Flash! Friday # 52

** 3 Days Until the Flashversary!! Festivities will run Dec 2 -6: SHOCKING! FIVE WHOLE DAYS to write & submit your stories for prizes and worldwide (minor) celebrity. Set your clocks NOW. If you’re like me and tend to forget things, set your clocks yesterday.

WELCOME TO FLASH! FRIDAY!  Anniversaries tend to make one all nostalgic and backward-looking. With the rip-roarin’ Flashversary around the corner, I’m most definitely looking forward and not that other direction. Still, there’s something to be said for fuzzy lenses and (especially in this week of the American Thanksgiving holiday) gratitude for one’s blessings. Which–go with me on this one–reminds me of how much I’ve learned this past year. Which–see? here’s the connection–makes one think of school. Of course, today’s prompt isn’t your everyday school room…

(Find the instructive contest rules here.)

This week’s personalized educational experience is headmastered by outgoing SVW judge and Arthurian legend-obsessed Jaz Draper, who will liberally award gold stars to writers offering well-rounded characters and crisp dialogue. Be sure to check out her judge page to learn how to escape having your name written on the board.

And now:

Word limit: 100 word story (5- word leeway) based on the photo prompt. 

* How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (95 – 105 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. 

* Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post SUNDAY. (Reminder! The Flashversary goes live at 7:30am Monday.)

Prize: An informational e-dragon e-badge, a scholarly and illuminating winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview feature in detention next Wednesday, and YOUR NAME blasted in high-pitched musical tones in the morning announcements of schools around the world. NOTE: No more Flash Points until Year 2. 

* Follow @FlashFridayFic on Twitter for up-to-date news/announcements/tips on rolling the best kinds of spitballs.  And now for your prompt:

Miss Robertson's School Room (1913). Public Domain photo. National Archives Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Miss Robertson’s School Room (1913). Public Domain photo. National Archives Bureau of Indian Affairs.

119 thoughts on “Flash! Friday # 52

  1. Cheese
    105 words

    He’s in here, the one that starts the great war. I’d studied the history, meticulously traced it all back to this single room, but I wasn’t prepared for this. He’s a kid, no older than my son. I thought I could justify killing one innocent to save millions, but now I’m not so sure.

    There’s no going back, the hole has closed, so it’s this or four years of war. They won’t understand, they will think I am a monster, who would believe the truth? It’s the price I have to pay. I line up the camera and reach for the trigger. Please forgive me.


  2. Missing

    ‘Can you guess which one is my Grandma?’
    I peer at the faces, searching for familiarity.
    Pops’ creased finger points her out. Reading fervently in the front row. I should have known.
    ‘And Grandpa’s there, looking right at you.’
    I draw forward and stare into his eyes. ‘He looks a bit….lost.’
    ‘He was.’
    ‘Wasn’t he a twin?’ I fruitlessly search for his likeness.
    ‘There, by the camera…’
    I frown, ‘Where? The empty desk?’
    Pops nods. ‘That’s where she sat. Lucy. She and my grandma were great friends. Grandpa always said she should have been there. He didn’t just mean in the photo.’

    Sarah Miles
    103 words


  3. Dissapointment
    Ian Martyn @IBMartyn
    104 words

    Be a student they said. I imagined life as a free intellectual spirit. You know, wine, women and parties. Not Cruella Deville at the back there cracking the whip. The girl next to me is quite cute though.

    ‘Eyes on your book, Tompkins.’

    Hell you can’t even look. She smiled at me. Did she smile? or was it a snigger? Hang on, hang on, what’s this, she’s passing me a note whilst Mrs C isn’t looking. What is it?, some gin fuelled, bohemian evening with lascivious dancing. ‘How about tea on the lawn later?’. Oh lor! Still I suppose you’ve got to start somewhere.


  4. Erin McCabe
    105 words


    I wanted to strip off my clothes and run into the distance, travelling deep into the unknown, gloriously naked.
    “Stop fidgeting!” My Sister scolded, as I fought with my pinafore; stiff and unmanageable, it was more akin to a tipi than a dress.
    “Cultural Assimilation” they called it, but in truth it was cultural assassination and schooling was a key weapon in their arsenal, aimed squarely at me on a daily basis.
    If all “Americanisation” could offer, was dusty rooms, starchy frocks and endlessly dull words about dead white presidents, it was little wonder I daydreamed about running bare-skinned under the warmth of the sun.


