The Herdmans – Part 7
The Herdman’s had settled into the new routine, somewhat. Mom would drive them to school, and every week or two I would provide her with a signed form verifying their attendance. She would, in turn, submit this form to Family and Community Services and then be reimbursed for her mileage.
The boys were doing fairly well and Billy K was having fewer episodes but I could never fully relax knowing he was amongst us. It was like having a mini-San Andreas Fault. One never knew when it he was going to shift but you knew it WAS going to happen.
Looking back, I wish I had kept more details. With the popularity of reality television shows today this family would be entitled to its own series. I would want to be hired on as a consultant.
The boys attendance was fairly good. I suspect the incentive of being reimbursed for mileage helped. They would miss the occasional day but never two in a row.
Less than two months after they moved across the river they missed two days in a row. This stretched into three days; then four.
Could it be?
I don’t recall if we had a phone number for Mrs. Herdman. If we did we never got through. I checked with Family Services but they were not aware of any change in the family’s status.
And then a call came in. The voice on the other end was that of a principal in southern Ontario.
“A new family has arrived and I understand that you are the sending school.”
I sensed what was coming. I suppressed a giggle.
He continued. “It is the Herdman family.”
The next sound I made I had only heard once before. It was from the principal of the school who sent the family to us (ref. The Herdman’s Part 1 – posted October 14). It was a combination of a sigh of relief, a gasp and a giggle; after which he said, “I don’t like the sound of that.”
They were gone. Could it be? I suddenly felt younger.
The principal asked, “Is it true that Billy once choked you?”
“Who told you that?”
“He did. He said that he once choked you.”
“Well, not really. He actually grabbed my tie and pulled. He thought it was like a noose. He didn’t actually choke me.”
“What are we getting into?”
I gave him an overview. I described the programs we put in place and the accommodations we made. I said that we would sent him a copy of the students’ school records. I wished him luck.
Now this next part was very unprofessional of me but I don’t regret doing it; well, maybe a little. I walked into the staffroom in which three teachers and teaching assistants were spending their prep. period. Without saying a word I spread some newspaper on the coffee table. I stepped up on the table and started to dance.
I had their attention.
“This will make sense later”, I said. I knew the news of the Herdmans departure would travel quickly.
The family was gone.
But the story doesn’t end there.
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