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School is starting Thursday and for the first time in my life I’m watching from the other side of the proverbial school bus window. Yes, it’s true. I am about to be the mother of a school kid.

Over the next thirteen years I will watch as my child returns to me each day a little older and wiser.She will learn to skip rope, make fake lava, exhale the multiplication tables, spit out the capital of the 50 states on demand, discuss Hamlet in detail, and learn to calculate pi.

She will also learn to dress funny, hide gum in her mouth, text message her best friend without being detected by teachers, cuss, and spell the word “obfuscate” with first-hand knowledge of what it means.

The other day in the car she asked me what school would be like.

“Oh, you’ll learn a lot of really amazing things,” I told her sagely. “You’ll also make many great memories. Things you will want to tell your children about.”

“What do you remember about school?” She wanted to know.

I hesitated before spouting something lame about recess and how much I liked my friends and teachers. She’d caught me. What exactly were my memories? What did I think about when I remembered my school years?

I decided when I got home to make a list. I wanted to isolate the things that really stand out to me about each of the years that I was in school. The only rule I gave myself was that it had to be the first thing that popped into my head about that particular year. I wanted to see what really mattered to me in my pedagogic experience.

Here is what I came up with:

Kindergarten – We made stone soup. It was soup…from a stone. I believe we threw in other things like carrots and peas, but we were led to believe the stone provided the extra flavor. Like a Lipton dry soup pouch.

1st Grade – I farted really loud during story time. It was very embarrassing. I think I went home.

2nd Grade – I have this very clear memory of being at the top of the slide and somebody (I think it was one of the ‘bussed-in kids’ from the inner city) pointed out the word “fuck” scratched into the paint. I had no idea what it meant, but I was struck by the reverence with which the kid stared at it. I think the kid’s name was “Val”, but for a long time I thought he was saying “Vowel.”

3rd Grade – I was playing soccer with the boys at recess and looking across the field at the girls sitting by the swings playing with dolls. Even at the time I knew I was having way more fun than they were. Pansies.

4th Grade – My first kiss. It was with a boy named Cole. He and I had been surrounded by 40 or more kids at recess. They were all chanting, “Kiss her! Kiss her!” It was all very romantic.

5th Grade – I got teased for having hairy legs. I mean reeeeally hairy legs. I was quickly shamed into shaving.

6th Grade – Cole, my 4th grade love, had not only taught me how to kiss, he had also taught me how to cuss. Two years later, I could cuss with sailor-like proficiency. My girlfriends from church cornered me in the school bathroom this year and conducted an intervention. I would not cuss again until I was 23 years old. It was like riding a bicycle.

7th Grade – I joined the junior high band. We had this teacher whose breath reeked of Folgers-scented ashtray. This one time…in band class…he grabbed my flute and played it without asking. When he gave it back, it stank for days. I felt violated.

8th Grade – First day of school in a new town: I was handing papers back to the person behind me. I couldn’t reach her, so I tipped my chair back to get an extra inch or two in. I crashed backwards, taking my desk and all of the papers with me. Nobody. Said. A. Word. I changed schools the next week.

9th Grade – I have no clear memory of the 9th grade. Something about selling hotdogs.

10th Grade – I left the private Christian school I had been going to for 2 years to go to public school. My best friend there had an abortion that year. We used to speak to each other only in French.

11th Grade – I went back to the Christian school. My best friend from the previous year came to school with me one day. I told everyone she was a foreign exchange student and I translated for her all day. When my locker mate found out it was all a big lie, she cried. I don’t lie (much) anymore.

12th Grade – I was in a pageant, which I refuse to go into in any great detail here. Suffice it to say it was very embarrassing. My roommate (who ended up winning) left a douche box in the bathroom trashcan. I am still contemplating that douche box.

So that’s it. My list of the 13 most prominent memories of my school years. I think it explains a lot. I think it may also be the best argument for homeschooling my child I can possibly think of.

School starts Thursday.

Here we go.

