8 minute memoir
I'm way behind on these but what else is new?
Being 8 years old.
eight. I barely remember it and yet I remember it all. I remember eight was maybe the first time I felt truly bullied at school. It's not a fun memory but it happened a lot that year. It caused me to get in a fight, to slap a girl across the face and to be sent to the principals office. The principal was actually on my side in the whole thing so I really didn't get in too much trouble. She gave the other girl a lecture about pushing people too far. In that scenario I was people. She had a big ol beehive. It was 1975 and that was probably kind of out of style by then, but not in my little small town.
My school was a super small country school so our principal was also my teacher that year. Mrs. McCullough. I thought she was pretty keen. But one day she made me stay in at recess because I couldn't count the little stack of coins she gave us and get the right answer. I kept counting the nickels and dimes wrong because I thought the bigger coins should be worth more than the tiny ones. So I guess that was also my first experience of being dead wrong and someone calling me out on it. She sat at her desk grading papers. I felt a slow panic about missing out on lunch. Missing out on lunch meant I'd probably get left out when I finally got there and probably left out at lunch recess too. The panic did nothing to improve my counting skills. She kept saying "you'll get it, try again". She seemed to know I really wanted her to just rescue me from the torture and I was being pretty dramatic about the whole thing and she wasn't having it. I finally got the right answer but it was probably the beginning of a long and worrying relationship with math.
I wore a lot of polyester back then and spandex like material. Our school had bats in the attic that would occasionally make their way down in the hallways. We had delicious lunches with fluffy rolls and yummy mashed potatoes and gravy and peanut butter bars that were to die for. I had a best friend I fought with all the time. I feel unsettled when I think about most of my elementary school years. I don't know exactly why. I just felt a low level of anxiety a lot. I hated sports and I was terrible at the types of things they're always encouraging 8 year olds to do. Playing kickball or tag is not very fun when you are a slow runner. You're always letting down your team or "it" during tag, which gets real old. That year someone made fun of how I ran and that pretty much put me off running for the rest of my life too. I mean, not really, but yeah, kinda. I blamed it on the fact that I was always wearing fancy little black patent leather shoes most of the time. Then the same kid made fun of me all year for saying that it was because of my shoes. I was always trying to not get messed up and stay pristine. I was prissy in the sort of annoying way when kids don't like getting their clothes messed up. I was more the kind of kid you'd find sitting under a tree reading Little House on the Prairie or Trixie Belden. That doesn't usually count for much when you're 8. Other eight year olds don't exactly admire that as a
I wanted to be a writer when I grew up and I sent away to one of those
things in the back of a magazine that tells you if you have promise or
not. They sent back and said I showed a lot of promise and I should
sign up for classes. I'd imagine they were pricey correspondence
courses. I was just pretty thrilled they liked my stuff. I had written
a story about a little girl and Christmas called "Lydia's Christmas". I
didn't know anyone named Lydia so I was pretty impressed with my
creativity. Imagine my surprise when my mom wasn't too keen on that
plan. WHAT? But they said I had talent mom.