“The three Ds: discipline, decency and dignity,” declared Fräulein Eggar, the headmistress of Grace Farm, an all-boys boarding school for “troubled youth” from grades 5 through 9. “These are the foundation that make Grace Farm a place where young men become gentlemen.” I squiggled in the wood chair, averting Fräulein Eggar’s steely blue eyes that were stretched into evil slits by the tightly pulled bun of grey hair that sat atop her head like a snowball. I imagined Fräulein Eggar’s bun as a packed, icy snowball that I could grab and hurl at her weirdly generous forehead. Bull’s-eye!
My mother, dressed in a black Chanel tweed suit and pearls as if going to a funeral, nudged me in the side. I reluctantly looked at Fräulein Eggar as she continued her Grace Farm propaganda. “Our students are required to put in four hours of work detail every day,” she continued, like a judge sentencing a criminal to death row. “We pride ourselves on a tidy campus and the student body rakes leaves, cleans the lavatories and serves all meals in the dining quarters.” At the word lavatory, my mind started to wander from Grace Farm’s militaristic Maine bucolic blah to my concrete stomping ground on the Upper East Side. I missed my skateboard. I missed my Sour Patch Kids stash. I could hear each Sour Patch Kid wailing in despair for my return.
Fräulein Eggar made an irritating scratchy throat sound (gross) and my mother poked me again. “So Charles Campbell,” Fräulein Eggar demanded, “how do you see yourself benefiting and contributing to the community of Grace Farm?” Read More