On My Side

On My Side

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms

On My Side

The best proof of love is trust.

Joyce Brothers

A fellow second-grader had told the teacher that I had taken coins from the March of Dimes canister. This wasn’t true.

The can had been placed on Mrs. Christiansen’s desk so all the kids could contribute dimes to try to cure the terrible polio that had made so many people, mostly children, unable to walk. Our President Roosevelt himself spent much time in a wheelchair and on crutches as a result of this disease.

It was true that I had put my hand into the can, so I could keep track of the coins I was counting with my finger. I hadn’t taken any dimes out of the can as my classmate had reported, and even though I told Mrs. Christiansen this, she called my mother anyway.

When all the kids left after school, Mrs. Christiansen, my mother, and I remained in the classroom. My mother sat down at one of the little desks across from me, but her long legs wouldn’t fit and they reached all the way across the aisle and ended up under my desk. She looked into my eyes and we held hands.

“Mrs. Christiansen tells me that someone saw you put your hand in the March of Dimes can. I will only ask you one time, and you only have to answer one time,” my mother said to me. “Jackie, did you take any of the dimes?”

“No, Mama,” I answered.

She kept holding my hand as went up to Mrs. Christiansen’s desk.

“Jackie didn’t take any dimes. Now we’re going to Borden’s for ice cream.

From that moment, I knew my mother would always stand up for me, and I knew I would always tell her the truth . . . forever.

Jackie Fleming

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