1974

This is a post for The Red Dress Club.

For this week’s RemembeRED prompt, we’re asking you to remember kindergarten. If, after thinking about it for a while, you can’t recall anything, move on to first grade.

Mine your memories and write about the earliest grade you can recall. What was special? What was ordinary? What did you feel? Hear? See? Smell?
Don’t underestimate the power of your memory. If you have a difficult time remembering, sit down and freewrite…you’ll be surprised what comes to the surface.

Immerse yourself in crayons, chalk dust, and those tiny milk cartons

And the story goes like this:

A little boy with olive skin, green eyes and curly black hair stands in front of a school. It is the first day of something called kindergarten. There are three other boys, G, Robert and Damon standing with their mothers. A week ago we all went to a party at some girl’s house. It was in her backyard. I didn’t know her but I like having ice cream there. Mom said that I should try to meet the other kids because we are all going to the same school.

I’d rather be at her house again eating ice cream. I am not real interested in listening to G’s mom introduce all of us boys to each other.  Our teacher is a lady named Ms. Lane. I am not real happy about being with more girls. Mom and dad didn’t listen to me and brought home two more sisters. Mom says that they are twins and that means they are extra special.

I think that they are extra annoying. All they do is cry. My other little sister annoys me too. She is always following me around the house and wants to go to school with me. This kindergarten thing is ok. There are a lot of kids but we don’t all go at the same time. Some kids go in the morning but I don’t really know them because I go in the afternoon.

We sit on the rug and listen to Ms. Lane talk. I look at the clock on the wall but get upset because I can’t read it. ‘G’ can and he tells me what time it is. Since that first day of school we have played together lots of times. I have no idea that 37 years later we’ll still be friends or that I’ll be in both of his weddings. He lives around the corner from me and has two hamsters. I like him because he likes to play games and ride big wheels with me. Besides he always has a Twinkie in his lunch. He shares it with me. I wish that my mom would give me one in my lunch.

One day a boy named Joey rolled a tire on top of me. I didn’t like being trapped on my back like a turtle. It made me angry, but I didn’t punch Joey. I was afraid to get blood on my hands. I know about it. Robert told Ms. Lane that Danny hit him so she told Robert to hit him back and Robert did. I have never seen so much blood come from a nose. It dripped all over the floor and Danny cried.

Sometimes we get to use tools. ‘G’ and I like to take saws and cut pieces of wood. One time when we are cutting I stop paying attention and start cutting my fingers. ‘G’ notices and tells me to stop. We wonder why I didn’t notice. It is very cool that I didn’t cry. One of the other kids in class rides in a car that has the same name as the president, Ford.

He took over for the other guy, Nixon but I don’t really know why. I just know that some mommies don’t like him. One of the boys in class says that his daddy was a soldier in Vietnam. We want to see a real army man but he never comes to school. They drive a Volkswagen Bus. I like it because it has a bed in it. My daddy drives a blue Dodge Dart, wish we had a van.

Some kids get to walk to school but I don’t. Mom drives me both ways. Every day she makes lunch for me. I have a metal lunchbox. It is a Six Million Dollar Man lunch box. That is my favorite show. My parents gave me a Steve Austin action figure for Chanukah. He has a bionic eye. Sometimes I jump of the monkey bars and pretend I am him.

We are learning how to read. The book is called Dick and Jane. Robert’s older brother says that Dick has one too and then laughs. I ask mom to tell me why this is funny. She says to ignore him. I like to read for her but I don’t like when she puts Muenster cheese in my lunch box.

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28 Comments

  1. Rebel chick March 29, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    I loved this step-by-step storyline!

  2. Matty March 29, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    You tell this story so simply. Just like a 5 year old would. Clever.

  3. Tracy March 29, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I enjoyed reading this. You have an amazing memory…especially to remember a joke you didn’t even get at the time. We read Dick & Jane in kindergarten too. It is so great that you are still friends with G. Now I want a Twinkie.

  4. Tracie March 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    This is so great! You did a good job keeping the child’s “voice” consistent through the entire piece, and you fit in a LOT of information without making it feel like I was just reading a list of things. It was engaging.

    I have to say that I kind of love the fact your teacher told Robert to hit the other boy back.

    And I have always always (and still do, really) wanted a Volkswagen Bus.

  5. Kris March 29, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Very funny. So perceptive yet scattered and unfocused. Just like a kid! My favorite part is the last line when you talk about your mom – you think of reading and food. Awesome.

  6. Amy March 29, 2011 at 8:18 am

    I am still shocked that you teacher told the other little boy to hit back…. that wouldn’t be happening today! Haha!

    Great job as usual!

  7. Erin March 29, 2011 at 8:08 am

    I love how you wrote this!! Perfect channeling of a 5 year old brain!

  8. Roxanne March 29, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I love that the phrasing is consistent with a child’s voice, with so many wonderful peeks into the era from a child’s point of view – and even a sneak peek at the future of your friendship with G. And I’m only slightly jealous of your capacity for memory 😉 Great job!

    • Jack March 29, 2011 at 11:50 pm

      I would be very curious to see video footage of these moments. I wonder if my memory is as accurate as I think. It could be that I am simply wrong.

  9. Jennifer March 29, 2011 at 7:35 am

    I love that this line doesn’t entirely made sense, as it wouldn’t have to kindergarten you.

    ‘Robert’s older brother says that Dick has one too and then laughs. I ask mom to tell me why this is funny. She says to ignore him.’

    I think you are missing the word hit in this sentence, ‘ Robert told Ms. Lane that Danny hit him so she told Robert to him back and Robert did.’ I think it’s supposed to read ‘ …she told Robert to hit him back..’

  10. Leighann March 29, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Awesome.
    I love thar it’s from a childs perpective, still in kindergarten.
    You dont spent too much time on each subject just likens child.
    Also?
    I forgot about big wheels!
    Love them!

  11. Amy aka HonestConvoGal March 29, 2011 at 4:42 am

    I love your voice in this piece. You did a great job being you at 5 or 6. I am very impressed with all the detail. My memory isn’t that good. This is a very fun piece.

  12. TheKitchenWitch March 29, 2011 at 3:40 am

    “…I don’t like being trapped on my back like a turtle, but I didn’t punch him…” made me laugh out loud.

    I love your internal dialogue–your dissatisfaction with your teacher being female…which leads to the thought of your sisters, etc. On the first day, I’m sure all of our minds bounced around in a similar fashion, but I’d forgotten.

    I also smiled at the line, “I’d rather be back at that girl’s house eating ice cream.” Wouldn’t we all?

  13. Galit Breen March 29, 2011 at 3:08 am

    Jack, I love all of the details that you included! You really put me in a time and place.

    I so laughed at all of the descriptions of distaste for girls! If that doesn’t just SCREAM little boy, I don’t know what does!

    I also really appreciated the way your mom and your reactions to her threaded through, it brought the piece together nicely.

    But my favorite line? “It is very cool that I didn’t cry.” Yes, it is. But OUCH! 🙂

  14. Erica M March 29, 2011 at 1:58 am

    You can remember so much! I had very little concept of Nixon and Ford when I was that young. And I didn’t get a lunchbox until 2nd grade.

    • Jack March 29, 2011 at 11:45 pm

      I loved those lunch boxes. I used to get in trouble for wrecking them. We liked to use them to make noise and as you can imagine over time the banging, scraping “hurt” them.

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