Harold Phillip Stemp

This is 6th grader Harold Phillip Stemp reporting from Mr. Murryhill’s class in Bellmore, NY.

Well, the final few days of school are here. Because it’s the end of the year, my teacher Mr. Murryhill has let us play games (some stupid math ones), play outside, or sign each other’s yearbooks and photos. Mr. Murryhill is grading papers most of the time, but he puts on his music in class by that old band called The Beatles. I guess some of it sounds okay.

Yesterday we had our school family picnic right after school on the playground. I was excited because my dad was coming over to be with me at the picnic. During the day though, I noticed that Mr. Murryhill was upset. He seemed to be talking with some of the other teachers a lot about something that was going on. I overheard what they said about some bad guy that was shooting at baseball players. I got real scared and hoped it wasn’t any of the NY Yankees.

It turns out that it wasn’t, not even the Mets either.  The shooter was some crazy person that had worked for some guy named Bernie Sanders.  I think I remember that name from the election. Dad would raise his voice when that Sanders guy was on the TV and call him a “looney socialist”.   I really don’t know what that means, but I don’t think it’s good. Anyway, I guess I’ll learn about what it is next year in Social Studies. I hope that Bernie Sanders guy isn’t going to be teaching the class, because that will really tick-off my dad.

So after a while, us kids who didn’t have much to do because of the end of the year and stuff, started asking Mr. Murryhill what was wrong. He said, “Children go back to your fun, for it seems that people are taking politics way too far today.”

I felt bad because I’ve never seen Mr. Murryhill look like that.

As I told you before, I don’t think my dad was a big fan of my teacher Mr. Murryhill, because I think Mr. Murryhill and my dad have different politics. Mr. Murryhill has that “Ready For Hillary” bumper sticker on his car and my dad groans every time he sees it. Still, my dad was always nice to Mr. Murryhill, and Mr. Murryhill always seemed to be nice to my dad.

We all went outside after school for the start of the picnic. It’s not a regular kind of picnic where you sit around and drink lemon aide and eat chicken on blankets and stuff, it’s pretty much just us kids running around bonkers, ignoring all the teachers and parents.

My dad showed up and he had a present in his hands. It was wrapped and I could tell that my dad did the wrapping because it looked really sloppy and the bow looked like one I had on my baseball mitt last Christmas. I thought it was an end of school gift for me, because I knew we had already chipped-in money for Mr. Murryhill’s class present.

My dad called me over and I stopped running around crazy and sat with my dad for a bit. We had a hot dog and then he asked me why Mr. Murryhill and the other teachers were so quiet. I told him that they had been looking pretty sad all day because of the shooting thing that happened. Dad said he understood and was sad about it too, but he also told me that I shouldn’t worry about it.

Well, at the end of the party I saw my dad go over to Mr. Murryhill. I got kinda nervous about it, but then dad handed Mr. Murryhill that gift. I guess it wasn’t for me after all, and I was a little bummed out because I like presents. Dad and my teacher were talking for a bit and then I saw Mr. Murryhill open the present. It seems my dad gave him something really cool. It was a 50th Anniversary disc of Sgt. Pepper, by those Beatle guys. Mr. Murryhill was really happy and thanked my dad over and over again. He patted him on the shoulder and shook his hand. I guess my dad knew he liked The Beatles.

As we were leaving the picnic, I asked my dad why he gave the extra present to Mr. Murryhill.  Dad said “I wanted to do something nice for the man that took good care of my best boy all year.”

You know, I wish the people that carry politics way too far could take a lesson from this. I know my dad and Mr. Murryhill don’t agree on stuff, but I think it’s cool to do nice things for people who are different than you, don’t you? Anyway, it was really nice to see them get along. Who knows? Maybe Mr. Murryhill will do a nice thing for my dad and scrape off that old “Ready For Hillary” bumper sticker real soon.