TAGS: , , , , , , , , ,

ERIKA RAE is the author of Devangelical, a humor memoir about growing up Evangelical (Emergency Press, December, 2012). She is editor-in-chief at Scree Magazine and nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. Erika earned her MA in Lit­er­a­ture and Lin­guis­tics from the Uni­ver­sity of Hong Kong and to this day can ask where the bath­room is in Can­tonese, although it is likely that she will not under­stand the answer. In her dream world, she fan­cies her­self a kung fu mas­ter clev­erly dis­guised as a gen­tle moun­tain dweller, eagerly antic­i­pat­ing dan­ger at the bot­tom of every latte. When she is not whipping one of her 3 children and denying them bread with their broth, she runs an ISP with her husband from their home in the Colorado Rockies.

2 responses to “My Top 13 Memories of the School Years”

  1. Erika Rae says:

    Original Comment Thread Below:

    119 Comments »

    Comment by Megan DiLullo |Edit This
    2009-08-18 20:47:25
    This is quite the list, Erika.

    So many traumatic memories are becoming dislodged in Megan Land. I have mixed feelings about this. Though, having met you, I believe that you can handle all of the upcoming hi jinx and semi-mortifying episodes that will arise for your children with grace and ease.

    And farts are funny. I’m sorry, but that rule never changes.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-18 20:58:16
    I hope my kids can actually tell me about their mortifications at school. I don’t think I told my mom about a single one. Except maybe the hairy legs. I needed her to buy me razors, after all. It sort of ended badly with her reverse-shaming me about wanting to shave my legs “at such a young age.”

    I can’t wait to read the list from Megan Land. I’ll bet it’s way better than mine.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Megan DiLullo |Edit This
    2009-08-19 13:28:24
    I don’t know, Erika.

    I was thinking about this list in the car today… It kind of scared me.

    What happens in elementary school, may just have to stay in elementary school.

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    Comment by James D. Irwin |Edit This
    2009-08-18 21:14:55
    4th Grade is my favourite, due to the line ”It was all very romantic.”

    of course I loved it all to varying degrees.

    I don’t miss school at all.

    soccer rules.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 05:53:35
    Exactly. And playing with dolls does not.

    I saw my 4th grade boyfriend years later – after having not seen him for several years. He was a complete disappointment and sort of looked like he was stuck in the Duran Duran era. In other words, he was still so 4th grade.

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    Comment by Marni Grossman |Edit This
    2009-08-18 22:09:00
    “I got teased for having hairy legs. I mean reeeeally hairy legs. I was quickly shamed into shaving.”

    This happens to the best of us, Erika.

    I came far too late to that game. Eighth grade, actually.

    I was playing “Scout” (one of three Scouts, to be precise) in our play of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” My costume- when I wasn’t in the ham suit- consisted of jean overalls and a t-shirt. I looked down at my legs and knew that the time had come.

    “Once you start,” my mother warned, “You can never stop.”

    Wise words.

    As always, enjoyed this immensely.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 06:00:06
    Thank you, Marni.

    You were lucky. You got to make the call yourself. I think it may have been a group decision in my case, in which the entire 5th grade class voted.

    My mom said the same thing. I’ll probably say the same thing, too. I’m looking forward to the day when we can look at our daughters and say (because it’s so affordable in the future), “Well, in the olden days, we used to shave. But that’s so *inefficient*. Let’s just go get laser hair removal done this weekend and you’ll never have to worry about it again.”

    What is a “ham suit”?

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    Comment by Marni Grossman |Edit This
    2009-08-19 11:58:56
    You know that scene in TKaM where Jem and Scout get attacked by Mr. Ewell? They’re on the way home from some sort of school pageant, in which Scout is dressed up like a ham. Hence the ham suit.

    I’ve always secretly suspected that I was the ham suit Scout because my drama teacher wanted to camoflauge my face.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 12:13:49
    Ah! A HAM suit!

    Now that is funny. Did it, like, have pineapple rings and maraschino cherries on it?

