"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Thursday, November 11, 2010

vomit and other tales from school

I was puked on tonight--like, full-force, Exorcist-style puke--for the first time since Peter threw up all over my Girl Scouts uniform in first grade. After, I had to sit in the clinic with Peter, with his head in a trash can, while we waited for our moms; his to take him home, mine to bring a clean set of clothes. That afternoon, I was the only girl in my Girl Scouts troop that wasn't wearing her uniform. I was a little traumatized.

As I was cleaning up the puke tonight, I remembered Peter and then I started thinking about other moments from first grade that seem as vivid to me as moments from last week. Has it really been twenty-five years? First grade was a pretty good year for me. It was before my school anxiety hit me head-on in second grade, AND my best friend, Daniel, was in my class.

This one time, in first grade, we were working on a project about the classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are. Daniel was writing with a pencil that he had sharpened so much that it was essentially an eraser with a graphite point. (He was *that* kid, that spent 15 minutes at the pencil sharpener every half hour.) His little first-grade hand was all scrunched up as he tried to grasp it, but he refused to use the perfectly-sharpened spare pencil that I had in my pencil box and had offered to him. (I was *that* kid that was annoyingly Always Prepared.) As our teacher walked over to our desks, she looked down at Daniel's pencil and said, "Daniel, I'll never be able to read your chicken-scratch writing if you continue to use that nub of a pencil." This, to Daniel and me, was hilarious. I'm not sure if it was the image of a chicken scratching on his paper or the word "nub," but Daniel and I could not stop laughing. For weeks afterward, Daniel would do his best Miss H impression and repeat that line and we would just fall into hysterics.

Another time, it snowed. It was the first snow of the season and we were all, understandably, Very Excited. In an effort to appease the masses, Miss H allowed three students at a time to go and stand at the window to watch the snow fall for a minute or two. There was one girl, though, whose name I can't remember, who had just moved to our neighborhood from Florida. Because this was the very first time she had seen snow in her WHOLE LIFE, she got to stand at the window THE WHOLE TIME. This decision by Miss H was seen as grossly unjust by the rest of the first-graders.

Then there was the time that my cat, Mittens, followed me to school. Our house was about a mile from the school, but not quite far enough to be on the bus loop. The neighborhood moms organized a carpool, but on nice days we would walk or ride our bikes to school. One day, my cat followed behind our gang at a comfortable distance--we had no idea we were being tailed. Mid-morning, I was called to the office over the loud speaker. When I got to the office (shaking, I'm sure, because I had been CALLED TO THE OFFICE), there was my cat, sitting with the secretary. Apparently, Mittens had jumped into an open window of a classroom across the pod from mine. I'm not making this up. My neighbor was a student in that classroom and recognized my cat, probably because of her distinctive white paws (get it? Mittens?). It was the talk of the lunchroom, let me tell you.

Lesson Learned:
It's probably not likely that it will be another 25-years before I'm puked on again. Bummer.

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