Miss Kravitz loved to play the piano and Hercules the Lesser loved to water the plants in her classroom. They both had their jobs to do to get the cozy little room ready for the day. He was grateful that she never forced him to speak, but she was always there if you needed someone to talk to. He just wasn’t very talkative, but she was there if he ever decided he had something to say.
When he arrived at General John G. Pershing Elementary School on the first day of classes, he walked straight to Miss Kravitz’s classroom. She would always greet him with a warm smile and a nice word. He didn’t get many of either of those in this place. Miss Kravitz was young and smart. She seemed to be just barely out of school herself. She was short – not much taller than Hercules the Lesser. Her clothes never fit quite right – straining against the seams although she was rail thin.
Hercules the Lesser walked to school every day. His mother was happy to drive him, but he enjoyed the walk alone with his thoughts. Some days he thought about how great it would be if he were Hercules the Greater not Hercules the Lesser. Other days he counted his blessings for being exactly who he was.
Roger and Louise had no children so Louise took great joy feeding a whole lunch room full of kids every day. She would never admit to having a favorite kid, but she only ever played ball with one kid. She gave certain kids an extra helping of vegetables if they needed it. She complimented the students on their haircuts or their good grades. She smiled greatly and everyone – every single kid at General John G. Pershing Elementary School loved her, but she only played ball with one kid.
Louise was large, but not uncomfortably so. She wasn’t fat. She just a good farm- fed Midwestern girl who couldn’t resist sampling the meals she made for the kids. She lived in an apartment on the northeast side of the city with her husband Roger and their small furry dog with an epic under bite. The dog’s name was Queenie.
Every morning over coffee and eggs Roger and Louise worked the crossword together – both the Chicago Sun-Times and the New York Times. When they were done Roger kissed Louise long enough to make Queenie jealous. After the kiss – Roger went to his job fixing cars. Louise took Queenie for a walk long enough to take care of her business then Louise got dressed in her kitchen uniform and headed to the school.
Hercules the Lesser didn’t go out much. There weren’t a lot of places to go and even fewer people to go with anyway. If there was ever a question about where he was on a Monday evening – he was parked in front of the television with a bowl of pork and beans and a Mountain Dew watching The Adventures of Silver Swimmer. Sometimes he would set down the bowl pork and beans and sit as close to the set he could sometimes even pressing his nose against the glass.
After dinner Hercules the Greater cleared the dishes before putting his school books on the table. He worked on math problems while is mother did the dishes. His father snoozed in his overstuffed chair. Typically by ten o’clock the entire household was sleeping quietly. The only variation on this pattern was ice cream for dessert every Sunday.