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 The Boy With The Yellow Shirt

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scottn
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PostSubject: The Boy With The Yellow Shirt   Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:10 am





The Boy with the Yellow Shirt


"Hey Billy, what do you think happened to him?" Johnny screeched as he pointed his pudgy finger.
"Who?" Looking from side to side, Billy wondered who Johnny was talking about.
On the playground, boys and girls were everywhere. There was no telling who Johnny was talking about. And anyway, he was always finding some poor soul to pick on.
"Look over there. See him? The short kid at the corner, acting like he's lost. The boy with that bright yellow shirt."
"Oh, him," Billy replied. "I don't know who he is, but he's new at school. He lives on the same street as my cousin Molly. I've seen him sitting on his porch. I'm not sure what that yellow shirt is all about, but every time I see him, he's wearing it."
Johnny and Billy had just gotten off the school bus. Summer was over and it was the first day of school. Billy said goodbye to Johnny, grabbed his little brother Ethan, and climbed the brick stairs that led into the school.
"Come on, Ethan, let's get you to your class, and remember what Mom said."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. I am not allowed to walk alone," Ethan said, holding on for dear life.
After fighting through the crowded hallways, the brothers finally arrived at Ethan's classroom. When Billy turned to leave, the boy with the yellow shirt was right behind them. It seemed that he was also a student in Mr. Lawson's Second Grade class.
"Oh excuse me," the boy said in a quiet sort of a way. "Is this Mr. Lawson's class?"
"Yeah," Ethan said with a smile. He thought, "Maybe this boy and I could be friends."
Even though Ethan was only seven years old, he could tell that the boy with the yellow shirt was special and needed help finding his way.
Ethan and his new friend entered the room. Soon the boys were talking with their classmates, and Ethan introduced his new friend to everyone.
Although Ethan grew close to the boy as the year went on, most of the kids in the class were distant with him. The boy didn't spend all his time in the classroom; during the day he would often leave with a special teacher to another room. The boy also seemed to miss a lot of school.
One day Ethan and the boy with the yellow shirt were returning from the lunchroom when they both heard, "Hey guys, there's that kid I was telling you about. The one with the yellow shirt." It was Johnny and his fifth-grade buddies. They were snickering and pointing at the two second graders.
"Why are you guys pointing at us?" demanded Ethan. "Stop laughing."
"It's okay," Ethan's friend whispered. "Let's just hurry and get back to class."
As Ethan and the boy walked away, they could still hear the older kids laughing and making fun of the boy with the yellow shirt.
When the two entered their classroom, Mr. Lawson asked everyone to sit down. He said he had something special to tell them.
"Okay kids, listen up. Today we're going to decorate our room for this year's Christmas celebration. I do this with my class every year. It'll be great. Are you ready?"
"Yes! Yes!" said the kids in the class, buzzing with excitement.
Mr. Lawson explained he'd brought in strings of colored lights and other craft material to use for the project. He'd set up two large folding tables at the front of the room and lined them with the goodies he'd purchased.
"I want you to come up to the front of the room in single file and pick out two or three items that you want to start working with first," he said.
Everyone jumped up and quickly made their way to the front of the room. The boy with the yellow shirt, as usual, was a little slow getting up and was even knocked to the ground as one of the kids pushed passed him. Ethan, who'd seen what happened, quickly helped his friend up and they both were last in line to get their craft materials.
"What are you going to start with?" Ethan asked.
"I'm not sure," the boy said, "my vision is not so good and I can't really see the craft materials very well. Ethan, maybe you can pick my stuff out for me."
"Sure. I'll get you the same stuff I pick and we'll kinda be like twins."
"Twins?" the boy said. After a pause, he said, "Did you know I had a twin brother who died at birth?"
Ethan didn't respond but quietly started to pick stuff up for both of them. The boys were soon back at their desks, busily working away. The whole class seemed to be in the Christmas spirit. The room was full of happy children and a sense of real teamwork. Meanwhile, Mr. Lawson strung the lights up around the room. He used a small wooden step ladder to reach the high places.
Each day that week, the kids in Mr. Lawson's class worked on their decorations. On Friday, Mr. Lawson collected them and on Saturday, while the school was vacant, he decorated the room with the childrens' decorations.
When the kids came into school on Monday morning, they were all amazed at the sight of the room.
"Hey, there's my star," said one child.
"Yeah, and there's my snowman ornament up by the clock," another chimed in.
The boy with the yellow shirt sat quietly after Ethan helped him to his seat. He was the only one in the room not looking for his creations. Ethan remembered what he had said about his vision not being so good, so he told the boy that the decorations he'd made were hanging right above the door.
"Hey," Ethan said to the boy, "I think yours is in the best spot!"
"Why's that?" the boy asked.
"Because everyone can see it as they leave the room. The star you made will never be missed."
Soon everyone was sitting down. The room was full of excitement. Everyone was talking and laughing. Mr. Lawson said, "Class…class…quiet down, please." And, after the kids were quiet, he announced, "I'm going to close the shades, shut the door, and turn out the lights. I want everyone to sit still and be quiet."
Each child did as Mr. Lawson had instructed. An occasional whisper could be heard but the room was mostly quiet. As the room got darker, it got even quieter. When Mr. Lawson flipped the switch and the room went pitch black, some children even got a little scared.
And then there was a bump. "Ouch," cringed Mr. Lawson. He'd tripped over some wires and it sounded like he'd hit his head on something.
"Almost ready," he said. And then, a moment later: "Here we go!" And with that, he plugged in the strings of lights.
In an instant, the scene before them was unbelievable. It was like being out in the countryside on a crystal clear night. The lights were like stars glowing in the heavens. The room was quiet except for the occasional "Aahhh.."
But a moment later, Mr. Lawson's mood changed abruptly. "Who did that?" he demanded. "What's that smell?"
The quiet room was now not so pleasant, and one of the girls started to whimper. A smell kind of like a campfire had started to wisp through the room.
"Okay, kids, don't panic, but we have a problem. One of the strings of lights is sparking. I'm turning on the lights."
But when Mr. Lawson turned on the lightswitch, nothing happened. Some of the kids started to cough as the smoke got thicker. Soon everyone was panicking and, in the dark, Mr. Lawson struggled to find the door. Something had obviously fallen over when he hurt himself and was now blocking the exit.
Before he could give the children direction, the fire alarm went off. The shrieking alarm filled the room, drowning out the children’s voices. A strobe light on the wall started blinking.
Outside the door was the sound of children dutifully marching past the classroom, headed for the nearest fire escape. Mr. Lawson struggled to clear the path to the door. Coughing and some crying could be heard. And then Mr. Lawson’s voice rose above the chaos. “Kids, get up,” he yelled.
Through the smoke, it was impossible to see much of anything. Only one bright thing was visible. It was a yellow shirt! And with every pulse of the strobe light, it lit up like a highway sign on a wet, dark night. Then, like an angel from heaven a voice called out, “Follow me. Follow me, everyone.”
“Hey, look!” one of the children yelled. “It’s the boy with the yellow shirt!”
You couldn’t see his face but his shirt was bright as could be.
Quickly Mr. Lawson instructed everyone to follow the glowing shirt. And they did. Each child in Mr. Lawson’s class followed the bright yellow shirt out of the classroom, down the hall, and out the front door of the school. Mr. Lawson brought up the rear, counting heads to make sure all his students were accounted for.
As the kids stumbled out of the school, covered in soot and coughing, many of them were crying and calling out for help, All but the boy with the yellow shirt.
“What happened?” one of the older children yelled out from the huddled crowd.
“We had an electrical short on one of our strings of lights,” Mr. Lawson coughed out. “It started a fire.”
“It was so dark in there, how’d you find your way?” one of the teachers gasped.
“The boy with the yellow shirt led us,” yelled Ethan proudly.

