Friday, February 6, 2009

What I Learned There

Stealing an idea and modifying it a little bit from the wonderful Jo(e) who wrote about what she learned in second grade, I thought I'd see if I can remember something I learned that was important in grade school. Hey, maybe this will turn into an annoying meme. (I doubt it. I don't have that many readers. Now if Jo(e) picked it up, maybe it would go viral because she's totally a rockstar.


  • preschool: do not pull the decorative wax candle that looks like a foamy beer off the counter onto your head. It will hurt. You will lose your hair as your mother tries to pick all the dried wax out of your hair witha comb. You will scream when she comes near you with a comb for a long time.
  • kindergarten: it feels good when your mom comes to get you after school. You can walk home in the warm Indian summer together, holding hands, while you tell her about your day.
  • first grade: when it's the bicentennial and your school does all kinds of "Colonial" activities in honor, and your class makes real butter by shaking and shaking and shaking a jar filled with rich cream and then spreads the yellowish goo on saltines, that butter will be the best butter you'll probably taste in your whole life. Uber-butter.
  • second grade: don't pull on the beak from your cool puppet of an ostritch. When your mom says she'll take it to Grandma's to get it fixed, you'll never see it again.
  • third grade: mixing raw egg, vanilla, cinammon and bread in a bowl does not make French Toast, even though that appears to be how mom makes it. But the dog will LOVE it. And your love for cooking, for pleasing others with the food you prepare, will be born out of the preposterous mix.
  • fourth grade: moving very far away to a new place where you don't know anyone kind of sucks.
  • fourth grade, the second time: because you moved, your mom asks if you can be "held back a year." It sucks again.
  • fifth grade: don't write "Kim Loves Vance" all over your notebook, even if you do. Because when someone else spots the heart with his name in it, you will be teased, unmercifully.
  • sixth grade: moving sucks again. And when you kill a spider in the girls' bathroom & all the other girls swear you ate it, you'll figure out that you really don't like it in Louisiana.
  • seventh grade: reading. reading. reading. the library. long long rides on your bike. horses. horses. horses. poetry. funny letters to your sister.
  • eighth grade: when the much older slacker failed a lot of grades but looks-kinda-like James Dean or John (Cougar--at the time) bully on the bus picks on you and/or grabs your butt, and you try to fight back, even if you try to get him with your nails & purse, you will only end up losing the fight and getting a black eye. And no, putting raw meat on it does not help. Nor does putting makeup your mother got from the lady in the trailer next to you. Everyone will see your black eye anyway.
  • ninth grade: this time, moving is kind of cool. Florida has beaches. You can actually get just a little bit of a tan if you go every single day. And lots of freckles. And go with your mom to the movie theater that sells beer (to her) and nachos and wear surfer shirts & have other kids not totally hate you.
  • tenth grade: the hot air while you stand outside at night for marching band practice, combined with hormones, cute boys, stadium lights, dandelion seeds on the wind silhouetted against those lights is a heady mix. And the music is kinda cool too. You really like performing in band wearing the uniform that smells like dry cleaning solution, standing up so straight it makes your back hurt, playing your heart out on the clairinet. The thrill of competition. But really, it's those summerish nights and daydreams about the unobtainable boy of the moment that is the best part.
  • eleventh grade: getting contact lenses and joining drama club really makes you feel normal. Even though you're still Not.
  • twelfth grade: do not date that guy. That one. With the stupid blue paint in his hair last year. Ever. And, also: you're not going to listen to your older self when she tries to scream this back over the years at you at 4 in the morning.

Hmmm. I like how that came out. Feel inspired? Come on. You can do it. It actually got harder to remember specific things by school year as I got older, which is weird.