This Might Be the Story of Turnbuckle Hookeye

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
When a new student enters Mrs. Bird's class, his name creates a sensation and a sensational response.

Submitted: November 11, 2016

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Submitted: November 11, 2016



This Might Be the Story of Turnbuckle Hookeye


The long empty desk in the front left corner of Mrs. Bird's third grade classroom was not empty this Monday morning. For two months, all the children in her class at Clearview Elementary in the small town of Crossroads had wondered if that seat would ever be taken. Today it had been. A new boy was sitting there, his hands lightly folded in front of him. 

When the bell rang, he did not turn his head to the back of the room as all the regular students in Mrs. Bird's class flew in like newspapers in a whirlwind. Each had a headline of his or her weekend. 

"I spent Saturday night at Dawn Davenport's! And we watched TV until three in the morning!" announced Virginia Knight.

"I went fishing at Redbluff Lake and fell out of the boat. When my dad pulled me back in, Mr. Hammersmith in the next boat over said I looked a little small and my dad better release me and try again next year," Troy Hill told his best friend Rod Blackburn who smiled wide even though yesterday he had lost his second front tooth.

"The Winterhawks lost by one point," lamented Frank Meadowlark. "I was at the game. They just blew it! They were ahead by ten and lost it at the last second."

"My mother took me to the mall in Highdale and I got my ears pierced!" said Eve Strong as she brushed back her hair for all to admire.

And most of the class might have gawked at Eve's slightly pink and sparkly ears, if Dean Carver hadn't shouted, "Look! There's a new kid!"

Every one of Mrs. Bird's twenty-seven students turned to look at the long-empty desk where there now sat a twenty-eighth student. Together, they stared at the new boy who sat with his hands folded lightly in front of him. They knew their gawking was not polite, but this was bigger news than staying up most of the night, or falling out of a boat, or putting small holes in your head. 

A new kid! In the town of Crossroads that was a rare event. 

Taking advantage of her class's unaccustomed silence, Mrs. Bird moved to the new student's desk. She placed one hand on the desk and one up in the air to refocus their stunned attention. 

"Good Monday morning, class," she said as cheerfully as if it were Friday. "Please be seated quickly, and then I can introduce our new student to you all." 

Her words cast just the right spell. All twenty-eight desks were quickly filled. Quietly too. The only noise came from Robin Post who had developed the sniffles after playing in three soccer games over the weekend.

Mrs. Bird seemed satisfied and she gently placed her hand on the new boy's shoulder. He rose from his desk and turned to face the rest of the class. Every girl and boy in Mrs. Bird's class got a good look at him. 


Some may have been disappointed that he did not seem shy or a little afraid of them. Some may have even thought he could have had the decency to tremble ever so slightly before their who-are-you? stares.

Some may have been disappointed that he did not sport a bright green mohawk or have shifty, mischievous eyes. His wavy brown hair and calm blue eyes seemed just a tad too ordinary.

Some may have been disappointed that he had no scars or any other defining marks that spoke of an exciting past. The outside world had to be more exciting, if not downright more dangerous, than their little town of Crossroads.

Some may have even been disappointed that the clothes he wore were not more exotic. He dressed like he shopped at the Highdale Mall just like they all did.

However, none of his twenty-seven classmates were disappointed when Mrs. Bird put both of her hands on the new boy's shoulders and said warmly, "Class, I'd like you to give a heartfelt Crossroads' welcome to Turnbuckle Hookeye."


Turnbuckle Hookeye

Of course their was polite clapping 

Turnbuckle Hookeye

and Mrs. Bird went on to say a few things 

Turnbuckle Hookeye

about how happy she was to have him here, 

Turnbuckle Hookeye

and how welcome the class would make him feel.

Turnbuckle Hookeye

But, no one was really paying Mrs. Bird the slightest attention.

Turnbuckle Hookeye


Was that his real name? Had they heard Mrs. Bird correctly? Was it April Fools Day? What was up here? You just couldn't waltz into Clearview Elementary and claim that you were Turnbuckle Hookeye, could you? Weren't there laws against that kind of thing?

A thousand such thoughts zipped like an immense meteor shower through the class, and kept them totally tongue-tied with their once-curious smiles frozen in place. It was a complete credit to their third-grade maturity that the entire class maintained their polite, though purely mechanical, applause until Mrs. Bird guided Turnbuckle Hookeye back to his seat and asked them all to take out their math books. 

Never had a routine multiplication lesson been so quietly attended to by Mrs. Bird's entire class. Every student, though looking busily at their times nines, was really trying to figure out what was behind this new kid's name. What was the real story of Turnbuckle Hookeye? 


Rusty Miller, whose desk was next to Mrs Bird's desk for good reason, got the first chance to test his theory about the new kid. Mrs. Bird sent him along with Turnbuckle Hookeye to go pick up the dictionary cart from the school library. 

As soon as they were out the door, Rusty Miller, impatient as always, blurted, "So, what's with your name? Is your dad a pirate or something?"

Turnbuckle Hookeye did not break stride. He gave Rusty Miller a squinty wink and a very formal salute. "Aye, I reckin' you could think that thar way, matie," he slyly drawled.

Rusty Miller was uncharacteristically quiet the rest of the way to the library and back.


