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Posts Tagged ‘kindergarten’

I started school when I was 4.5 years old. In those days, there was no cut-off age. I turned 5 in November, therefore I could start school that September. I was not ready socially. I was far ahead academically.

Kindergarten, for me, started in Elko. Then it took a break when we moved to Paradise Valley where there was no school. It resumed after my birthday in Winnemucca.

My first day of school was with other little kids more worldly than I. I remember the teacher taking role and my name was Jackie. One kid joked “Jack Frost?” and it stuck. The teacher did nothing to stop this. I was mortified. I knew who Jack Frost was: pretty ice paintings in hoar frost on the windows. I also knew I didn’t want to be Jack Frost. I was ME.

We moved before October. Dad accepted a position in a different leg of the same National Forest. PIE (Pacific Intermountain Express) trucks came, packed all our belongings, and moved us to yet another white house with green trim. We lived in that house for two months and packed a lot of memories in there.

Then we moved into town: Winnemucca. I started Kindergarten, again. It was horrid. My teacher was a first year teacher, Mrs. Smith. The veteran was across the hall, and if my mother had known what I was about to experience, she would have pushed for the veteran.

I did make friends. Mary. Rita. Peggy.

I heard older kids sing-song at us through the fence: “Kindergarten Baby!” It was awful.

I had to stand in the corner once. I was never sure what I did wrong, but the teacher was angry and there I was – in the corner for some infraction I did not understand. I think it might have had to do with lollipop trees, but it could have been anything. I just remember that lollipop trees set the teacher off, too.

The little girl next to me raised her hand and whined, “Teacher, she’d drawing Christmas trees!”

I wasn’t sure why it was a crime to draw a Christmas tree, but I also knew I was not drawing Christmas trees. I was drawing pine trees like the ones around Mahoney RS. And I said so. Christmas trees have ornaments and lights on them.

Teacher wasn’t buying it.

Whatever. Bitch. My mother told me in later years that if she had only known…

Once, I tried to get on the bus. It seemed an easy way to get home. The bus driver stared at me. “You don’t belong on here,” he challenged. He was right: I could walk home and the bus went to the Air Force Base. Reluctantly, I got off the bus. I just wanted a ride home.

My brother showed up to take my home. Sometimes, he was actually handy to have around.

We lived four blocks from the school. You could walk along the street, take The Trail, or take the Horny Toad Trail. You had to pass the woman who lived behind the big red fence with the vicious dogs.

Once, early in my induction to this system, we took The Trail. And I walked into an abandoned roll of barbed wire. My head was in the clouds and my feet on earth. The barbed wire coiled and grabbed. My brother had to take me home where my mother nursed the wounds on my leg, scars that I bear to this day. I remember the blood.

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