  5. The Practical
    by A J Walker

    After an hour Miss Robertson’s class were getting fidgety.

    Tina tentatively raised her hand. ‘Excuse me, Miss Robertson?’

    The teacher, leaning on a drinks table, looked across to her. ‘Yes, Tina?’

    ‘Miss, this is down as a Practical, yet we’re reading this book – again. Is it not time we moved on?’

    Miss Robertson – almost – smiled.

    Behind Tina, Tom slumped to his desk.

    Sylvia slid off her chair.

    David’s eyes bled.

    ‘Class, what Chapter did I ask you to read?’

    Bob swore, then muttered, ‘Chapter 5 – Identification and Treatment of Poisons.’ He threw up.

    Unfortunately there were no graduates from Robertson’s School for Spies in 1913.

    105 words @zevonesque


  6. The Educators

    ‘History is History. Hard facts! Not even you can change that!’
    ‘Hard facts don’t change, that’s true. But, I do believe, History depends on the side you’re taught it from, Headmaster.’
    ‘You will keep to this school’s curriculum, or you will be asked to leave, Miss Jones.’
    ‘This school’s agenda, you mean!’
    ‘Now, listen, this school has its students’ best interests at heart. And so should you, yet one of your students is absent from class this morning, in the hands of the police! Happy now?’
    ‘I’m not in the least happy, Headmaster. But you cannot offer people education and expect them not to think!’

    105 words


  7. Empty Chair

    It’s strange how memory works. Even after a hundred years. The things I’ve forgotten. And the things I can’t.

    I remember that afternoon in the photograph. The quiet light spilling in through the windows. I remember pretending to read, the exact same book Miss Robertson had us read everyday. I can’t remember the title. Or what it was all about. I was always peeping at you.

    But you weren’t there.
    You weren’t there that afternoon.
    When the camera flashed white.
    I feared:

    I might forget your face someday.

    Yet, it’s strange how memory works. It’s strange. I can’t stop seeing you in that empty chair.

    (105 words)


  8. Proud Moment in History
    100 Words

    “Mr. President?”
    He didn’t respond, just rubbed his thumb on an old, mottled classroom photo.
    “Mr. President? It’s time, sir.”
    He looked up, nodded. “My great-great-grandmother,” he said, pointing out her face. “I wonder what she’d say.”
    “She’d be proud, sir. The first Native American to sit in that chair.”
    “Proud.” That wasn’t the word in his mind. He looked at the class, and shook his head at the irony. That very school sat on the land he was about to revoke.
    He set the photo in a drawer, face down, and slammed it shut. “Let’s go sign that bill.”


    • A touching piece!

      If it makes you feel any better the school was closed in 1980 – 6 tribes maintain mineral rights to the land. It was an addiction treatment center for a while, but after the federal funding stopped it went away. From what I read the land hasn’t been used since.


      • I stand corrected: (according to Wikipedia): Between 1989 and 2001, the property was leased to Narcanon, which operated a substance abuse rehabilitation center at the site. In 2011, Chilocco was closed to the public and used as a training and practice facility for federal law enforcement personnel.


  9. Photographic Memories

    “That’s her.”

    “Which one?” I asked.

    A crooked, wizened finger moved across the photograph and stopped deliberately on a smiling, fresh-faced girl.

    Both eyes twinkled when he spoke. “Second row, third desk.”

    Grandpa’s memory had faded considerably in the months after the funeral, except when he talked about Grandma. “Even in a crowded room she stood out…”

    His voice faded into silence.

    He looked at me with moist eyes, and in that moment I was certain that time never heals all wounds.

    “She loved you very much,” I whispered.

    Grandpa didn’t hear me. His mind was decades away from here.

    100 words


  10. Strands
    104 words

    It must be tamed, though achieving this may hurt. And it cannot cling, nor weave itself into tangles.

    This, of course, I knew. My mother would slide a comb through my hair each morning, and say that it flowed like a swift-footed river, while we watched the sun rise and spill light onto the plain.

    But now, I have learned. To part it, to twist it like rope, and have it sit, angelically, in perfectly divided shapes on my head.

    We are to be captured! A moment made still; a river, frozen.

