My First Day of Public School

October 15, 2008
I dragged my feet along the dusty road, kicking little pebbles as I walked, raising as much dust as I could and otherwise making life as miserable for my mom as I could. My mother has an exceedingly long fuse; I am shocked sometimes at her apparent unending tolerance of my grievances. It is even more surprising when you realize that I am the eleventh in a line of twelve children, all of whom are just as prideful and stubborn, or perhaps even more so than myself.

I continued dragging my feet along the road with my two older brothers as my sister excitedly talked to no one in particular about her first day in public school. Camilla apparently didn’t remember, or wasn’t old enough to realize, that school was nothing to get worked up over. Camilla and I were both on our way to a memorable first day of public school, having been shut up every winter before hand in our rooms studying by ourselves. Poor mother probably would have shouted and danced for joy the half mile walk home had she not all ready been worn out from our morning activities. We children were really not conducive to a time oriented schedule in any manner, having been running loose all summer without a care in the world. Our only recollection of time occurred every Saturday night when mother ran us down for our weekly baths.

Our bus pulled up in front of us and we managed to drag ourselves up the stairs and take a seat. My knowledge of public school ended right at that point. I had no idea where the bus would take me, where I would go when I got there, and what I was supposed to do after that. Oh well, I waved to my mother out the window and started firing questions at my neighbor friend, Joe.

Joe was an interesting character, much like myself in many aspects. We even looked remotely alike with the same short black hair, dark skin, and brown eyes. We usually had to have a little wrestling match once a month, nothing big, but something to remind us that the other one was still around. So, for the next hour as we picked up kids of all ages in various locations around the county, I tried to get a general picture of public school life. We obviously didn't get very far, because when I stepped off the bus I was just as lost or more so than when I had got on. Of course the rest of the kids, including my sister, had immediately scattered to their various places of interest, and I was left all alone to meander through the maze of paths and hallways that made up our small elementary school.

After considerable wandering, I found what I hoped was my classroom. My mother had said something about a Mrs. Leavitt, so I figured her room was probably a good place to start. Unfortunately, Mrs. Leavitt had not arrived. Undeterred, I sat myself at her doorway and began to read The Lord of the Rings. I am not really sure how long I sat, totally engrossed in my book, until somebody asked what the heck I thought I was doing.

I replied, “Heck if I know, my mother said to get on the bus and here I be.”

I don't think that went over very well with my teacher, but I was on her rolls so she sat me down and commenced asking about my family like she was the newly made family historian. I had no idea we were so famous. It seems everybody in town knew who I was, but I could swear up and down I had never seen one of them in my life. After an hour or so, when she realized I could care less that she had been in a computer class with my brother way back in the day, she finally commenced class.

It seemed like these people had just about all day to hang out, play games, or just straight up shoot the bull with the kids on the other side of the room. I thought it was mighty peculiar for an educational institution to be so frivolous with their time in so important an undertaking. My mother would have had me washing dishes for weeks if she knew how I slacked off.

We would spend about a good solid hour and a half playing games and talking before the kids would get plum wore out, then head off to recess. I didn't let it bother me too much on account of the rigorous games of football we would soon commence. I wouldn't call myself a real might in high school, but I could definitely hold my own in elementary. Someone had apparently forgotten to tell me tackle football was not exactly smiled upon during recess. The poor kid didn't even know what hit him.

I tried explaining to the duty teacher that I was just trying to get the ball, but it didn't work. I was set down in a corner of the field for some good quality thinking time about manners and keeping my hands to myself. Oops, the kid probably deserved it anyway, and besides I had just come to a really good part in my book before I had been so rudely interrupted earlier that morning. The talking and game playing finally ended for the day.

I dragged my weary little body up the stairs of our old bus and promptly fell asleep. When we arrived at our stop back home, my brothers ever so kindly picked me up and tossed me out the front door to loud applause from the remaining students on the bus. Thus ended my first day of public school at Helen M. Knight Elementary School.

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