The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Beyond The Picket Fence

by Sherryanne De La Boise

Blood type runs cold

Performance in school effects so many aspects of our lives.

My buddy's father is a respected professor at the University of Illinois.

But in high school, he was a classic knucklehead. He had no interest in school work, so did not have the grades to attend college and got himself drafted into the Korean War.

He was excited to be going off to battle, to fight for the U.S.A. However, he was placed well behind the front lines, behind a typewriter. Seems his blood was too valuable to spill. It was type "O" negative. So, he spent the war with a needle up his arm in the "Vampire Platoon."

I would like to report that he ended up a professor of Literature, having had to type so many reports and letters to other officers. Or, even of Animal Husbandry, so I can use that one famous one liner (He practiced Animal Husbandry, until they caught him at it). But no, he is in the school of Architecture, teaching Drafting.

He finds it humorous that his blood is once again desirable. For, type "O" appears to experience the mildest of the COVID cases.

Dad always paid me $2 for every "A+" and $1 for every "A" on my report card.

Other grades generated a lot of commentary, but no payment.

He was not joking that a "C" would generate a cash back request.

So, you can imagine the drama during the four years of high school, when I brought home a series of "D's" in French.

In my defense, I had learned French as a small child. And, my vocabulary was that of a small child's. So when my sophisticated classmates would query as to the time to get the first class rail coach to Marseilles, naturally, I would ask, ‘When did the Choo-choo leave?'

Knowing the complex sentence structure of the past perfect tense or which of the ten (count ‘em, ten) indicative tenses best reflect the mood was just annoying.

How do you tell an annoyed, report-card-waving parent that every single time Madame Reinecke spoke of the "Plus que parfait," my mind would wander to a hot fudge sundae with an extra dollop?

In grade school science class, we distilled our blood types. Most of my classmates were type "O" and rather chummy about it.

Just like I never showed off my grades on tests and papers, I did not share my blood type. In fact, I went home sullen. The indignity of it all: I had not gotten the type "A+."

At dinner, I was brooding. Which one of my parents had done this to me? For, blood type is inherited. At least one of them had to be a minus. But, both of them always claimed to be "A+" in everything.

"If you get an ‘O,' what does that mean?" I asked with a look that Dad knew something was up.

"It means you get credit. You passed. Did you get a bad grade?"

I burst into tears. "I'm got an ‘A-.' I'm not even good enough to get a dollar."

To this day, it is a deep dark secret as to the blood type of each of my parents.

Now that Mother cannot remember anymore, the imperfect parent will forever remain a mystery.