Reeny, Julie, Tut-Tut and Amy were now a force to be reckoned with. Combined, they had money, loyalty, beauty and brains.
The girls had learned a lesson from almost getting caught smoking in the bathroom and one day, a casual comment from Reeny set off a chain of events that would ultimately change school policy.
The teachers had their break room where they all sat around and smoked unencumbered, so why shouldn’t the students have a space of their own? Reeny wasn’t a smoker but she was ahead of her time when it came to equality, be it gender equality or basic equal human rights.
It was a brilliant suggestion and one that was worthy of pursuit. The girls decided to form a task force. They started collecting signatures from all the students and it didn’t matter if they were smokers. Their idea was that it was their right and they should be provided with a special smoking section at the school. What was fair for the teachers should be fair for them.
After the signatures were collected, Amy was charged with writing the proposal to be presented to the principal. She walked into the office and said “this is a petition and the entire student body has signed it.” As she handed it to him, he looked at her and said “oh, Lord. Well, let’s have a look.”
The principal was a strict enforcer of the rules and was not one to suffer fools lightly but by his own admission, he admired “gumption,” especially from a girl. He was the proud father of a grown daughter who as he put it, had “determined her way into a mans’ world.”
The next Tuesday, when the weekly assembly was held in the auditorium, the principal announced that there would now be two smoking sections at the school. One would be designated for the boys and one for the girls.
That lone gesture was what prompted the students to start calling the girls “the feisty four.”
Although the end of the school year was several months away, it was time to start working on the annual. Reeny was of course, drafted to take part this year.
Being the practical joker, Julie had the idea to rearrange the pictures. Some sophomores were elevated to senior status and some teachers were demoted to groundskeeper. The principal was going to be surprised when he found himself listed as the drum major, wearing a suit and tie. It would be explained in the caption under the picture that he had misplaced his uniform somewhere in the gymnasium on picture day.
If the girls were worried about any repercussions, their fears were put to rest when the annual came out. Everybody appreciated the humorous touch, even the teachers. Trying to find their pictures became a visual scavenger hunt.
It had been a ballsy move and put a punctuation mark at the end of the “feisty four.” It also became a tradition from that year forward. It would be another legacy left by those four girls.
Acquiring smoking sections and altering annuals were not the only things the feisty four did. Before Christmas, they started soliciting local businesses to donate items and food. They organized a talent show at the school and charged admission, even from the teachers and the proceeds were donated to charity.
They knew there were students at the school who would not have a good holiday because there just wasn’t enough money and they gave a list of names to the representative from the Salvation Army.
Julie asked local florists for unsold flower arrangements to take to the people at the hospital where she volunteered. Those people would be alone on Christmas and she thought flowers, even a few days old, might brighten up their day.
They were young humanitarians but they were still capable of mischief. One weekend, they decided to roll the yard of a grumpy teacher they referred to as “old sourpuss.” She would smack a boys’ hand with a ruler for just looking at her sideways and would send girls to the office if they were caught whispering to each other.
They worked out their plans and agreed to meet in the teachers’ neighborhood. When Reeny arrived in the Rolls Royce with a trunk full of toilet paper, the girls laughed at first but then asked if the chauffeur would tell on them. Reeny smiled and said “not if he wants to keep his job.”
To be continued_____________________