First Report Card: Smyrna West

Kindergarten. I went to a small kindergarten all by itself on a hill. There was a playground to the left of the building and a steep green hill out front that we weren't allowed to go all the way down. There were a few trees and shrubs down close to the road and this was forbidden territory.

I think kindergarten was when I started loving school and boys. Although the order sometimes rearranged itself. I remember our class getting checked for lice, our class lying down every day on our blue and red mats for nap time, and our alphabet circle. During the alphabet circle, we listened to a song about each letter and then Mrs. Easley passed around an inflatable letter character. I loved those guys. They smelled like pool floats and I always held it a little too long and a little too close to my face.

We usually began our days with a coloring sheet. It wasn't a creative coloring sheet. It was a follow-the-directions coloring sheet. The teacher had already colored a sample and taped it to the board for us to copy. I was a serious colorer. But one day, we got a new girl. And she sat at my little group of desks. And she got her coloring sheet and started boldly coloring her horse fuchsia. It was the most beautiful horse I had ever seen, so I picked up a fuchsia crayon and started coloring that bad boy a serious shade of magenta. But then, I had my first crisis of conscience. I remembered we were supposed to color the sheet the same as the example on the board. I turned and looked over my shoulder. Sure enough, that guy was brown up there. No fuchsia horses. And so, I ditched the pinkish crayon, picked up a brown one, and drove it into the paper. I colored so hard, my hand was hurting and crayon wax was crumbled across my paper. It didn't help. Now my horse didn't look fuchsia or brown. It looked like a white horse covered in throw up. It was a mess.

After a while, Mrs. Easley asked us to bring our coloring pages to her. We always turned them in one at a time. I usually skipped to her desk, but that day I was slow poking it up there. My stomach was all knotty. I handed her my paper and she looked at me with angry eyebrows. She told me she was disappointed in me. The new girl made her mistake honestly, but I made mine knowing the rules. And as I turned around in shame to return to my seat, she swatted me. She swatted my behind. It was my one and only "corporeal punishment" of my entire educational career. I was crushed.

This may or may not have been the same day I was swinging on the playground and Daniel Graham dared me to jump off. And because he was a boy and cute and I loved him, I did it. And I did it well. Except that I landed on my feet too hard, fell to my knees in the dirt, and continued falling forward until my face met a perfectly placed grey rock sticking out of the dirt. My precision was amazing. I went home with a black eye. Also, my only black eye of my entire educational career.

Plus also, we made shrinky dinks. Mine was a picture of a rainbow with a tree and some grass and a cloud. I still have that old thing taped in my closet. It was a magnet that lived on our fridge. But then Dad got tired of all the junk on it and he bought a stainless steel front fridge, and magnets do not stick to that guy.

Now, my kindergarten is, according to the website, an alternative school for kids in 6th-12th grade. However, the reputation it has now is as a minimum security school for those kids with behavioral issues. Sounds like fuchsia horses are still not allowed.

*This post was inspired by Writing to Reach You's Ashley, who is currently blogging through her school years. As if I didn't have enough little series to keep up with. Anyway, it's what came out today. Feel free to start your own and make sure you leave me a link so I can get to it!

* In case you're wondering about the word kindergarten, here's some etymology: 1852, from German, literally "children's garden," from Kinder "children" (plural of Kind "child") + Garten "garden"). Coined in 1840 by Friedrich Fröbel (1782-1852) in reference to his method of developing intelligence in young children, the first one in English established in 1850 by Johannes Ronge, a German Catholic priest.
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