This is just a short story about my first day of Kindergarten.
The first day of school
Like a miniature version of Welcome Back Kotter, my kindergarten class was full of characters. I suppose I was one of them. I remember the first day of school, when we were all seated rather randomly at desks or tables around the room, each one with a weathered, wooden pencil holder in the front center, the slots far too big for regular pencils. I found myself sitting with several boys, and somehow the topic turned to something I thought I knew all about: balls. I knew balls. There were basketballs, baseballs, footballs, etc. I chimed in excitedly, "I like balls!" The boys all jeered at me. Panicked, I thought quickly and added, "Eyeballs!!" They all laughed. I had saved myself that time. I think I was considered the weird girl from then on. But from then on, the boys would play with me, and that to me was a win. Humor seemed to work well in awkward situations.
At one point, we were all seated in a circle on the floor listening to the teacher, Ms. McBee, talk about the rules of school. She was a friendly looking, brown-haired woman, fairly young, though it was hard to tell from our limited points of view. At that age, everyone older, was, well, old. My teacher, however, had round, rosy cheeks, smiling eyes, but a serious expression on her face as she talked to us all. All but one girl that is, a kind of sloppy-looking brunette with loose pigtails and a worn dress. She had a big smile the whole time she played in the playhouse next to us, ignoring the teacher as she explained to us, "Some people don't know how to follow directions." I remember thinking to myself, "I'm glad I'm not that person," knowing full well who the teacher was alluding to. I think I made a note to myself that I was going to be one of those people who follow the rules. I think I took this resolve rather to heart.
At lunch, I was too scared to eat the foreign school-made food, for a number of reasons. For one, it wasn't my mom's cooking: what if it was yucky? Two, I was afraid I'd drop my tray and make a big mess, something I'd already witnessed while waiting in line. The whole room clapped when that happened, and I learned another lesson in that moment: don't get noticed. Well, I brought my own lunch instead, except for the precious quarter I carried, which was for a chocolate milk. I loved it more than soda, or even kool-aid!
Not knowing anybody at this point, I ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich in solitude, and then realized with alarm that I didn't know what to do next. I saw a boy putting his hand in the air, and I remembered that this had something to do with getting the teacher's attention. But what would I do once I had her attention? I slowly put my hand up and then took it down quickly, not sure I was ready for whatever was next. I decided to watch instead, and soon saw that kids were raising their hands one by one, and the teachers were miraculously pointing to them, one by one. The kids would then get up, take their trays or lunchboxes to the trash, empty them, and leave. I decided to try it, and put my hand in the air once more. It worked!
Soon I was on my way, but to where? I decided to follow all the other kids, because that seemed to work well in the past. We had already had one recess, and apparently, this was another. I knew the rules of the playground, because I listened attentively when we went over them, and I was ready, but I didn't know anyone, except maybe the boys I had joked with earlier. I would soon develop a crush on one of them, but that's a different story. On this day, I remember the Slide. It was huge, must have been a couple stories high (or at least 15 feet), narrow, metal, and straight down, no curves or twists, or even side rails, besides a low edge on either side. The staircase was almost straight up, with metal steps that led upward into adventure, or doom. The rule was, only one child on the stairs at a time, at the top, and the next kid should wait at the bottom, because there wasn't really room for more than one at the top.
But kids were blatantly ignoring this rule! They were clambering up the steps, barely staying in one straight line, in a mad rush to get to the top. Perhaps I exaggerate, but I remember everyone wanting to be first, a common theme in life. I didn't care if I was first, however, I cared that I was right. Only one person at a time on the slide, the next person can wait on the first step but no higher! I told them this repeatedly, but no one listened. This also seemed to be a common theme in my life, but that too is another story. I would learn throughout life that people often didn't follow the rules, because rules, like people, are subjective.