As I walked in my first grade classroom in December 1956, I wondered what all the excitement in the back of the room was about. The kids were buzzing around a mushy, malodorous pile of paper towels on the floor. “What happened?”
“Belinda puked!” Jody giggled and pointed.
“What’s puke?” I was glad someone else asked because I didn’t know either. It sounded like a bad word and Mother had so far prevented me from hearing as many bad words as I would have liked.. Jamey Alston picked up the corner of the towel and revealing a puddle of puke, educating me and several others. Nancy Pearson walked in just in time to puke when she saw it.
Everyone but Belinda and Nancy thought it was hilarious. The teacher shooed us out so the janitor could clean it up before someone else wanted to know what puke was. What a great day! I learned a very useful word and the class got an extra recess. I also learned I didn’t want to be a janitor, my first taste of career conseling.
Most days at school were all right. I loved recess and lunch, but they didn’t last long enough. Sometimes the classes got boring and I daydreamed. Miss Angie said I was a scatterbrain, meaning that I didn’t pay attention, drew pictures in class, lost my homework, and chattered to my friends. She even said I could make straight A’s if I only tried. I was so pleased since it was certainly all true! I thought scatterbrained was good till she sent a note home. Daddy and Mother didn’t agree that scatterbrained sounded good and explained it in a way I couldn’t confuse!
Trouble always seemed to be looking for me. How was I supposed to know what I wasn’t supposed to say in class? My teacher, Miss Angie’s face got red when I told her, “My mother said she wouldn’t take her dog to see Dr. Lewis!”
Putting her hand on her hip and snapped at me, “I’ll have you know my daddy is a very good doctor!” Then she made me stand at the blackboard with my nose in a chalk ring. I got in trouble again when I got home and told Mother how mean Miss Angie was to me. After that, Mother called one of the other mothers and told her she wouldn’t be able to help with the class Christmas party the next day because the baby was sick. The baby didn’t look sick to me, but it seemed like a good time to practice to keep my mouth shut.own bathroom