My Earliest Memory

June 16, 2008
By Christine Vaughan, Boise, ID

Pre-school again. How many days would my mom put me in this horrible place? She drove me to school and left me there. And I soon learned that she wouldn’t come back for a really long time. I didn’t want her to leave. She just couldn’t go!

I hated Grace, the bratty frizzy red-haired girl with her big mom, whose head almost touched the roof. And when she laughed, it was so loud and obnoxious I would get scared. And I didn’t want to reach into old tissue boxes with contents unknown and feel the mysterious grainy texture of what might have been sand, or the strange squishiness of what could have been play-dough. Well there I was, my mom taking me up the steps anyways, along with little brother Matthew. I squeezed her arm, hoping she wouldn’t leave me in this group of kids that were loud and crazy. Loud and crazy wasn’t my thing. I was shy and timid.

As we walked in the smell of poster board paint tingled my senses. It reminded me of all the experiences I really didn’t want to go through again. I saw my two teachers. One had long blonde hair, almost golden. She always had a scary smile on her face. She was so happy it was almost evil. I didn’t like things out of the ordinary, and she was way out there…well everything at preschool was, and I dreaded it. My other teacher was Chinese and she had black hair that was short and curly. At least the other teacher was nice, because this one was just mean. Not to mention, I never had any idea of what she was saying. One so nice it was evil, and one so not nice…I couldn’t understand her. I liked the nice teacher better…although I could do without both.

Well there I was being dragged by the hand over to sit down next to a boy named Jack. His hair slicked back with so much of something, and the smell mixing with the paint wasn’t very appetizing. In front of me was shoved a picture of some kids playing jump rope and off to the side was a little dog. Some crayons were laid in front of me and the smiling teacher said “there you go sweetie, now do some pretty coloring.” I almost picked up a crayon. But I quickly lifted my head and looked around for my mom. There she was walking out of the school, down the steps, and out the door. So I got up and ran after her, crying as I went, she turned around and look at me. But then I couldn’t go any further, something restricting my path. A hand, an arm, a body, a face, the face of the evil smiling teacher. Then my eyes searched outside the opened door and my mom and little brother were nowhere to be seen. I cried some more and I could feel the tears running down my pink cheeks. I resisted the pull of restraint, or at least I tried. The door was closed and I didn’t know if my mom would come back this time. I was forced to another place in the room, further away from the door. But then the door opened again…was it my mommy? Opening…opening, and there was a girl with light brown skin and straight black hair that was shoulder length. She was my age, but I hadn’t seen her before. The mean Chinese teacher went over to the girl and her mom and started talking. Then Mrs. Happy teacher told me to sit down and play with some duplos. I picked up a bright yellow one only to have it snatched away from me by none other than Grace, the bratty frizzy red-headed girl. “That’s mine!” she squeaked. I felt tears welling up inside me. I fought them back because that new girl was walking over with Mrs. Mean teacher. Well, I believe that the teacher was trying to introduce me to the new girl. I didn’t understand much of what she was saying, but I did hear the name “Veronica.” Well Veronica didn’t say much. Kind of like me. She just walked over to the box of stuffed animals in the corner and looked at me. And so I followed, happy to get away from the other noisy kids. So we began to play. After that I always enjoyed going to pre-school. We never really said much to each other. I later learned she didn’t speak English. I suppose we communicated telepathically, or at least we understood each other. An understanding person is a friend, and a friend in any place always makes things better.

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