One by one my classmates went to the front of the room. The boys mostly talked about wars and westerns. One of them had been to Yellowstone and described Old Faithful. The girls told us about learning to play the piano and their favorite movie stars. One of them had seen the Atlantic Ocean and talked about the thunder of its waves.
Finally, my time came. Already a history buff, I’d chosen to talk about the Liberty Bell that hung in the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia.
The boys knew me and my weakness because we’d all gone through grade school together. So as soon as I started talking, they crossed their eyes and tried on their most grotesque faces. I started giggling.
Then it happened: pee trickled down my legs. I tried holding them tightly together, but that only made the boys redouble their efforts.
More drips and dribbles.
I stood in a spreading puddle of pee.
I had to talk for three minutes to get a good grade, so I forged on with facts and dates.
The pee wet the tops of my anklets.
The puddle kept spreading. How much pee does a kid’s bladder hold? I asked myself.
Finally, I finished and raced down the aisle to my desk. Our teacher’s voice stopped me. “Dolores, there seems to be a puddle on the floor. Please get a rag and wipe it up.”
The boys guffawed; the girls tittered.
I got a rag from the closet, wiped up the puddle, trashed the sodden cloth, and sat down quietly at my desk. Behind me, a classmate who was sweet on me whispered, “I liked your speech best.”
Well, at least it was the most entertaining. A real show-and-tell.