I am the fourth of five living children. It seems I am always “too little” for whatever the big kids get to do. But as soon as Momma says I’m “big enough” to do something, Jo-Ann gets to do it too. And she’s a whole year younger than me. It doesn’t seem fair. But today is different.
Today is my first day of school. Not the first day of school, but my first day of kindergarten.
Momma is going with me today. We left Jo-Ann with old lady Wagg across the street. (I don’t know why everyone calls her old lady Wagg instead of Mrs. Wagg, but we all call her that.)
It’s just Momma and me.
I am so excited I want to run, but Momma has a firm hold on my hand. And Momma don’t run. So, I just merrily skip along.
I am being real careful. Momma let me wear my Sunday school dress and sandals today. My dress is blue-green nylon and it swishes as I skip along. If I’m not careful I’ll scuff my sandals. Momma will not be happy if I scuff my sandals.
We are walking because Momma hasn’t learned to drive yet. But it’s not really too far.
I can see the school now. “Grand Avenue”, I think. Momma had told me that is the name of my school…”Grand Ave”.
I have to remember that, she said, just like I have to remember that my full name is Mary-Ann Jensen and I live at 516 9th Street.
Momma is carrying my blanket for nap time. It is white with blue ribbon on the ends. She stitched my name on it so everyone will know that it’s mine.
I can see Grand Avenue School clearly now. The kindergarten is separate from the rest of the school. It is a building in the corner of the school. It is all fenced off by itself. Momma says that is so the big kids can’t bully the kindergarteners.
Momma opens the gate and tells me that I must always remember to close it behind me when I come through it. One more thing I must remember. “Close the gate!” I say to myself. “Close the Gate.”
Miss Isabell meets us at the door and tells us who she is.
“Miss Isabell” I think, as I repeat her name to myself. She is the teacher. I like her.
The classroom is full of kids and Mommas. Miss Isabell gives Momma my name tag and tells her to pin it to my dress.
“This is not right”, Momma says somewhat disturbed. “Her name is Mary hyphen Ann, not Mary.”
Miss Isabell smiles. She picks up her crayon and adds “– Ann”. Now my name tag reads Mary-Ann just like it should and Momma is happy again.
My nametag has a red flower on it. I like red. Miss Isabell tells me that all of my things will have that red flower on them.
She tells Momma and me to go find the cubbyhole with that same red flower on it. That is where I will store my things.
Momma helps me find my cubby hole and we put my nap time blanket in it. Next we must find my table and chair.
The room excites me. I let Momma look for my flower on the table and chairs as I look around the room.
The chalkboard is black and covers most of one wall. Big colorful letters hang above the chalkboard. I know a lot of them. I read “A, B, C…”
Momma interrupts my thoughts. “Over here, Mary-Ann.” The look on her face warns me that she is not happy with me. She thinks I daydream too much.
Soon we have all found our tables and chairs. Us kids are all sitting in our chairs now. Most of the Momma’s are standing in the back of the room.
One little girl is crying. I think her name is Susan. She looks scared. Her Momma is on her knees on the floor beside her. I don’t understand why she is crying, but then I am just a little kid, so I guess I don’t need to know why she’s crying.
Miss Isabell starts talking to all of us. Once again I start looking around the room. There is a wall with a big red apple, a large yellow banana, an orange…
This time Miss Isabell’s voice breaks into my thoughts. She is leading us outside and wants us to line up into two lines; one for the boys, one for the girls. She is telling us that this is where we will meet before school and that we should line up when the first bell rings.
Oh my! One more thing to remember. Line up when the bell rings.
Soon Momma and I are at the gate again. Momma reassures me that she will walk me to school next Monday when classes really start, but I must wait by the gate for my brother Leo after school. He will walk me home when school gets out for the day.
As we are walking toward home I think, “Today is different. I go to school.”
I grin as I think, “Jo-Ann is still too little.
This story was posted for write your memoir: writersdaybook
It was the first memoir piece I wrote. I wrote it as an adult, but wanted to share the way I felt as a child.