Thursday, October 6, 2011

Me and School

When I was about four, we moved from a house outside Amarillo city limits into a house in Amarillo so that Juliene could start kindergarten. It was the first house my parents owned. It had three bedrooms. My parents had four kids now. Neil, the baby, had a room to himself and me, Juliene, and Brandt shared a room with 2 bunkbeds. So it was the big kids in one room and the baby, who still cried at night, in the other. Brandt was 1 1/2 to 2 yrs old. But in our family you were a big kid when you reached 18 months, because there was always a new baby.

So Juliene started kindergarten. The school was about 4 or 5 blocks straight down our street. So of course, Juliene walked to and from school every day. I'm pretty sure I was jealous that she got to go to school. We always did everything together and I thought it wasn't fair that she got to go and I didn't.

So the next year I got to start kindergarten. I LOVED it, except for the time I accidentally knocked over a jar of black paint that had somehow appeared behind my elbow. I swear I didn't put it there! ;) But it made a huge black stain in the carpet that was still there years later. When I'd help younger siblings find their kindergarten room, I would tell them that that was the stain I made in the carpet. I was kind of proud of it! I had left my mark on the kindergarten classroom. LOL!

I remember that it frustrated me a lot to learn to read. I don't think I had any trouble with it. I just didn't like anything I couldn't figure out quickly. I actually had to struggle with it for a while before getting it and I didn't like that much!

But I caught on and I loved school. In first grade, I remember that I got a paper back that the teacher had marked in a way I didn't recognize. I asked one of the other kids what it meant. They said I had made a bad grade. I was horrified! I decided that that was never going to happen again if I could help it! I hated feeling like I'd failed at anything. It's probably the thing I fear most in life. I'm much more reasonable about it than I was then. But failing at anything important, (marriage, raising kids, etc.), is still my worst nightmare.

So then school became a contest for me to win. I wanted to be the first one to know the answer, the first one finished with the assignment, and the one with the best grades. And I hated to get into trouble for anything. I felt horrible if my teacher was just unhappy with me for something.

So I took great pride in being the smartest one in my grade. (If I'm starting to sound like an annoying little smart aleck, you're right. I probably was. :) I wasn't intentionally mean to anyone. But I did have to be the smartest. Don't worry, though, it didn't last much longer. :))

I was the only one in my grade in the gifted program for 1 year. What I didn't realize was that I was at a small elementary school in a lower middle class neighborhood. There were definitely smarter kids out there. But I was blissfully king of the hill for a couple of years. :)

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