Cute as a cupie doll, she was, and a bit too plump to make cheerleader. Her Father loved her
blonde ringlets, and would do almost anything to please her - almost, he would. Cupie came
to him one evening and asked him for some of those new printed shoestrings for her saddle
oxfords. Saddle oxfords were rationed during WWII, but not shoe strings!
Father said No! He had been letting her get away with sneaking candy before supper, meeting
her little friend at the corner at twilight. She couldn't go out after dark on school
nights, but Father had been letting her fudge. She even took her toast in her hand on the
way to school and didn't sit down with him and Mother. This outrageous behavior had to stop!
It wasn't the shoe strings - it was his fatherly authority at stake! "Everybody has printed
shoestrings, Cupie cried (real tears)." And that, my friends, was the wrong thing to say to
Father. Never, Never, cite "everybody else can...." to him!
Into the carpet he dug his heels. "No! You may NOT have printed shoestrings!"
Cupie cried all night long. It wasn't the shoe strings, it was being "different." She would
be the only girl in the class with plain old white strings.
Then in the early morning hours, the sun shone its light across her room and with it an
idea. Cupie would sneak some of those new colors out of the art room and paint her own shoe
strings. She whistled through the kitchen, grabbing her toast while Father fumed that she
didn't seem contrite.
Mrs. Tiller, the art teacher, turned a blind eye to Cupie, because she thought she had
begun to instill a love of art in this shallow little pretty.
Again, Cupie had her way. She ran home that afternoon, slammed her bedroom door and began to
make dots and swirls on her shoe strings. She was confident Father wouldn't notice such a
little girl thing. But she was extremely out of touch on this one.
Father noticed right away: "Where did you get the money to buy those strings?" he roared.
"I, I, I, borrowed some colors and made them myself," came back her trembling weak little
"I've had enough!" He told her she must write "I am a bad girl" One Hundred and Fifty Seven
times on this yellow pad, and just to see that she had no excuses, he handed her a whole box
of No. 2 pencils sharpened to a point.
She could not whine out of it by saying she didn't have a sharp pencil or had broken the
Well, Cupie wondered why Father hit on the number "157" but she sat down poutingly at the
dining table and started to write. She wrote and she wrote and got confused. She kept having
to count how many she had done. Then she knew that Father had intended to make it hard for
Finally, it came to her to put down a number next to each line on the margin, and finally
her 157 "I am a bad girls" had been written.
It was past her bedtime, but Father had stayed up with her until she was done. With tired
eyes, she handed him the yellow sheets and pencils. He in turn handed her a package of 6
pairs of printed shoe strings, put his arm around her shoulders and walked her to bed.
© By Norma (Twi1ite@sbcglobal.net)