    I wait, in my place.

    I hope the picture will be beautiful.



    Mary fumed silently. She loathed Miss Robertson’s School Room! She was going to teach her parents, her priciple, and most of all her doctor a real lesson when she got home! Just imagine their nerve! Saying she was addicted and sending her to this special school. The clothes were horrible! The girls had to wear floor-length dresses with high necks and long sleeves, and put their hair up in buns. There wasn’t a single electronic gadget in sight, they hadn’t been invented yet! She glared around the room set in 1913. The Regulator in her skull pulsed its disapproval at her. She hated Time Travel!
    104 words @EmilyKarn1


  12. Sultry eyes


    Right, here we go.

    Everybody in position, check.

    New bulb fitted properly in flash rig, check.

    Adjust focus…dear God. That girl, she’s looking right at me.

    Focus. She’s not looking at you; she’s looking at the camera. She’s just looking at the camera.

    No she isn’t. She’s been looking at me all afternoon, and now she’s fluttering her eyelids at me slowly, showing her ankles like a wanton slut…

    Damned hot in here; can hardly breathe. Can’t focus, all I see is that girl’s eyes; that smile…

    Oh God; now Mrs Robertson’s giving me the evil eye!

    What if she knows?


    101 words


  13. The Gifted.

    Miranda! I have no opinion about what dress you will wear to Tommy’s party, and nor should you at this time.

    Tommy grinned over at his blushing admirer.

    Now, Class, with your gift comes great responsibility. You are no longer a Performer of Parlour tricks. You are The Elite. You must behave like The Elite.
    You have read that same sentence four times, Simon. Time to fully concentrate, please.
    And temper that thought, Marianne!

    Marianne shifted uncomfortably at her desk.

    Rachel, put Michael back in his chair this instant!

    “Geography books!” said Miss Clarke opening her mouth for the first time that morning.

    103 words


  14. WANDERER By T. J. Blake

    Pushing my way through the crack in the window, I escape the direct burning rays of the sun, and the gawping beaks of soaring birds.

    Clambering across the dust and dead flies on the ledge, I rest myself against the window frame.
    I look into the building I’ve entered, and see humans. They all sit on separate chairs facing the front, looking down to their desks.

    I shoot my web onto the ceiling and then lower myself down onto the floor. As I walk across the floor, dodging the bails of rolling dust, I climb up onto the chair to find another spider, like me.

    105 words


  15. Warning: this is not my usual type of story. There is no twist, and only a bitter humor. This is something that has always bothered me, and all I can think about is the reality of the picture, and the fact that I cannot gloss over it.

    I know It wasn’t all bad, during the depression it kept children clothed, fed and educated… but there are some things… I just can’t ignore.

    Lessons in Irony

    They tell us that our country is based on freedom and equality: that anyone can be whatever they want to be.

    They lock our children in schools where they are taught these things. They teach ‘higher learning’ but focus on menial labor calling it ‘vocational training’ because that is all they think we are good for.

    They tell us we are superstitious and hold nature in too high a regard then preach the virtues of Thoreau and make us worship in their churches.

    Our children are beaten if they speak our language and they are held prisoner to make them ‘free’.

    The definition of irony.

    105 words


  16. Rinse, Wash, Repeat.
    (105 words)

    11:57: The first time they’d run for the doors, screaming as the flames licked at their heels, classmates trampled beneath their feet but their only thought was of escape.

    11:58: The day starts at seven sharp, that’s what the headmaster preached because there had to be order in chaos and they’d all pretended not to hear the desperation in his voice.

    11:59: Smoke was always the first thing that came, clogging the air until they could hardly breathe but no one moved because running didn’t help.

    12:00: The heat drenched their skin with sweat and tears but they just waited because tomorrow they’d start again.


  17. Wicked Little Things (Are Always The Prettiest Ones)
    (105 words)

    Sarah could barely concentrate as she stared at the clock on the wall. Today wasn’t a special occasion in the grand scheme of things but it would be special after she was finished. Her eyes flickered over her classmates, the cowards who sat back while she was taunted and bullied, all the people who’d shoved and belittled her…they’d get their comeuppance.

    The clock on the wall struck twelve and Sarah smiled as she felt the spell unravel, weighing down the air with her magic.

    For the cruelty that they’d heaped on her she’d make them all pay and her price for their sins was blood.


