mandag, oktober 23, 2006

Year by Year

Sipping from some mysterious coconut-like thing on a warm day of walking in Yokohama's Chinatown, September 23. My Picasso face seems to be aping a Church Lady "Isn't that special?" expression.

In lieu of therapy, for it really isn't needed in this case, I give you a memory or two from each year of grammar school. This is all probably much more revealing of my character than I realize.

Kindergarten: Todd T_______ left a potato in a cubby and it sprouted viney eyes. We used it as a gross-out educational prop. Later that year, I saw Annie with my family at Chicago's Schubert Theater. Many years later in high school, I wound up next to a guy named Chris in Speech class. He told me we'd been in the same kindergarten class. He said, "I remember you saw Annie. You told the class about it. A lot."

1st Grade:
My teacher's name was, brilliantly, Mrs. Cantwell. Mount St. Helen's erupted. I developed a crush on a girl named Kristin D______.

2nd Grade: I wrote my first short story, December 1981: "Henry and His Dog Boxer." It was about a caveboy who plays "kick the ants" and "fetch the rock" with his faithful dog. At end, Henry's mother calls him in for lunch. Henry says to Boxer, "Oh, boy!"

3rd Grade: We learned cursive writing and basic multiplication tables.

4th Grade:
Mrs. Christiansen read Where the Red Fern Grows, an act that by its gory conclusion reduced her and two classes to tears. A boy takes an axe in the stomach! A dog is killed! Another dog dies of friggin' loneliness!!

5th Grade: Mrs. March let us watch Game 1 of the Cubs - Padres National League Championship Series. A kid told his parents, his parents complained to the principal (who ceased, that day, to be our "pal"). Game 2 had to be observed in secret in the classroom closet.

6th Grade:
During sex education, I buckle. Mr. Vitek asks Tim G. to name one of the male sex organs. Tim says, "The testicles." I'd been planning on saying testicles if called upon. Now Vitek calls on me for the other one. Here I am, terrified of public speaking and totally embarrassed about the word "penis," for it seems so medical, so wussy. Can I say dick? or cock? or whatever other term we used on the playground? Probably not. So I play the apathetic student card. I say, without interest, "I don't know." Vitek, though: He's no slouch. Dude served in Vietnam. He says, "Well, drop your pants and look!" The class erupts in laughter. Dammit.
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