    And you have a gorgeous face! Shame on your drama teacher!

    Reply here

    Comment by Zara Potts |Edit This
    2009-08-18 23:08:46
    What a lovely list!
    Funny and sweet and so relatable!!
    My most traumatic school memory involves a pink crocheted dress with pom poms and satin. I thought I looked amazing. Everyone else laughed. No more pink dress. I may have even burned it.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 06:05:58
    Question, Zara – how old were you? Did someone make it for you?

    I hate this kind of story. It just sucks. I found an old plaid kilt-type outfit from my mother’s closet once. I thought it was amazing, and so I wore it to school, complete with beret. (I was in junior high) You can imagine how that went over. Plus, as the day went on, it reeked stronger and stronger of mothballs, in which my mother had been packing it. I finally called around lunchtime for mom to come pick me up. I told her I wasn’t feeling well, which was true. I had a splitting headache both from being teased and from the close-up smell of mothballs. This seems to be a pattern in my life.

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    Comment by Zara Potts |Edit This
    2009-08-19 10:41:56
    Hi Erika
    I think I was about nine. I made my mother buy me the damn dress. She told me she didn’t think it was a good idea but I insisted.
    It just sucks when you wear the wrong thing.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 11:26:04
    Indeed.

    I wish I were Rich Ferguson. Then anything I wore would be right.

    Comment by Zara Potts |Edit This
    2009-08-19 11:29:29
    Exactly! Oh and the mothball smell! Isn’t it the worst? I swallowed one when I was four which led to me getting my stomach pumped out. Mothballs hold a unique terror for me… nasty little things.

    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 11:56:37
    Oh my. I can’t even imagine that level of terror and illness. They do look a lot like candy to a four-year-old, too. Blech.

    My mom has a thing for mothballs. I’ve never understood it. I’ve never seen a single moth chomp in my clothing and I’ve never used a mothball a day in my life. WTF?

    Comment by D.R. Haney |Edit This
    2009-08-19 11:58:36
    I once had the brilliant idea of buying a pair of purple Converse, hoping to start a trend, against the advice of my parents.

    For once, my parents were right.

    Comment by Zara Potts |Edit This
    2009-08-19 12:06:48
    Did you actually buy them? Or did you listen to your wise parents? I’m picking you ignored them and the trend didn’t catch on as hoped…?

    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 12:15:42
    Please tell us you bought them. (Wolf-like salivation for a story)

    Comment by D.R. Haney |Edit This
    2009-08-19 12:32:35
    I did buy them. I wore them to school, I think, twice, and two really hot girls immediately starting referring to me as “Purple D,” bursting into derisive giggles each time. It was truly a “What was I thinking?” moment.

    Comment by D.R. Haney |Edit This
    2009-08-19 12:33:17
    Er, that was meant to be “started referring to me…”, obviously.

    Comment by Zara Potts |Edit This
    2009-08-19 12:35:50
    Brave choice, fella. Purple D, indeed!

    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 13:02:50
    Oh man. Hey, but at least they noticed you, right? I dare you to wear them to your next reading. You can heckle your audience with triumphant shouts of, “Whose laughing now?” Heh.

    Comment by D.R. Haney |Edit This
    2009-08-19 13:04:56
    Well, my next reading is on Saturday, followed by another on Sunday, so I’d better hit the shoe store immediately.

    Reply here

    Comment by Simon Smithson |Edit This
    2009-08-19 01:32:13
    You… you didn’t curse for 11 years?

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 06:06:27
    It was a very effective intervention.

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    Comment by D.R. Haney |Edit This
    2009-08-19 11:59:48
    I’m glad you didn’t curse for eleven years, otherwise we would never had a line as funny as: “It was like riding a bicycle.”

    Reply here

    Comment by Amanda |Edit This
    2009-08-19 05:32:23
    Ohhhh this formula is genius! I love everything about it!

    A longstanding friend (who might be my own “first thing that pops to mind, concerning grade 11″ memory) has a thirteen-year-old son, and the things she shares about his school life are astounding. He’s a good little guy, super-smart and quick, cute and unthreatening so all the young ladies love him.