  18. Marked Absent
    105 words

    She had been so sure she could do it. Her empty desk, right in the front row, was a sad testament to just how wrong she had been.
    The star pupil had had that starlight flicked out, like a candle hissing softly between licked fingers.
    She had been so sure she could spit her chewing-gum furtively into the waste-paper basket under the desk next to hers. Now she stood forlornly at the back of the class, where she had been sent to Think About What She Had Done.
    Miss Robertson, meanwhile, was in the Ladies’ Room, trying to get chewing-gum off a blue gingham dress.


  19. Not in Class

    I watch him fold a hastily scrawled note, and tuck it inside the book he is pretending to read. I know it’s meant for me, and he’ll see to it the book finds its way into my hands.

    He’s watching me. I told him not to. Not in class, in front of the others.

    I look shyly across at him, and see him smiling. I flush as I realise he too is remembering yesterday.

    The bell rings marking the end of the lesson. He looks crestfallen as we’re brought back to our aching reality.

    “Leave your homework on my desk as you leave,” I say.

    105 words


  20. No Pictures!
    150 words

    That’s me, the one looking at the camera. When that flash bulb went off I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It caught me by surprise. I was so angry that day. I’d been safe for almost three hundred years, hiding in the shadows, letting no-one record my image, not even for humanity’s vainglorious ‘posterity’.

    I ran again after that picture was taken in case my father saw it and tracked me down. But where do you go when you’re the son of an extremely wrathful god who won’t forgive an imagined slight from three centuries ago? Well, that’d be telling, wouldn’t it?


  21. Graduating

    “You’re late.” Miss Robertson scolded.

    “Doesn’t matter, anymore,” I murmured. “C’mon. It’s time to go.”

    Abandoning their books, four students rose, faces composed.

    “Where do you think you’re going?”

    “It’s amazing what you can learn when you keep your eyes and ears open.” I looked pointedly at the others. “So, now we’re going home.” I exited before she could reply, transforming as my feet hit the earth.

    My pack followed with yips and growls of pleasure.

    I could smell the teacher’s fear, and smirked at the exclamations of awe and disappointment from the others as we headed for the hills.


  22. The Silent “P”
    105 words

    You want to know what I remember from childhood. I remember a reading class. It is like yesterday to me. We took turns reading back then.

    It was Patty’s turn. She read with confidence.
    “Joseph went home from the doctor with medicine for P..neumonia.”

    She had pronounced the silent “P”.

    I stifled my laugh because I was scared of the teacher. I had tears in my eyes and coughed. I thought I would always think this is the funniest thing I ever heard.
    So here I am on my deathbed 74 years later and what do I remember?

    I remember Patty said the silent “P”.


  23. “Haunted”
    104 words

    They say it’s haunted, but I won’t go in. I’m too old now anyway. There are offices inside the old school room where I used to sit, so close to Rosemary. She always smelled of lilacs.

    Everyone knows the ghost stories. Radios start playing. An umbrella went tumbling down the stairs. A soda can toppled over.

    The fire devoured all twenty-five of them. My desk was empty.

    When Rosemary told me about the baby, I promised I’d figure something out, but I ran.

    Sometimes my granddaughter walks me past the place, and I swear I smell lilacs.

    “I’m so sorry, Rosemary,” I whisper.


  24. The Watcher

    Caroline had watched them for a hundred years. She’d continue watching a thousand years more, pursuing vengeance, until such a time that she was finally able to do to them as they’d done to her.

    Crouched in a corner, Caroline cursed the demons, calling each one by name. Four students raised artificial human faces; soulless eyes turned from texts to gaze instead upon the specter-child.

    Plucked from her bed like a piece of ripe fruit, she’d been peeled and parted, her tender flesh consumed by an insatiable ill on a moonless, winter night.

    Her foul rage nourished them still.

    So they let her watch.

    105 words


  25. Rezzi
    95 Words
    The Smell of Smoke
    Robert stared pensively at the empty seat, the smell of smoke still lingering in the air. Hearing the shuffling of the teacher behind him, he quickly turned back to his book, pretending to read. Feeling panic clawing it’s way to the surface, he couldn’t even steady the book to read a single word.

    “Robert,” the teacher snapped breaking his silent desperation. “Perhaps you know the answer to question three.”

