"First day of school brings excitement, nervousness" -- Headline in Tuesday's (Annapolis) Capital
First day of kindergarten, 1964:
My teacher is Mrs. Condon. She has very big hair and is clearly inferior to my mother. There are zero Tinker Toys in my classroom, which is clearly inferior to my bedroom. Mrs. Condon makes a fuss about the colored chalk. I've seen better.
I express my disappointment by not smiling for half the day. Then it's snack time. I smile to get it over with.
Later on my first day of educational servitude, "nap time" is introduced. Apparently very young children are forced to sleep on the ground.
"My dog has a bed," I say.
"I bet he's a wonderful dog," Mrs. Condon says, trying to distract me. "Do you want to bring a picture of your dog to class to show us?"
I will not stand for such trickery, so I put my head down on the ground and take a nap.
Each day this schedule is repeated, and I can't help but fear I'll be going to "school" for many, many years.
(On the plus side, everyone seemed to like my picture of our dachshund, Schultz.)
First day of first grade, 1965:
My teacher is Mrs. Creasy. She has almost no hair and is clearly inferior to Mrs. Condon. There are more windows in this classroom, and they all open. I know they open because my friend, Rusty, just tried to escape through one of them.
"I'm Superman!!!" he screamed, until Mrs. Creasy pulled him back into the classroom via his legs. "Via" is a word Mrs. Creasy taught us. I guess learning new words is also my fate.
For lunch, we are herded into the cafeteria with older children. Some of the fifth graders appear to have "mustaches" -- another new word. As I enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich my superior mother prepared for me, I look up and notice a girl looking at me.
I don't remember the rest of first grade.
First day of second grade, 1966:
My teacher is Miss Johnson. I don't trust for one second this "Miss" business, but she's a stickler for it. She also takes seriously the duck-and-cover drill, where we get under our flimsy wooden desks that will save us when Russia drops nuclear bombs on our elementary school. I'm realizing school involves a lot of ground work.
My artistic ability debuts. Miss Johnson has a "Draw A Salmon" contest. Who doesn't want to draw a salmon? I draw the best salmon in class, in any class and that includes classes in Russia.
Miss Johnson gives me a ribbon for second place.
I never draw a salmon again.
First day of third grade, 1967:
Mrs. Greene is my teacher. I think I love her -- although it's early.
First day of fourth grade, 1968:
I'm kind of all grown up, so at the end of the day I find Mrs. Greene to say hello. She acts like she doesn't remember me from last year. I walk home with the knowledge that love is a lousy, miserable thing that I hate very much and forever.
I also learn cursive writing and should mention I'm the best cursive writer in class, although there is no contest. But take my word. I am the best.
First day of fifth grade, 1969:
My teacher is Miss Emmert. This year I find myself intrigued by the "miss." But I've been burned once in the ways of love. I keep my distance -- and learn the word "intrigued."
Fifth grade is the end of the elementary school line for me. Something called middle school is next.
I hear that's loads of fun.
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