I was rummaging through photos earlier today, reminiscing. Of course, my kiddo wanted to hear the stories behind the photos… Who am I to deprive him of my infinite wisdom?
Kindergarten. I was the new kid. We had only been in town a couple of weeks. I was used to having cousins around. Many, many cousins. But I wound up starting Kindergarten without any of them. I had a brand new blue bag, five sharpened pencils, pigtails, tablet paper…and Vienna sausages.
At least I never had to worry about anyone pecking in my lunch. I mean, who REALLY wants to eat Vienna sausages??
I’d already learned to write my name on REAL paper- when I was three. Tablet paper was for babies, and so were pigtails.
I remember my teacher’s name was Tonya. She was the tallest woman I’d ever seen.
The after school daycare was much more fun. My sister spent her days in the “infant” room, and by the end of the first week, I was notorious in the infant room, because if Blondie saw me pass by she’d wail her bloody head off until I returned. Blondie could pitch a fit like no baby you’d ever dare to test. The infant room attendant wasted no time sticking a pacifier in her mouth. Blondie was, like, ten or twenty years old before Mama managed to remove it.
Kindergarten was not a complete waste. There were redeeming moments.
The van sent from the daycare to rescue us from the drudgery (more commonly known as Callaway Elementary) was piloted by an awesome chic named Dayna. She drove fast through the S curves, and held oil cans out the window yelling, “Bombs!! We got bombs!!”, at every stoplight. Thinking back, the “bombs” were probably a bad idea.
I was passed on to Ms. Jackson for first grade. We’ve discussed Ms. Jackson quite enough, already. That woman should’ve taught prisoners, not little kids. I still need therapy, even all these years later.
Back at the daycare, Blondie graduated to the toddler room. There was a new lady in charge of the toddler room. Strangely, I don’t remember her name… only that she hailed from a place called “Booger Hollow”. She was almost as cool as Dayna (whose whereabouts were by then unknown).
Mama worked all day, and attended college most evenings. Blondie and I were usually the last to be picked up, but I really didn’t mind. Miss Awesome of Booger Hollow liked to dance. She’d put on a bathing suit and looooong, slouchy socks. She danced to Olivia Newton John and The Gap Band (which always reminded me of Dayna and her wayward bombs). I asked Mama to let me wear my bathing suit, and I borrowed some of Mama’s old, slouchy socks. Blondie and I danced like crazy nearly every night. Mama probably thought I WAS crazy- bouncing all over in my bathing suit and her socks.
Second grade. I was the new kid, again. But things were looking up. My new teacher was quite jolly. Miss Breland taught at a higher level, making up vocabulary games for me, and making math fun with “math relays”. She rewarded winners with M&Ms, so I won. A lot. I suspect she kept more than just m&ms in that drawer.
Third grade. Miss Denney. She fell asleep with her head on her desk during recess. Every day. Miss Denney always said she was “stressed out”. I have no idea why.
I did eventually make a friend. Michelle’s, family owned and operated the local funeral home. She’d sit in the parlor and watch The People’s Court and The Jeffersons after school, eating Froot Roll Ups, as if she weren’t surrounded by dead people. I didn’t visit much.
Fourth grade was a huge learning curve. I was the new kid, again. Our class was small, the school itself was country. I staged a protest over the erroneous classification of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s works. I went so far as to present my arguments, in writing, to Mr. O’Rear. He laughed. Loudly- more of a guffaw, really. I wrote him off as “misinformed”, and pressed on to campaigning against the use of chlorofluorocarbon in Aqua Net.
Our seats were assigned in alphabetical order, and the kid in front of me had exceptionally large ear lobes. When I was bored, I thumped his ear lobes. I should probably apologize. We are not friends, now…
Blondie and I had a babysitter. The bus dumped us at her house every afternoon. During Christmas vacation, Miss Janice decided Blondie and I (well, mostly me) were using too much toilet tissue. Miss Janice had a septic tank, and she was a toilet paper Nazi, so we weren’t allowed to flush the paper. We had to put our paper in a bucket under the sink. We were only allowed four squares to wipe after using the facilities. I got a ruler to my hand for every extra square, plus Blondie’s and Miss Janice was not even Catholic! And yes, she actually counted the squares.
This is how I know Mama truly loves me. Miss Janice confronted Mama with my wanton wastefulness. The following day, Mama brought a case of toilet paper, sat it on Miss Janice’s front porch, and in typical (my) Mama fashion, politely informed Miss Janice the case of paper should cover our backsides for the next decade.
Funny, the things kids remember… To this day, I refuse to use cheap toilet paper; I’ve yet to locate Booger Hollow; I wouldn’t be caught dead in a leotard and leg warmers; I still cannot view the deceased without feeling like I’m moving on up. And I think of oil cans, white vans, and S curves every time I hear The Gap Band.
Childhood isn’t bliss. Childhood is comedy.
Be kind. Be blessed, Y’all.