Ketchup Boy had his first School Year in France

I was a little boy when I arrived in France and I will always remember my first school year in Saint-Antoine primary school. For the first time in my life I did not have to wear a uniform, but mom was very angry since she would always complain on the tomato ketchup on my shirt and pants.

Well, she could have been thankful to the French boys and girls who put ketchup sauce on every meal. Everybody loves ketchup. I was certain about it. I was also very proud because I could share ketchup sauce with the schoolboys.

One day, I met a group of boys who used to call me “Ketchup Boy”. Pierre, one of the tallest boys, told me they wanted to take their revenge out on our schoolmistress who was too strict. True, she had punished me that other day because I was chatting with my best friend while she was teaching us about Louis XIV. I thought time had come to punish her. So, we decided to throw tomato ketchup at her shirt as soon as she turned her back toward us.

On D-Day, I could feel how tense the other boys were. They did not dare to look up at her. I think she felt the tension but did not say anything. Then, she turned her back and I threw ketchup sauce at her white shirt without thinking. All the pupils gave a loud hearty laugh as she gave vent to her anger. Suddenly, she looked straight at me and ordered me to go out and wait for her.

She was certain I was the leader of the group because I was nicknamed “Ketchup Boy”. Alone in the headmaster’s office room, I did not dare to tell the truth when the two of them looked askance at me. I just imagined mom’s reaction and I was right.

That summer, poor “Ketchup Boy” was not allowed to eat ketchup sauce when he spent 10 days at his grandma’s cottage for the holidays. He felt so ridiculous not to be allowed to eat the sauce in his own country. How could he explain the situation to his friends in Margate?

When the school year started in France, he was so glad he could eat his favorite sauce again on French chips.

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