Friday, April 15, 2022

A Second for Second Grade

This yearbook page popped up in my memories today. It got me smiling about 2nd grade…probably one of my most influential years ever.

- My teacher was new and had her master’s degree. I had never, in my little life, met anyone who wasn’t a doctor or a priest who had one of those!

- The girl who sat next to me had a Bee Gees lunchbox, which lead me to discover the delightful decadence of DISCO!

- During reading time, I went, on a special grant my teacher wrote, to a playwriting class and it was everything I never knew I really wanted. It made my tiny heart sing!

- My baby brother was born halfway through the year, I brought him for show and tell.

- My teacher’s husband and toddler were in a terrible car accident, during the school day. I remember the look on her face when they came to tell her. And her matter of fact, straight forward explanation to us about why she needed to leave in that moment. She told us the truth, nothing more than what she did or didn’t know, and that being the exact moment when it truly and thoroughly sunk into my 8 year-old skull, clear down to my soul, that all of these adults around me had whole and complete lives beyond these bricks and mortar that bound us together during the day.

- Carter and Reagan went head to head….and I knew it was a big deal, but I really didn’t get it.

- I saw 9 to 5 at the drive-in and danced to the theme song in costumes, mine was a candy striper, for our class’s PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) performance. I fell completely and totally in love with Dolly Parton…still am. 

- We had a class newspaper 

- We made butter 

- We made paper

- I wrote a poem about flies that I still have memorized to this day.

- I met and made my best friends.

- We walked home “alone,” together, for the very first time that year. We would continue to do so, in one combination or another through the summer of 7th grade, when we moved to a different neighborhood, before moving completely away right before I started high school.

- I got my first scrapbook. 

- I saw my first live performance of a play.

- I got my first diary.

- I had my first crush.

- My mom cut my hair and made almost all of my clothes. She was pretty good at it. My aunt made me a dress and I had a hand-knit confetti sweater with a tie belt and matching yellow double knit pants made by a neighbor lady. (I’m wearing them in the photo at the bottom. My back is turned to the camera). It was the last year I really wore very much that was homemade. Life got busy. I wish I had appreciated it more.

- I wanted to be a writer and a teacher and a nun and an actor. My true self is somewhere in that mixture.

- I went by my middle name, Teresa. She’s still in that mix somewhere too.

- And life was magical and terrifying and changing and good and awful and wide and wonderful and all just waiting to be tried. And it is probably the year of my childhood that I remember most, thanks in large part to the people pictured here that made it so.