The people who run the Nanowrimo Facebook page posted a writing prompt asking us to write about our first day of school ever. I had to think about it for a while because it was many moons ago. All I remember was sitting at a little table with a girl named Renee and I had to go to the bathroom. I must have been pretty antsy because she eventually said “Just do what I do. If you don’t think about it you will forget you have to go.”
That little gem turned out to be the best and worst advice. It worked in elementary school, for me. There were plenty of other little kids who followed this edict and had to suffer through accidents. I learned to go when I was allowed and it served me well through life.
I don’t remember anything else from the first day of kindergarten but I do recall little bits from later in the year. There were little gender biased areas set up around the room. When it was play time we were called up in random order to an easel where colored clothespins hung. Each station had room for four kids so being called first mattered. All the little boys, and the teacher, would get so irritated with me when I went first because I always picked the Hot Wheels area.
It was cool so it was not my fault! I was a tomboy with two older brothers. It never occurred to me to stick with the ‘girl’ stuff. I did enjoy playing in the kitchen corner but only as a second choice and I never once pretended to clean it!
Another choice was cleaning erasers. I only did it a few times. I despise cleaning but I equally hate being dirty so it wasn’t nearly as fun as it sounded, even if it meant being unsupervised out of the room. There was one area no one liked getting stuck in. Oddly, I have no clue what it was.
I remember kissing a boy on the cheek and wondering what the fuss was about. All the other little girls talked about wanting to kiss boys all the time. If they had understood how much grossness can accumulate on a young male’s face at recess they wouldn’t have been so keen on the idea. That kid was my teacher’s son and she treated me differently after the incident. I suspect she felt sorry for me because she became extra nice.
The only other stand out moment was when this kid named Sean and I were searching for worms (tomboy remember). We were digging behind a bush under a window sill and above us was a wasp nest. We didn’t know it until the buzzing started. Sean freaked out! He started running and screaming and I had no idea what was happening but he kept saying if he got stung he would die. His terror was contagious and it didn’t take long before most of the other kids were running and screaming as well. Not me, I was one of the few who were frozen in fear.
A couple of teachers grabbed him and got him inside, running top speed. Later he explained he was allergic and described in detail what happened the first time he was stung. Besides a recurring nightmare I had when I was even younger, this was the first time I remember feeling real fear.
Averted bathroom woes, Hot Wheels, toy kitchens, erasers, and wasps are what kindergarten was for me. I’m sure I learned a lot of important things and it set me up for the next twelve years of my life but we remember what we remember.
Do you remember your first day of school ever?
Photo by Ryan McGuire