can think of several more school day misadventures so look for more episodes coming soon. Excelsior!!! as Stan Lee says.


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