What was your favourite part about returning to school?

The NaBloPo­Mo prompt for today:
What was your favourite part about return­ing to school?

Back to School by Lel4nd (Leland Francisco)

That’s not an easy ques­tion. It wasn’t cool to acknowl­edge being hap­py to return to school each year, of course, so while I was glad, I didn’t real­ly acknowl­edge it to myself. As a result, it is more dif­fi­cult to access those mem­o­ries.

Even though I knew there would be end­less amounts of review each year, I was always excit­ed about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of learn­ing some­thing new. After we left Gads­den, I was able to look for­ward to school library access, too. (The ele­men­tary school I attend­ed in Alaba­ma didn’t even have a library, and back then, the Gwin­nett Coun­ty Pub­lic Library wasn’t the award win­ning facil­i­ty that it is now.)

I also had a secret hope that maybe this would be the year when I would meet some­one like me. Some­one else who didn’t fit in. Some­one who pre­ferred books to most peo­ple, who either didn’t go to church or was only there because his or her par­ents forced the issue, who would be will­ing to dis­cuss the ques­tions brought up by all the con­tra­dic­tions in the Bible and var­i­ous church’s teach­ings (and how preach­ers and oth­er church lead­ers actu­al­ly lived). Some­one who didn’t think it was bad to be intel­li­gent, maybe even some­one who would admit to day­dream­ing and mak­ing up new sto­ries about peo­ple they’d read about, or com­plete­ly new sto­ries of their own. The kind of peo­ple you didn’t run into just because your par­ents bought hous­es in the same neigh­bor­hood, or went to the same church, or worked for the same com­pa­ny.

I did meet some­one who became a dear friend in the first week of my Junior year, on the bus, in fact. She even lived in my neigh­bor­hood! I con­tin­ue to be amazed by the fact that I said some­thing to her first, as she’s far more extro­vert­ed than I have ever been. Dorothea is a trea­sure, and I will always be thank­ful for meet­ing her.

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Start of the New School Year

The NaBloPo­Mo prompt for today:
How did you feel about the start of the school year grow­ing up?
As far as I remem­ber, I was usu­al­ly excited—at least after 7th grade or so. School up to that point was so intense­ly bor­ing that I couldn’t wait to get out of it so I could go back to what­ev­er I was read­ing or doing in the woods some­where. I hat­ed sec­ond grade so much that I think I spent most of it nap­ping in the school clin­ic (we had one with sev­er­al lit­tle alcoves and beds. I think I may have been hav­ing migraines, hon­est­ly).
Up until 7th grade, it seemed that the first half of every year was spent review­ing what was done the pre­vi­ous year because so many peo­ple didn’t real­ly learn it or for­got every­thing dur­ing the sum­mer. I kept think­ing, “I’m here why? They could just tell the rest of us when the review is over. I’m wast­ing my life here!” I think it’s telling that I spent much of the 4th and 5th grades act­ing as an unof­fi­cial sub­sti­tute teacher and didn’t miss a bloody thing by not being in my own class.
In 7th grade we final­ly start­ed doing more seri­ous aca­d­e­m­ic work. That’s the first year that I recall any sci­ence con­tent that could actu­al­ly be called sci­ence, since we had lab assign­ments. Before that we had lit­tle texts about ani­mals and geol­o­gy and the plan­ets, but it was all so ele­men­tary that it might as well have been a stack of Lit­tle Gold­en Books. The only dif­fer­ence was that we had lit­tle vocab­u­lary tests and the occa­sion­al find-a-word puz­zle relat­ed to the con­tent. (Dear ele­men­tary teach­ers: You’re doing it wrong, or you cer­tain­ly were in the 70’s! I learned a lot more by read­ing through the pub­lic library and mess­ing around with the micro­scope and lab kits I got for Christ­mas one year. Although I think maybe the lab kit was meant for my sis­ter and she didn’t want it, so I end­ed up with it.)
I also had my first tru­ly out­stand­ing teacher that year, Ms. Keifer. I think her first name might have been Karole Ann, but I’m not sure. In any case, she taught Eng­lish at Lil­burn Mid­dle School, and I was in her home­room. She was won­der­ful! She gave me a copy of Lord of the Rings, with one caveat: I had to pass them on to some­one else when I fin­ished them.
Back then, the Braves gave out free tick­ets to Atlanta area stu­dents who made straight A’s. I won tick­ets sev­er­al years in a row, as I recall. I didn’t hon­est­ly care to go, but it was a fam­i­ly oblig­a­tion thing, so I did — with whichev­er vol­ume of LOTR I was read­ing at the moment in hand. Dad­dy had a great laugh when we encoun­tered anoth­er fam­i­ly sit­ting near us whose son had won tick­ets. Their son had his nose in anoth­er vol­ume of LOTR!
It def­i­nite­ly helped that my cousin, Lori Goss, taught me how to put on make­up dur­ing a vis­it back home to Gads­den that year, which boost­ed my con­fi­dence a lot. I don’t remem­ber if her big sis­ter Kim cut my hair into “wings” or how that hap­pened (I do remem­ber the perm Aunt Bet gave me, which was my first).

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