Chapter 4: School Bells
I started kindergarten when I was still 4 years old. I was very excited to start school. I learned things easily because my mom and dad had been teaching me things all of my life. I always liked to play soccer at recess, I was pretty good. I also liked to jump rope and swing on swings.
I finished kindergarten loving school. Then I got to first grade and got Mrs. Robinson. She was the meanest teacher. Everyday we would do the same boring things that she had probably done for over 20 years. There was never anything new or exciting. Just the same things all the time. She didn't seem to like boys, she thought they were dumb or something. During the entire winter she wouldn't let us go to recess. She didn't want us to get snow in her room, or to get sick and then get her sick. So for 4 months we didn't get to go outside for recess. For a little kid being stuck inside school all day was usually bad enough already, but without recess there was no way! To make it worse she made us watch an aerobic video instead. So here we were with great snowy weather outside and we had to watch aerobics!
My parents went to talk to her, and said that little kids should be getting to run around and have recess, that it wasn't fair to keep us in. Mrs. Robinson thought that was the worst thing anyone had ever said. My parents even suggested that she could let me go out with one of the other 1st grade classes, because they all went. But she just blew them off. The next day she lectured the entire class about how stupid it was to want to go out in the snow and have recess. She mentioned me by name and said that I had wanted to go to recess, and asked if anyone else wanted to be as stupid as me and go out to recess. Several were ready to raise their hands, but were too scared. I think one or two managed to get their hands up, but she pretended like she didn't see them. Welcome to 1st grade!
It was around this time that I decided I would go home for lunch, the lunchroom was always to noisy and crazy for me. Plus this way I had permission to go outside everyday, because I was going to my house to eat lunch. I even got to go out on red flag days, I could play in the snow on the way if I wanted, and get some fresh air. I continued my tradition of going home for lunch all through elementary school and Jr. High.
The next year I think Mrs. Robinson must have gotten fired, she wasn't there anymore. I was kind of happy, but I sure missed out on a lot of fun stuff I could have done. I also wasn't very excited for school anymore.
In second grade I got a teacher that liked me again and that did fun things for us. I learned all kinds of cool stuff, and like always, got good grades. I liked her a lot! But on her birthday I forgot to bring her something. So when I went home we found her address from another teacher we knew, because it wasn't listed. My dad and I drove to her house and sung her happy birthday, in Donald Duck! She seemed to enjoy it very much, not many teachers get kids coming and singing go them at their house on their birthday, especially in Donald Duck voices.
In third grade I got the two teachers that have probably been my all time favorites. We did the most fun things! We went on a hike up the mountain one time and built different types of shelters out of what we could find. We also went up there another time and each group had to make a fire and cook our food on it. We sung a lot, the songs were really funny and we had a great time. There were so many things we did in third grade that made school enjoyable.
In fourth grade we put on the fourth grade play. This year was Cinderella, I was so excited! I had always wanted to be an actor. We always got season tickets to the Scera Shell Outdoor Theater and I always loved seeing the musicals. I wanted to be one of the mice. We learned the songs and some words and we auditioned. I just so lucked out that I got to be the very first one out of the entire 4th grade to go up on the stage and sing. Everybody was watching me and I didn't get to see anyone else do it to learn from their mistakes or see what they did good. I did a really good job though, while we were singing I saw one of the teachers look at me with an amazed look. I was excited and figured I would get a good part for sure.
I didn't many ANY main part, not even a small one! They put me in the ensemble because she needed people with strong voices there. I was really mad, well not really, but I wanted to be. I am not very good at being mad. I didn't care if she needed strong voices in the ensemble, I figured a strong voice would help a lot more if I was up on stage more instead of out in the audience. It was a lot of fun anyway though, I really enjoyed it.
In fifth grade one of my favorite days came because I got in trouble. We were in line coming back in from recess and 3-4 boys were pushing each other back and forth in line creating a domino effect. I was right in the middle of them all and so I knocked into people behind me. They had been watching through the window and the 5 of us that were there all got in trouble. I said I didn't do anything, but I got in trouble anyway.
They sat us down in the hall and said they would be right back to talk to us. We all sat about 5 feet away from each other because that was what they made us do. We still had a ball from recess, so we just rolled it around to each other and talked for about an hour. They completely forgot about us! Then a teacher walked by and saw us talking and rolling the ball around. She got mad because we were in the hall, but we told her our teacher had told us to and that she was going to come talk to us soon.
The teacher went in and talked to our teacher and then she came out. She said, "I was wondering why it was so quiet in there, you guys just missed an important video!" if she was trying to make us feel bad about that it didn't work. For our punishment we had to go outside and shovel snow on the playground. We decided we would start by one of the basketball courts. Kids started coming out for lunch and said we were supposed to go to lunch 10 minutes ago! A few of the kids just stayed and saved the court for us, while the rest went to eat really quick. When I got back we played basketball, we wouldn't let anybody play, except for the people that shoveled.
So by getting in trouble I got to sit in the hall and talk for an hour, be outside for another half hour, then play basketball while everyone else in the school had to try to play in the snow. That was a really fun day, I guess I should have gotten in trouble more than once in my life since it was my favorite day.
I guess nothing exciting happened in 6th grade, we were kings of the school and excited to go to Jr. High. Besides 1st grade, I really liked school. On the 5th grade tests that we took I was in the top 10% in the nation for my overall score and in the 99th percentile for math, so the top 1% in the nation. I loved school so much that I would come home and make worksheets for my brother and teach him what we learned. I guess it was the beginnings of becoming a teacher, plus it made my brother really smart because he was 5 years ahead on some things.
I was always one of the smallest kids in class, because I was small, but also the youngest in my class. This never stopped me from competing intellectually, or athletically with anyone in my grade. I have always been competitive and had a high belief in myself. I really thought that I nailed that audition in 4th grade and should have had a part, should I have, everyone who had the leads did great, so they didn't choose wrong. But I believed I was as good as anyone and could compete for anything, often this belief was realized, and sometimes I came up short, but I always tried my best. My parents had the choice to start me in school that year or wait until the next year, I am so gald my parents decided to put me in school when they did. It would be been nice to be able to date and drive before the second week of my Jr. Year. It would have been nice to be one of the bigger, older kids sometimes, but I also graduated at 17 years old and was able to graduate college and start my career at 23.