“But, but I thought he was weird,” Johnny commented. “How could he possibly help anyone?”
Mr. Lawson jumped right in and told the whole school how the boy with the yellow shirt was legally blind and that he didn’t need lights to see where he was going. Each day he came to school helped him memorize which way to go to get to class. He had every turn and every step memorized in his head.
“What about that shirt?” another child from the crowd asked,
Soon a boy with blonde hair came up to the boy with the yellow shirt and put his arm around him. He told everyone that he was the boy’s older brother. He said that his brother’s name was Evan.
“Evan is blind and also has a heart disease that can’t be cured,” he told the crowd. “Evan wears this shirt every day so cars can see him in the dark.”
Some of the kids started to come up to the boy they once avoided. They were talking to him and asking him lots of questions.
Mr. Lawson got everyone’s attention and said, “Next year when we decorate the room for Christmas, if it’s okay with Evan, we’ll hang some of his yellow shirts on the wall instead of strands of lights! And we’ll remember how, today, Evan was our hero!” Everyone clapped.
The next year came but Evan was not there. He had gotten sick that summer. Sometime around Thanksgiving, he’d passed away.
When it was time for the class to celebrate Christmas, Evan’s mom and dad came to Mr. Lawson’s classroom with an armload of yellow shirts. Mr. Lawson had tears in his eyes as he took the shirts from Evan’s parents. That day, the students in Mr. Lawson’s class decorated the room from top to bottom in vivid yellow shirts and handmade Christmas ornaments and artwork. It was quite a sight to see.
And, to this day, one of those yellow shirts still hangs in Mr. Lawson’s classroom. When anybody asks why it hangs there, Mr. Lawson tells the story of how the special boy with the yellow shirt saved the day.

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Lora
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PostSubject: Re: The Boy With The Yellow Shirt   Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:16 pm

Sniff. Your stories always bring a tear to my eye. They are so touching. Your work has so much heart in it. I so enjoy it. Thank you for letting us read another heart touching piece of yours.

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oneagleswings
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PostSubject: Re: The Boy With The Yellow Shirt   Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:08 pm

i read this before heading out this morning and it stayed with me throughout the day, great work!

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PostSubject: Re: The Boy With The Yellow Shirt   Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:51 am

I loved this!!! Your words really bring about great imagery...feelings and thought provoking pauses.. I too will be thinking about this story for a long time. It is awesome! Thanks for sharing!

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PostSubject: Re: The Boy With The Yellow Shirt   Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:42 am

Thanks for a heartfelt read.

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NathanRake
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PostSubject: Re: The Boy With The Yellow Shirt   Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:15 am

Really enjoyed this! An engaging and touching read.
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scottn
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PostSubject: Re: The Boy With The Yellow Shirt   Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:00 pm

Hey Nathan thanks for the comments. I really like this story too. I guess I should go back into it and edit. I always felt this may find a spot in a book someday. And welcome to the group.

Scott
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