Excuses, Excuses: An Excerpt from Teacher Man

I was in my third year of teaching creative writing at Ralph McKee Vocational School in Staten Island, New York, when one of my students, 16-year-old Mikey, gave me a note from his mother. It explained his absence from class the day before: “Dear Mr. McCort, Mikey’s grandmother who is eighty years of age fell down the stairs from too much coffee and I kept Mikey at home to take care of her and his baby sister so I could go to my job at the ferry terminal. Please excuse Mikey and he’ll do his best in the future. P.S. His grandmother is ok.”