So as I said earlier today, I’m trying some memoir writing! Here is my first memoir post!
I walked home from school in the first grade. But not in the same way that our grandparents would tell us when they shook their boney fingers in our faces and reminded us of “the good ole days.” One day during recess I decided I had had enough of school and walked home.
In first grade I had some separation issues and anxiety. I would cry everyday in school. The only thing that got me to stop was my teacher writing my name on a paper star at the end of everyday I did not shed a tear.
So one day while feeling particularly anxious during recess, I walked home. On the side of the blacktop basketball court of our playground there was a path that lead directly to my street. If you turned left, my home was two houses up. It was about a 5-minute walk for your average first grader.
The thought process to execute this plan took some time. I came up with the idea a few weeks beforehand. However, I hesitated to follow through because I feared someone would see me and I would get in trouble. The teachers who supervised recess typically hung out on the other side of the playground, so I wasn’t worried about them noticing me as much I worried about my peers noticing me. See, the basketball hoop was practically in front of the path. So I worked to find the right moment when all of the sprouting Michael Jordan’s were distracted. A lot came to mind with this daunting task. Should I distract them myself? Yell, “hey look down at the slide! I see someone eating their own booger!” and make a run for it? Or was that too obvious? I decided to wait for a moment when no one was looking towards the path. Hindsight 20/20, I probably didn’t need to wait for them to be distracted. First graders are inherently oblivious.
So the day came, the basketball players all got into an argument, and the teachers were busy chatting about lesson plans, or their kids, or their sex lives, or whatever elementary school teachers chat about. I made my move. I walked into the path and no one noticed me. With each step I took in my Velcro Sketchers I felt free.
Goodbye losers in school! Hello sitting on the couch with Grandma while eating grilled cheese and watching the View! But wait- what if my Grandmother (who took care of my sister and I while our parents were at work during the day) didn’t make me grilled cheese and let me watch to Joy Behar and Barbara Walters argue? I was supposed to be in school after all. Would she send me back? Was this too risky? I stopped at the end of the path before it got to my street and contemplated the very complex situation. On the pro side, leaving meant that I could have my own version of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I wouldn’t be in school, I wouldn’t miss home, and I would be with Grandma. On the flip side, I could get sent back to school and get in trouble. At the age of 6, I was surprisingly aware that if I had to be sent back to school that it would be a great way to get some more attention and have people realize that I really had issues with being at school. Maybe it would work out in the long run? So knowing that a lot was at stake, I turned left and continued walking to my house. With bravery, excitement, and nerves, I rang my doorbell. Grandma would answer and all would be right again. But after I rang no one came to the door. This was fairly disappointing. Did Grandma not want me during the day? Or was she taking a nap and unaware that the doorbell rang? I stood on my porch for another minute before I left and walked back to school.
As I got towards the end of the path by the basketball hoop, I got nervous that people would see me return and would find out that I had left. So once again, I waited for the right moment and slid back to recess as if nothing had ever happened. It’s probably the most badass thing I have ever done.
I decided not to tell anyone about my adventure. Not my friends, not my parents, not my Grandma. It was my secret until the fifth grade when I realized it was a pretty funny story and there was no way I would have to deal with the repercussions anymore. Grandma confirmed that she was taking a nap, because if she knew that I had showed up on the doorstep during the school day, she would have dragged me back to the first grade without a second thought.
So in the end, I didn’t get grilled cheese, I didn’t watch TV, and I didn’t even get in trouble. The plan I created to guarantee me some extra attention, good or bad, went completely unnoticed and unknown for several years. In the end, I only lost precious recess time.