In grade six, our class had the opportunity to live up north in nature together for a week. I didn’t know exactly what that would look like, but I was excited and eager because I loved discovering new things. This would be my first time away from home overnight.
Mr. Vernon, our teacher, gave us quite the lectures about our grand trip in preparation. He was normally an amazing teacher, so I believed every word he said. Mr. Vernon gave me quite the scare, illustrating all the things that could go wrong. I knew I had to be diligent and safe on this trip.
In particular, Mr. Vernon shared that many students may lose clothing items or have them be stolen. He suggested that we write our names on all the garments we would be bringing so that we could easily identify their true owner if they were to be found.
That evening at home, I went through all my clothing items, and started to write my name on each and every item. Across the top of one of my shirts, I wrote “Danish” with a black marker. Naturally, I wrote it large enough and thick enough so that I could easily see it.
I did this with many other clothing items, before one of my sisters saw what I was doing. “What are you doing?” she questioned with horror, “You are ruining all your clothes!”
With confidence, I said, “My teacher told me I needed to write my name on all my clothes for my big trip with the school.”
She didn’t believe me. “Why would he do that?” she wondered. I was confused too. Then my sister suggested that maybe my teacher meant I was to write my name in small print on one of the tags of my clothes—not right across the front in huge letters!
I felt so stupid and embarrassed. Of course, what was I thinking? Many of my clothes were ruined. Because my family was poor, I didn’t get any new clothes. Instead, I had to wear those same shirts and pants up north that had my name written in huge letters across the top. It was not fun, explaining to people why I wrote my name across my shirts and pants.
During lunch on one of the days up north with my class, I recall making some comments with a group of fellow students at the table. I still can specifically hear one of the students saying to me, “Well, at least I don’t have my name written half way across my shirt!”
Mr. Vernon and I didn’t talk about any of this directly. I wonder what his thoughts were on the whole situation…