Morning for Sokroshera Chapter Thirteen

By Timothy Smith, 2020

Morning for Sokroshera Chapter 13

Tim’s novel of Russian America (Kodiak Island area)

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Monday, March 16, 1964: The school in the mess hall – A break from the very adult drama of the rest of this chapter to look at a student conflict, and the struggles of the teacher of a one-room school to keep a lid on things. Little Jake teases “Eagle” about his mom and her new boyfriend, and all hell breaks loose.

At recess, the kids went outside, even though it was heavy mist and gray clouds. If they stayed indoors every time it rained, none of them would ever have played outdoors in their lives, thought Judson on days like this. He and Sandy Ann stepped outside just in time to witness the utter dissolution of the “Holy Terrors.” Jake and Eagle were on the teeter-totter, April, Barbara and the twins circling like vultures for their turn. Jake was reciting some deadly poetry, “Jaaa – kub and An – Yah, sitting in a tree, K – I – S – S – I...”

At this point Eagle’s end of the teeter-totter had just hit the ground, and he abruptly rolled off the board, leaving Jake to land hard and roll backwards into a sizeable puddle. “Hey!” Jake was saying, but Eagle was on him in a flash, fiercely pounding young Jake’s face. Judson, Herman, and Sandy Ann pounced on the pair as quickly as they could. Judson pulled Eagle up and out by the armpits, writhing like an angry Dungeness crab (and aren’t they all?) while Herman had him by both wriggling feet. When he saw that Judson had things well in hand, he let go. Sandy Ann was sitting mostly in the puddle, cradling her brother. She was scowling in Eagle’s general direction. Jake Lindseth had buried himself in Sandy Ann’s arms and was sobbing. Jake was right; Eagle could take him after all. Meanwhile, Eagle was loudly calling Jake all the Alutiiq words for private body parts, and struggling unsuccessfully to break free of Judson’s grip. Unbidden, Barbara had gone to get Mr. Hansen. “William and Jake are mad. They are hitting,” she had calmly announced, and then led him, coatless, out into the mist and the mess.

Within seconds of Mr. Hansen’s arrival, Eagle had stopped struggling, and Jake had turtled his head out from under his sister’s jacket. Both had their eyeballs glued on the teacher. “Ward, please take your brother in and sit him at your table. Serafina, please take your brother to your table, and make sure he can’t see Eagle. Herman and Rinny, could you please go get both Jakob Pedersen and Anya Bazaroff and bring them here, please?” His redundant ‘please’ told Judson that his father was trying hard to keep the lid on his explosive class, and that he was very upset. Mr. Hansen always had trouble talking in the face of extreme emotions. (Skip ahead several paragraphs - the kids’ parents arrive)

Mr. Hansen looked at the students, the ‘terrors,’ and the adult visitors, and dispensed with any preliminaries. “When couples who already have children decide to get married, it affects everyone around them. It takes a little adjustment and understanding. And the way people act when they are young...” He turned and looked briefly at the elder Jake and Anya, who were holding hands but seriously listening, “ different than the way people act when they are grown up, and working on putting a family together.” He turned to young Jake; the two boys had moved so that they could now see each other, but neither one of them seemed to want to. Jake was staring at Mr. Hansen through puffy eyes and his very own fat lip.

When Mr. Hansen spoke, his voice was calm and direct. “Jake, your teasing Eagle didn’t really fit what’s happening now with your uncle and Anya, did it?” “No,” he said, and turned sobbing into his sister’s coat once again. “And Eagle, your mom is trying to do something very good now, isn’t she? She’s made some big changes in her life recently, right?” Eagle nodded, and turned to look at his mom, who just smiled at him. “I think Mr. Pedersen will be nice to your mom, don’t you?” Eagle nodded. Then he blurted out, “I was tired of all that sh—that stuff going on at my house—those men coming over—all dirty and nasty. The way Mr. Pedersen acts with my Mom is so nice and so... clean, and Jake just made it sound all nasty again. I... got mad.” Anya suddenly saw what damage she had been doing to her children, and looked like she was about to cry.



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