No Book, One Book, Two Books, Past Looks

Our columnist chronicles The Great Book Caper and looks back on a beloved high school administrator.

My copy of, Do The Work, arrived via FedEx on Monday morning. This may seem inconsequential to you, but if you read my column, , you know exactly why I’m so excited. 

I only mention this because I received a few emails this week asking if my book had arrived. To those of you who asked, yup, it’s here! To those who have no idea what I’m talking about; you should take a few minutes to read the aforementioned column from last Tuesday’s Easton Patch

I’ve mentioned that my sister-in-law, Earline, lives in Georgia. After reading last week’s column about my difficulty in having my book delivered to me and my many trips to at , she sent me an email which, among other things, said something along the lines of, “….so let me get this straight. You’re taking a book about work on vacation with you.” 

I hate it when she notices things like that – and she always does. Yes, Earline; I’m taking a book about work on vacation with me. I realize that may seem a bit strange to most people, but obviously you’ve been away from me for far too long. It’s me – Bob. Remember me; the walking, talking enigma? 

Sorry to burden the rest of you with family business, but if you’re going to read my stuff; things like this are going to happen now and then. It’s inevitable.


I see that both and the are in the process of interviewing candidates for the position of principal. Harold Qualters, the Qualters Middle School’s namesake, was the principal of the high school when I was roaming the hallowed halls of MHS back in the early to mid-sixties. 

I had many an encounter with Mr. Qualters during those days. I know you’re probably thinking I spent a lot of time in the principal’s office for disciplinary reasons. You’re thinking I was a bad boy, aren’t you. Come on – admit it! It’s human nature to go directly to the worst case scenario. But in this case – you’re wrong. 

Mr. Qualters was a huge sports fan and was particularly zealous about football. He’d never admit to it, but he definitely favored student-athletes generally, and football players in particular. I’ll have to confess; I used Mr. Q’s love of the gridiron to my advantage on more than one occasion during my high school career. 

Mr. Q was a wonderful man who truly cared for the students in his charge and never failed to go the extra mile for them. He took his responsibilities as principal very seriously, yet had the wisdom to understand that, though the rules applied to everyone, each student was an individual who brought their own unique circumstances to the table, and he dealt with them accordingly. I believe that’s called wisdom. 

When I think back on Mr. Q, one thing that stands out in my mind is his Monday morning announcement over the school’s PA system following the Mansfield/Oliver Ames football game during my Sophomore year in 1963. 

had been the dominant force in the Hockomock League for most of the fifties and in to the sixties. They were a thorn in Mansfield’s side. But things were different on that Monday morning in ’63. Mr. Q. came on the PA system and proudly announced, “It was a moral victory for the Hornets at Memorial Park last Saturday, as they battled the Oliver Ames Tigers to a scoreless tie. 

I wanted to crawl underneath my desk. A moral victory?  I’d thought we’d been trying to win, but apparently Mr. Q was so obsessed with not losing to the Tigers; he was willing to settle for the mediocrity of a stalemate. 

Oh, by the way; we beat OA 22-0 my senior year. I don’t recall Mr. Q’s announcement the following Monday, but you can rest assured it was a doozy. 

You were a good man, Mr. Qualters. Thanks for all you taught me – and thanks for the times you let me off the hook. Thanks for showing me a little mercy


Okay, you aren’t going to believe this. I just got a phone call from a woman at Borders in Mansfield informing me that my book is in and I can pick it up at the front desk. You know, the book that I ordered on May 31st. The book that I spent three weeks looking for. The book that was sent to my house via FedEx last Friday after I called customer service to complain that it hadn’t arrived and was, apparently, nowhere to be found. Yuh, that book! 

So now I have two copies of Do The Work; one at the store and one on the bookshelf in my office. Last Friday I had no book and no prospects of ever getting one – now I have two. 

I could have made Borders pay for the aggravation they caused me; all that time running back and forth to the store and making phone calls. I could have told the lady at Borders I’d be right over to pick up the book. I could have picked it up and then given it to a friend or sold it on EBay. I could have done that. But I didn’t. That would have been wrong, even though I could have easily justified doing it.   

Instead, I told the nice lady at Borders that I already had the book, but she didn’t understand, so I did my best to explain it to her. I went through the whole, sordid process, from the time I ordered the book right through the time the book arrived at my door, but the more I explained the more questions she had and the more aggravated I became. Finally, I just said, “I’m all set. Thank you,” and hung up on her. 

Why do I get the feeling these things only happen to me? 

Make it a great week! 

Bob Havey is a freelance writer and a Mansfield native, currently living in Easton. His column "Take Me Back" appears each Friday at http://mansfield-ma.patch.com  and his other column, "The View From Here", may be seen each Tuesday at http://easton-ma.patch.com.


Sharon Thiel June 24, 2011 at 04:24 PM
"Only happen to YOU??? " Did I never tell you the story about ordering one pair, that became four pairs, of sherpa-lined massaging slippers that came to our house over a two week period via UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Mail? I love it when your column makes me smile, laugh, take a moment to honor someone, then leaves me nodding in agreement about life in general as I move to the Comments area. Have a great weekend!
Nancy Zilch June 24, 2011 at 04:33 PM
Oh, Bob, Bob, Bob. . . :-) Yet another wonderful tale of your wonderful life. . . makes me sorta-kinda glad I'm me and not you. . . LOL !!!! You really should have kept the other book and sent it to Earline. . . wonder how long it would have taken to get to her in GA? ~ hugs
ben June 24, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Hi Bob, btw just find out Milford and Taunton are coming into the Hock. Not this coming year but the next. Milford to the division with Oliver Ames and Taunton with M.H.S. Who would of thought ?
Frida June 24, 2011 at 09:47 PM
That little pop up box that comes up while I'm reading is VERY annoying! Not that I'm complaining :-) Funny stuff Bob. You either have the weirdest luck or you just pay more attention to what's happening around you than the rest of us do. Very nice tribute to your principal as Sharon Thiel said. Enjoy your weekend as much as I enjoyed your column. I'll have to come back and read it again to check out the links. No time right now. I have a hot date. :-)
Kara M June 27, 2011 at 01:52 PM
Great stuff as always Mr H. I'm glad I waited until Monday to read this because I hate Mondays and I needed a laugh. Nice story about your principal too.


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