    Each time she shares something about him, or about how his experiences make her feel about herself (for instance, at age 32, she is the official hot mom as voted by her son’s boobie-staring friends), I also think of myself at whatever age…like, I remember SO much about 13, yikes! It’s crazy to think one of my friends has a child who will one day remember that much about this moment in time…and so on.

    Are you once again excited about school supplies, too, or at kindergarten, is all that a bit premature?

    : )

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 06:35:14
    And to think – 32 seemed so old to me when I was 13! I’m 36 now, which means I’ll be 42 when my daughter is 13…ARRGH I feel a crisis coming on.

    I WAS exited about school supplies – but it turns out they just want a $50 donation, and they provide the supplies. Kind of bummed.

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    Comment by Amanda |Edit This
    2009-08-19 06:51:50
    I’m 36, too, and the other morning a guy I talk to at my neighbourhood café actually said, “wow, you’ll be wanting to have babies pretty soon, in that case!” Gah! I don’t what’s weirder–friends with children who are the same age we were when we met and started partying together (ie: my friend’s 16-year-old daughter), or the fact that time’s a-ticking and whether I want them or not, the day is on the horizon when I won’t be able to make ‘em anymore.

    So un-fun, the official supplying of supplies! I looooooved picking smelly markers, glossy white erasers, those plastic pencils with little bullets of lead that you pulled out the top once dull and shoved up the bottom end to make a fresh point come out the top. Sooo awesome.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 11:58:31
    I HAD FORGOTTEN ALL ABOUT THOSE PENCILS!!!!!

    Screw the $50 donation, I’m going school supply shopping. I need those pencils. And a Trapper Keeper. Yeah…a Trapper Keeper.

    Comment by Megan DiLullo |Edit This
    2009-08-19 13:32:12
    Ahhhh, the Trapper Keeper. I had forgotten about those.

    In Jr. High, there was this girl, Maria Bonita, she was a real bad ass. She had a Menudo Trapper Keeper, in fact she had Menudo everything. And if you didn’t like Menudo, she would get her cousins to beat you up.

    Seriously.

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    Comment by J. Hova |Edit This
    2009-08-19 07:19:00
    Fret not – I’ve got you beat by about four years. I’ll be, like, old-old! Thank God for my protective layer of immaturity….

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    Comment by Matt |Edit This
    2009-08-19 06:25:26
    Great list.

    My parents sent me to a Christian school for Kindergarten. Within the first hour of the first day I’d gotten in trouble for questioning Genesis. Little did I know this would be a defining moment in my relationship with organized religion.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 06:37:03
    HA! You were an early bloomer. How long did you attend the school?

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    Comment by Matt |Edit This
    2009-08-19 09:19:57
    Kindergarten and 1st grade. Then my parents got a divorce, sold the house, and we moved out to the suburbs.

    It was a non-denominational school, and we weren’t really Christian, though my dad’s side of the family was. According to my mother she enrolled me there because it was the best-rated school in the area.

    The only things I really remember are morning prayer (I always made stuff up to fit in) and coloring exercises with Bible scenes on them. Including one of Jesus on the cross, with the thorns and the spear wound and all that.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 09:42:29
    Wow – a coloring page with Jesus on the cross. I mean, I get it…sort of. But it’s like – would you give a kid a coloring page with someone dying in the electric chair? Or hanging on a rope? Don’t forget to color the eyes bugging out, kids!

    Comment by Matt |Edit This
    2009-08-19 10:46:39
    Now that I think about it, I believe there may have been one of Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt, and one of David taking on Goliath (spec. the exact skull-crushing moment the stone connects). I think there was one of the “Rise, Lazarus!” bit as well. We colored them and hung them on the wall for parent-teacher night.

    I wonder if this might have anything to do with my profound sensetivity towards violence as a child?

    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 11:28:16
    I’ve had an idea for a post on Bible stories for awhile…I think you may have just inspired me to do it. Thanks, Matt!