    The question was followed by the familiar sound of the shotgun racking in a new shell, and Robert knew his answer had not come quick enough.



    They were eager to learn but Mrs. Robertson did not come to class at eight.

    As the clock gobbled up the minutes, well past the hour, a sense that all was not well set in. Gripped by insecurity the pupils took solace in their textbooks. Reading kept them sane. Absorbing knowledge would quell the morbid hypotheses already forming in their minds.

    At the back of the class a shadowy figure waited patiently. He looked forward to the chaos that would inevitably erupt. The ghost of Mrs. Robertson, also present, had faith in her pupils however.

    She had prepared them well.

    They would not succumb.

    @dieterrogiers – 104 words


  27. The Adventures of H.G. Wells, Schoolteacher
    105 words

    “And here is your new class, Mr. Wells. Class, stand and greet your new teacher.”

    Dutifully, the young gentlemen and ladies rose and, in unison, said, “Good afternoon, sir.”

    Wells looked around the room uncertainly. Everything was in order, except ….

    “Which student is absent?”

    “No one,” the headmaster replied.

    “Then who normally sits there?” Wells asked, pointing to the rightmost desk in the front row.

    “Oh, that’s young Mr. Griffin. He’s a shy one. Let Mr. Wells know you’re here, Mr. Griffin.”

    The chair moved back and a voice said, “A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Wells.”

    “I think I’ll like it here,” Wells said.


  28. @HannahStreett1
    Losing Meaning – 103 Words

    All the other students answer Miss Robertson’s questions with long words and pretty sentences. But then she calls on me, and a sigh rolls over the room.

    Fingering the pages of my book, I squint at the first sentence. The letters jump around in their silly little jig, switching partners so often that I lose their meaning.

    Her shoulders sag when I mumble a made-up answer. Hands fly into the air, and she chooses Dorothy who has a thin face and smooth voice. And I wonder, with my thick fingers curling around my book, If I was beautiful, would I be smart, too?


  29. Secrets
    Margaret Locke (@Margaret_Locke)
    103 words

    Tyee watches me as I re-enter the classroom, shivering from the cold outside. He’s always watching me. He holds the book in his hands, those same hands that had held me the evening before, out in the barn. We’d prayed Daddy wouldn’t find us. He hadn’t; our friend Moki had whistled a warning, letting us make our escape. Moki smiles now, too, avoiding my eyes, pretending to read.

    Miss Robertson notices my lack of movement. “Is there something you need, Izusa?”

    My eyes lock with Tyee’s again, and a shy smile creeps across my face. “No, ma’am,” I reply. My heart is warm.


  30. @m_a_thompson
    The Lesson
    105 words

    I stand in the back of class looking at the students that haven’t received their eye yet. I open my eye; their thoughts overwhelm me. I close my eye. The back of my head itches.

    Humanity’s choice: develop telepathic communication or be classified as non-intelligent. I close my physical eyes and open my eye again. I focus on the woman in the front corner of the room. Sweat drips from my temples. The name of the textbook she is reading comes to me, “Theory of Intergalactic Travel.”

    A Visitor touches my elbow. A thought projects into my mind, “You are ready for the next lesson.”


  31. Another Trail of Tears

    Miss Roberts told us, “Be good Injuns for the photographer. Sit up straight and study your books. Show the Great White Father in the east how you can be white like him.”

    They have taken our buckskins and put us in white people’s clothes. They have cut the boys’ hair, so we look like white men. We speak and write the white man’s language, but we will never be white. The white man will never let us.

    “Heads down!” Miss Roberts instructed.

    We might suffer later, but some of us looked into the camera to say, “See what you have done to a proud people.”

    Maggie Duncan – outgoing judge @unspywriter
    105 words


  32. The Student
    105 words

    I was forcibly taken from the reservation and imprisoned in this school for American Indians.

    At first I fought.

    Then I ran away.

    I was captured. My fellow students were ordered to stand in two rows and beat me as I ran between them. I was thrown in jail.

    That’s when I decided to change.

    I’ve learned a trade.

    I’ve become a model student.

    I spend every free moment studying English, mathematics, the classics in books; the colloquialisms and politics of my persecutors in discarded newspapers.

    I’m learning the ways of the white man so I can successfully fight for the freedom of my people.


