The little fat girl cried on the first day of kindergarten. And not just a little snivel, but a loud full throated 62 pound ear shattering temper tantrum that clearly bespoke the message to anyone who was listening & #8230;GET ME THE HELL OUTTA HERE!....NOW! I remember my stomach churning like the ocean off the southern tip of the African continent. I can still see her in my mind; she wore a red dress and black shoes. Her hair was as dark as her mood.
I can see us now, Miss Klafkey's class, all dressed up with nowhere to hide. There was a general sense of anxiety amongst us all, a pervasive sense of doom. I think we were all wondering the same thing; what does she know that we don't know?
It wasn't long before others were crying too, including mothers. My fellow condemned prisoners were being dragged hand and foot into the classroom fingernails scratching the tiled floor. There was much hugging, clutching and pleading. The little boy in the brown pants peed. Maybe we should have seen it as an omen. After all we were still 13 years away from high school graduation.
Donna Daily was the second most beautiful girl in the world in kindergarten and she sat next to me. She wore wonderful dresses and always colored within the lines. She smelled new. Every day on the way to the bus stop I would purloin a flower from some unsuspecting yard and sneak it onto the bus. In the back of my mind I was sure that having a flower on a bus was highly illegal, and if caught great harm and misery would rain down. But I did not care.
I would present the flower to Donna daily and wait for her look of gratitude and smile of appreciation that I knew I deserved for taking such a huge risk with the flower and the bus and all. I even hoped that maybe she would give me a little kiss. But despite my efforts she seemed oblivious to my daring-do, and this made me want her all the more. The ghost of the unattainable female would haunt me for years and tears to come.
The little fat girl was the elephant in the class circus. Unfortunately for her this was a label that would stick for a while. Billy was the ring master. I wanted to be the ring master too, but Miss Klafkey said there could only be one. Billy got the job; I guess he was better qualified.
Donna Daily was the trapeze artist. She wore white tights with a lacy skirt made out of the same stuff the white dress my mom got married in. She swung on an imaginary trapeze and summer salted across the floor with Joey and some other kid. I wanted to do this too, but Miss Klafkey said the positions were filled.
I was the tiger tamer. I got to pull a red wagon onto the stage with Betsy in it. She wore black tights with orange strips and growled a lot, only she more purred. I had a whip though; at least that was something in kindergarten. I had to sing a song. My mother and I would practice each day and she was sure I would mess it up and I was sure if I did great harm and misery would rain down.
I can still remember the lyrics, Tiger, Tiger black and yellow; Surely you're a friendly fellow; When you prowl around at night; Everyone stays out of sight. I will probably never forget them. On the day of the circus I remember walking up to the microphone in the gym and singing like I had never sung before. I sang for mom, and country, and Donna Daily. People applauded and later my mom and Miss Klafkey gave me big hugs. Donna Daily did not.
The Principal's Office
Believe it or not I only was sent to the principal's office one time during my entire tenure in grade school, and that was in kindergarten. I remember we were out on the playground and it had been raining. We had been inside for what I recall as forever because of the rain and Miss Klafkey was yelling a lot. Looking back I should have seen the danger.
Because of the rain giant earth worms had arisen from the ground and were slithering and the blades of grass. Who could resist. I picked up the biggest I could find and threw it at Billy's face. Of course he threw one at mine and the girl's started to scream. I suddenly became very excited and began chasing Donna Daily with an earth worm.
I never heard Miss Klafkey's yell and was quite surprised when she yanked me up by the forearm. Everyone was watching. Billy was laying low. It was my first "perp" walk. She dragged me off the playground, into the office, sat me down on a wooden bench, told the woman behind the counter what evil I had perpetrated, turned heel, and headed out. I was alone.
I sat there for what seemed like an eternity waiting for great harm and misery to rain down. But evidently the principal, Mr. Leon, was busy because I never got to see him that day. After a while a big kid walked me back to class and I was certain Miss Klafkey would shun me, but she was nice again. And Donna Daily smiled at me. I guess she liked bad boys.
Asleep on the Bus
I catch the bus used to have to walk to the stop at the end of the block. At first my mom would walk me every day and be waiting when I got let off. Then she would just watch from the driveway in her robe with a cup of coffee as I walked alone, but would still be there when I got let off. Eventually, I was on my own.
I remember it as if were yesterday. The ride on the bus always seemed long and one day I fell asleep. When I awoke there was hardly anybody on the bus and the landscape was completely unfamiliar. I was lost on the bus. I began to panic and then cry for I was sure that I would never get back home again.
When the driver eventually let me off at my stop I ran home as fast as I could, certain that my mom would be panic stricken by my disappearance and overjoyed at my return. But all she said was "How was your day?" I was crushed.
Snacks and Nap
My favorite time in kindergarten was snacks and nap. Miss Klafkey would give us milk and Graham Crackers and then we would lie down on our blankets and pretend to sleep. I would weasel my blanket next to Donna Daily every chance I got and whisper the tiger song in her ear.
Donna Daily was a lot nicer to me after the worm incident; I was after all the only kid in kindergarten to be sent to the principal's office, and this invoked upon me a certain stature that set me apart from the other kids. As I look back this was probably the best and most favorite part of my education thus far.
I was learning my letters and to read and was constantly asking my mom what the signs said. I could read stop (it was red), yield (any yellow sign) and for sale (the signs on lawns). I was pretty proud.
One day after I getting off the bus and had walking home alone again I was flabbergasted to see a 'For Sale' sign…