A mathematician named Harry McFee Always thought so little of me. He was my teacher in about second grade, He wore khaki pants, and a jacket of suede. Almost every morning, he’d criticize me, Oh, how I hated that Harry McFee.
Harry was bald and lived all alone In a house on Main Street, made out of stone. Harry wore glasses on his chubby head, Square bifocals with rims colored red.
He accused me of cheating on all of my tests And sent me to a place they called I.S.S. In School Suspension, it often was said Was where they kept bad kids, until they were dead.
My heart pounded swiftly as I walked down the hall, As McFee said nothing, not one thing at all. He stopped at a door, and said to go in. He left me there standing. What a mess I was in.
I twisted the knob, and then I thought twice. I could run for my life, upon the thin ice. Running I did, down that brick corridor I ran for an hour, and then ran some more.
I cursed at that teacher, old Harry McFee He always was making a joke out of me. I ran from the school, a master retreat And found myself running along Main Street.
The house made of stone, stood on the street I ran on, toward it, with dirty bare feet. I decided to get him, for what he had done. This war with McFee had only begun. I took out a pin from my once braided hair And picked his old lock, upon the stone stair.
I entered his house and crept through the rooms Only to find the animal balloons. I found a red nose, and huge clubby shoes Things that a math-man never could use.
Why, I wondered, did Harry McFee, Have a houseful of things so wondrous to me? White gloves and whistles upon the side-stand Rainbow hair pieces and bags full of sand Could Harry McFee, so chalk-full of spite Be a teacher by day and a jokester by night?
Twas then that I heard footsteps at the door I shuffled myself, upon the wood floor. I squatted behind his old dusty chair, And saw the man enter, as proud as a bear.
As he sat down, my horrors confirmed All the scandalous secrets I’d only just learned. He picked up the shoes, and entered his feet And said “BOYS AND GIRLS, I NOW HAVE A TREAT! I’ll MAKE YOU A WALRUS, A GIRAFFE OR A POODLE FOR I AM A CLOWN WITH A VERY SMART NOODLE!”
It was all I could do, not to burst out in laughter. Because if he heard me, I’d pay ever after. He twisted the balloon, then what did I see? Tears falling from the face of old Harry McFee.
He sat there and cried, ten minutes or more. Should I say something, or sit on the floor? “I know you’re there child, go on, tell your friends. What a fool, what a dope, the math-man has been.” My blood ran blue as the words left his mouth, I’d sat there so quiet, but still he found out. I rose from behind the dusty futon, Harry sat there, with the clubby shoes on.
I said “Please, sir. Are you talking to me?” Why did I ask, who else would it be? “Missy I know you think I mean A mathematician I should never have been. All that I wanted was to smile like a clown, But I’d get no respect from the folks in the town. And so, I have failed, to make my dreams true, That’s why, little girl, I’m so bitter towards you.”
“My teacher, you know, you’re never too late, Go be a joker, if it is your fate, If making balloons is what makes you smile, Juggle those balls, on old circus mile. Wear your big shoes, and tell your big jokes, Keep free from your mind, those other old folks Be the happiest man, in this little town, No one enjoys the tears of a clown.”
I opened the door, and I left Harry there, Sobbing so softly, in his dusty old chair. The next day at school, McFee came up missing. He’d never missed class, and the whole room was hissing. “Perhaps he got lost on his way into school, Perhaps he was punished for being so cruel, Perhaps he is ill with hay fever and such or perhaps he is sick from eating too much.”
Then through the door, smiling so wide, Was a man with balloons and a heart full of pride. His rainbow hair piece bounced on his head, As did his glasses with rims colored red. He put down his things and straightened his suede And showed us all of the things he had made.
He said “Listen children; I’ve learned something new, From someone who sits in this classroom with you, She helped me to see, its never too late, to follow your dreams and to change your fate It’s never too late, for any of you. No matter what children, make your dreams true.”
Just like that, Old Harry McFee seemed like a different person to me. I think of him now, though years have gone by. I think of the things I've decided to try, and I remember his story when I don't know what to do and decide, like he said, to make my dreams true.