  33. Alison made her way to her assigned desk and sat down on the worn wooden seat. The room smelled of Murphy’s Oil Soap and books, and was silent except for the sounds of breathing and turning pages. She picked up the volume sitting on the desk in front of her – an unpublished novel by her favorite author, the one he had been writing when he had lost his battle with cancer. Running her fingers over the name and title on the spine, Alison thought back to what the man at the gate had said and smiled. “Any book you want, ma’am.”

    This was indeed Heaven.

    105 words


  34. Teacher watched from the back of the musty old room. I snickered. He had no idea that I’d left. My escape began as soon as I read the first word of the book he’d passed out.
    Think. I thought. My mind snapped into gear and whoosh! I traveled faster than the speed of light, zoomed past Saturn, and took a right for the Pleiades.
    Fear had me rest on the horns of Taurus. How do I get back? If thinking got me here, how do I unthink? As if in answer and with a big smile and a thumbs up, Teacher zipped toward me.

    104 Words


  35. We’d all grown up together. We’d gathered round tables in the same cafeteria. Played in the same yard, the boys at hoops while the girls learned to mend clothes at the sidelines. We slept in bunk beds, always together, in the same orphans’ manor. When the call came in for volunteers, we all went together. The men were trained in combat and given rifles. The women were trained in emergency field medicine and given first aid kits. Out of three dozen who’d left, nearly all of us had come home together.

    We saved a seat for one who did not.

    One Did Not
    Word Count: 100


  36. The Only Lesson Necessary
    105 words

    “You don’t have to like me, you just have to learn.”

    George’s eyes burned through his teacher. He looked fit to spit, but didn’t.

    Instead, he went home, sat on his porch and, for the first time in years, did his lessons. He worked until evening painted the sky puple, then he went inside. He lit his only lamp and then did them again.

    A decade later, George dedicated his first book, simply, “To Miss R.”

    Decades later, George’s biographer found the photograph labeled, simply, “Miss Robertson’s School Room (1913).”

    “What a teacher she must have been,” the biographer sighed. “He must have loved her.”


  37. Black Friday
    100 Words

    Mrs. Robertson moved West in 1910. After discovering even small towns had shops, she chose to teach on the reservation.

    The students didn’t know or care about her past. They had no way of knowing her compulsions or how she could accumulate so much debt.

    Then they opened the small trading post one fall.

    She ordered the children to be in class the day after Thanksgiving. The principle thought it odd, but he allowed it anyway. She started the class reading, and then quietly chained them in.

    She didn’t want the competition at the trading post. It was black Friday.

    Empty Chairs
    102 words
    @CharlesWShort (A second entry)

    The front left chair is empty, Joaquin’s place.

    Here it is an accepted part of life. There is nothing to do on the reservation. Men are not allowed to hunt; there are no jobs. Men without purpose; most drink.

    Joaquin always said he would not be like his abusive father, but this past weekend he had his first taste. He got drunk. When he sobered up, he found out he had beaten his younger sister.

    He killed himself.

    Mrs. Robertson is in the back of the room, hiding her tears.

    We are wondering how many more chairs will be empty by graduation.


  38. Leaving School Behind
    (105 words)

    Wine in the gymnasium was a welcome novelty to Bill. Familiar faces smiled more. When the principal (miraculously unchanged) requested everyone adjourn to a classroom, Bill drained his glass and grabbed another before following.

    Reunion attendees sat at their old desks. While teachers reminisced Bill became uneasy, suspecting if he opened his he’d find his notebooks inside. He looked to a window; though nighttime, he saw snowy trees and, later, smelled fresh-cut grass.

    He dodged deja vu by going outside. As he sat sipping, a woman exited the same door. He offered a cigarette.

    “I quit after graduation.”

    Bill said, “Me too,” and lit one.


  39. A New World
    Scott L Vannatter
    101 Words – @SVBookman
    The classroom was normal for that area and day. People were older and simply trying to get into the United States. The tasks were not insurmountable, but seemed so to some. The teachers were stern but not unfeeling. The one thing that could not be stopped was the immigrants’ desire. Everyone in the room had come over on a steamship and none had money for the passage back. This was an all or none deal. They had to pass. They had to receive their citizenship papers. They began again reciting the pledge and working hard to get the words entirely correct.


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