Violet King had the next opportunity. Mrs. Bird asked her to take Turnbuckle Hookeye to pick up some CDs from the music room. Violet King waited until they were on their way back to ask, "Is your mom some artist, like a musician or actress or writer or something like that?"

With a flourish of his hands and a dramatic twinkle in his eyes, Turnbuckle Hookeye softly replied, "Perchance, 'tis so, fair damsel."

Violet King let Turnbuckle Hookeye open the door for her.


Van Bondman did it the sneaky way and passed Turnbuckle Hookeye a folded note. It read: I'm betting your dad was with the C.I.A. or another spy agency. Did your family have to be relocated for national security?

Turnbuckle Hookeye returned the folded note with this reply on the back: The condor has landed three days before the jackal. Please eat this note before it falls into the wrong hands. Yours, 003.5  PS The salt helps the note go down more easily. 

Van Bondman carefully crinkled the note up, but he still noticed grains of salt all over his desk. 


At lunch recess, Dean Carver seized his chance. While the rest of the third graders huddled around Rusty Miller, Violet King and Van Bondman by the swings, he climbed to the top of the monkey bars where Turnbuckle Hookeye sat alone trying to look beyond towards the tall groves of trees that bordered Clearview Elementary.

Dean Carver hung upside-down from his knees and casually said, "So, I'm thinking your dad must be some safari guide in Africa. Am I right?"

Turnbuckle Hookeye swung down around on his knees to face him, as he answered in a very mysterious voice, "As the hyena laughs at the monkey, so must the elephant fear the mouse!" 

Dean Carver almost fell three times as he clambered down to join Rusty Miller, Violet King, Van Bondman and the other third graders.


Angel Carpenter asked the big question on her mind when Mrs. Bird had her take Turnbuckle Hookeye to the computer lab after lunch to get his internet account set up. As the computer lab teacher looked through some files, Angel Carpenter whispered, "Is it true that your parents are some famous scientists, or like eccentric inventors?

Turnbuckle Hookeye raised his clenched hands over his head and shouted, "Eureka! Your hypothesis is well within the probable margin of error." 

Angel Carpenter, with a wary eye, let Turnbuckle Hookeye lead the way back to class.


At the beginning of P.E., Sterling Hall strode right up to Turnbuckle Hookeye and just flat out asked, "Was your daddy a pro ball player?"

Turnbuckle Hookeye took the ball Sterling Hall was holding from his hands, turned it over and gave it back to him saying, "Who holds the record for the most records never recorded?" Turnbuckle Hookeye then did a perfect somersault and added, "In a single season?"

Sterling Hall dropped the ball, and Turnbuckle Hookeye did another flawless somersault.


Coming back from P.E., May English sidled up to Turnbuckle Hookeye and asked, "Your mom has to be one of those fancy fashion designers, right?"

Turnbuckle Hookeye slowed to a decided strut and replied, "Darling, how good of you to ask. We simply must do something about these jeans you are wearing! They just shout third-grade. So, provincial." 

May English stopped in her tracks while Turnbuckle Hookeye strutted on ahead. She was taking a good long look at her blue jeans.


Misty Chambers was paired up with Turnbuckle Hookeye during science as they dissected owl pellets. "I think I read about your mom one time. Isn't she some amazing doctor or surgeon or nurse or something?"

Turnbuckle Hookeye looked up from his work and gave her a kindly smile, "I think you could safely operate under those assumptions. Check back with me in two weeks and drink plenty of fluids."

Turnbuckle Hookeye went back to his work. Misty Chambers pretended to go back to hers.


At five minutes to the final bell, Mrs. Bird was thanking the class for a smooth and productive day. "And," she finished, "I just want to say how proud I am that you all helped Turnbuckle Hookeye settle into our class here at Clearview. I'm sure we'll all have much to learn from one another."

The bell rang, and twenty-seven students rushed out, though much more quietly than usual. They gathered out by the swings and waited for Turnbuckle Hookeye to come out. He did. He saw them gathered and smiled. 

"Thanks for taking an interest in me today," Turnbuckle Hookeye told them. 

All the third-graders shuffled awkwardly. Hope Livingstone took a deep breath and asked, "Turnbuckle Hookeye, how did you really get your name?"

Turnbuckle Hookeye went over and sat on one of the swings. "The same way you all got yours," he replied.

They waited and they waited a bit more. Turnbuckle Hookeye just sat in his swing.

"What do you mean? I've never heard a name like yours before," said Pepper Longfellow.

Both Turnbuckle Hookeye's eyebrows arched high in surprise. "Really? Wow! That's interesting. I always thought folks were the same that way." 

He twisted the swing in a very slow circle before he continued. "My name was given to me by my parents. It was a gift. Their first and most wonderful gift to me. It's who I am."


On the entire playground, only the sound of the chains creaking on his swing could be heard until Holly Temple pleaded, "Won't you please tell us about yourself? We want to know how you became Turnbuckle Hookeye."

Turnbuckle Hookeye got up out of the swing and faced their confused looks. "Well, you all seemed to already know," he said and smiled warmly, "but, since you're all waiting and have asked so nicely, I'll tell you my little story."

They gathered close around. They didn't ask any questions. They all listened.

All twenty-eight third graders in Mrs. Bird's class at Clearview Elementary in the town of Crossroads left the schoolyard that Monday afternoon knowing that what they had heard might indeed have been the story of Turnbuckle Hookeye. 

And they all agreed that it was quite a gift.



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