The Great Dentist Hoax

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????            A big sixth grade girl entered my class one morning with a note from the principal’s office. She handed it to my second grade teacher, Mrs. Carlisle, who read it quickly and then pointed toward me. “Pam,” she said. “Your mother’s waiting for you in the front office. Gina will take you there.”

I went with Gina, her golden blond ringlets springing against the base of her neck with every step. “So, I guess you’re having your teeth worked on,” she said. “It won’t hurt much. Gosh, my dentist adjusts my braces every month.” She showed me her choppers, rubbing a finger across the stainless steel wires and brackets.

Mother hadn’t said a word to me about a dentist since my last and only appointment, the one in which I bit the man in the long, white lab coat for trying to jab a needle through my gums. He had yelped and hollered loud enough for everyone in the waiting room to hear, including Mother. “Pam, don’t ever bite someone,” she had scolded on our way out the door. “And certainly, not a dentist. He needed to numb your tooth before drilling the cavity.”

“A dentist?” I asked Gina.

“Yep. That’s why your mother’s here.”

I gulped hard, entered the office behind her, and walked over to Mother standing near the front desk, talking to the secretary. She faced me and grinned. “Pammie, you and your sister have checkups this afternoon.”

Suddenly, I was dizzy.

“Your sister’s on her way. As soon as she’s here,” Mother said. “We’ll leave for your dental appointments.”

A few minutes later when my sister entered the office, Mother abruptly ended her conversation with the school secretary. “Girls, I know you’re nervous about seeing the dentist,” she said, overemphasizing the word dentist. She looked back at the secretary, “Gee, Robin and Pammie are afraid of a little dental appointment.” And then back at Robin and me, “There’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Going to the dentist isn’t a big deal.”

As soon as we were in the car, Mother stifled a laugh and snorted. “Pulled one over on them. Girls, don’t look so worried. We’re not going anywhere near a dentist’s office. Let’s head over to the bar. How about pizza at The Parrot? I think your granddad’s there. If he’s not, after some lunch, we’ll head across town to The Vagabond.”

Excerpt from JoyRide, Life, Death and Forgiveness, A Memoir

Copyright © 2013 by Pamela Koefoed.

Plush bear photo © Karenkh |

6 thoughts on “The Great Dentist Hoax

    1. Hi Kendall, thank you for replying to my article. Yes, my mother was an alcoholic. She never overcame the addiction and died a couple years ago at the young age of sixty-eight of complications related to alcohol abuse. Pamela

      1. I am sorry for your loss. I hope my question was not too much. I did not realize the story was about you. (I went back and reread it to see how I missed it, I must have assumed you were writing a character in first person). In a blink, The Great Dentist Hoax went from entertaining to heartfelt. I applaud you willingness to tell your story. It took me 12 years to begin telling mine. Much success to you, Pamela. I look forward to the book.

      2. Kendall, thank you. Your question was perfect. My new book will be available this summer. I am so excited about it and believe it will touch many lives and help travelers in this journey we call life. I look forward to reading more of your blog posts.

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