♥Letter 1 in a series of love letters to my friends.♥
Dear Elementary School Friends,
I didn’t want to go to school. Even though kindergarten was only a half day, I didn’t want to leave home. My grandmom had to hold my hand the whole way to school while I cried. The walk to school in the morning always seemed so long even though it was only 2 blocks away. I didn’t like myself then. I was awkward and shy. I didn’t really know how to play with others yet. What I didn’t realize is that you didn’t either. We were all scared.
We were a small but mighty bunch. You were my first introduction to “friends”. You taught me how to socialize and work as a group. Even when some of you were mean, and there were a few, I was learning. I was learning to be strong and to be brave. I was learning that names would only hurt me if I let them. I was learning not to be affected by others opinions of me. If I ever offended any of you, I’m sorry. Kids can be cruel and I hope that is not your memory of me.
We were confused because school was a confusing place, especially Catholic school. Bells rang to signal lunch. We needed permission to use the rest room. We were given fluoride tablets before recess. We were told to go here and go there. The problem was no one ever explained why we were doing any of this. So we were confused but continued to obey orders.
You taught me that in a small town our families were close and that meant so much to our development. So many of you lived near me. Our parents knew each other from their childhood. This was great but also made it harder to get away with things so we had to trust each other.
Together we discovered what style was in our uniforms. Pushing the limits of our knee socks and penny loafers, we dared to be defiant. Dress down days were so stressful weren’t they? It was our only chance to show some individuality. I wanted you all to like my outfits. I hope that you did because I liked yours.
We counted to 100 for the honor of getting a punching balloon and paraded on Halloween like it was the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. You laughed when I almost fell into a birthday cake. You don’t know this but I tell that story as my most embarrassing moment. It was a surprise and I was responsible for getting the cake to the front of the room while everyone sang Happy Birthday. I bumped into closet picking up the cake and made a loud noise. Everyone heard and turned around. In an effort to keep the cake a surprise, I turned to stand in front of it but I slipped and fell into a sitting position. I just missed the cake. You probably don’t even remember this yet I hold onto it for some reason.
I learned to ride my bike in our school parking lot. I also learned to drive a stick shift there in high school. I remember being afraid of going into the grassy area because that is where the “big kids” played. Getting caught in a game of big kid dodge ball seemed worse than death. That parking lot hosted bazaars, recess, many of my smiles, and my tears.
Did we take time to thank the moms that came to serve lunch? What about our teachers that spent hours trying to educate us? I don’t remember but I hope they know they were appreciated. The school is closed for good now. All that remains are these memories.
You were all there for the beginning of my journey. When a nun asked me to sing “Do Re Mi” in a school program, It was the first time I thought I could be a singer. I didn’t know at the time it would become my biggest love. Little did I know that you would all witness this moment. The one that changed me forever. It makes me wonder how many of your life changing moments I witnessed. I hope each and every one of you had one.
Remember the day when I fell and chipped my tooth on the coping outside of school? I ran away so you wouldn’t see me cry. You had seen me cry enough. Every time I smile I’m reminded of you because that chip is still there.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.