    Comment by Matt |Edit This
    2009-08-19 11:42:14
    It’s what I do. I’m like a muse in that way. Except sexier, and with more ass-kicking.

    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 11:59:46
    We could all use a sexy, ass-kicking muse once in a while.

    Comment by Simon Smithson |Edit This
    2009-08-19 14:55:52
    Oh man, I thought I’d found my muse for a while there. It was all very upsetting to discover I was wrong. Because suddenly, I had to work much less hard.

    Reply here

    Comment by Matt |Edit This
    2009-08-19 09:25:15
    By that age I was already a huge dinosaur nut (as opposed to now, when I am a dinosaur nut who is huge, comparatively speaking), and could rattle off all sorts of multi-syllabic Latinate names and talk about the various stages of the Mesozoic in terms of millions of years. All of this stuff my teacher was reading about 6 days and of that just did not jive with what I already knew, and when I started asking questions, I was punished. Which I’ve noticed often tends to be a trend with major religions….

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    Comment by Mary |Edit This
    2009-08-19 06:29:37
    Erica, I’m shocked at how much we have in common from junior high and high school … except that I couldn’t speak French. This piece was totally hilarious. Good luck to your daughter.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 06:49:03
    The thing that bums me out is that I can’t remember with such clarity any successes I may have had – or even academic moments.

    Thanks for the luck!

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    Comment by Irene Zion |Edit This
    2009-08-19 07:14:00
    Erika Rae,

    You really didn’t curse all the time between fifth grade and the time you were 23?
    What could those girls have said to you to affect your behavior to such a degree?
    what changed when you were 23?

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 08:36:48
    I know! Can you fucking believe that???

    No, it’s true, as a matter of fact. I was very zealous with my brand of religion.

    They told me Jesus didn’t like it when I cussed. It hurt his feelings.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 08:38:59
    Oh – sorry. Forgot to answer the last question. What changed? I didn’t believe them anymore. I think it matters a lot more how we treat other people than if we say “shit” instead of “shoot.” It’s just vowels. (Thanks to Second grader “Val” for that one, eh?)

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    Comment by Brin Friesen |Edit This
    2009-08-19 07:39:58
    Your kids are so lucky to have you.

    Don’t fucking tell me you didn’t swear though. You sailor you.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 08:50:12
    I didn’t, though! I seriously swore off swearing for all that time!

    (And believe me, it was delicious when I started back up)

    It’s kind of like when I was a vegetarian-except-for-bacon for two years. That experience gave me an appreciation for meat. I am aware of where it comes from every time I eat it now – and am thankful. Same with swearing. I hold it in my mouth like a delicacy before letting it out.

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    Comment by John |Edit This
    2009-08-19 08:44:47
    I’m going to jump on the cussing thing here, too. (Sorry to beat a dead horse, but it was looking at me funny.) 11 years?! I can’t realistically go two waking hours without accidentally letting one slip. I work in a “professional” office environment in the buckle of the non-cussing Bible-belt, and still they slip out with frightening regularity. I can usually avoid dropping the “F-bomb”, but shit is so common to me that I fail to recognize it as filthy language.
    Of course I was raised by a very foul mouthed family, and when I started cussing at a very young age no one even really noticed until that time in grade school when I used “fuck” on a homework assignment.

    You have a very good (and amusing) memory. The memories I DO have I can’t localize to any particular year, unless they involve the teacher.

    Great post. You always so greatly amuse me.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 09:05:28
    Where do you live, John? I think we’ve discussed this before, but it escapes me. I was in a little suburb of OKC at the time called Bethany. It’s the turquoise cross clasp in the middle of the Bible belt. Denomination called Nazarene. We weren’t even supposed to go to the movie theater. Big hearted people, but no cussing.

    See, my family neeeever cussed. Well, except for once when I drove my mother to a “goddammit”. As in “Goddammit, Erika. If you don’t stop complaining, I am pulling the car over NOW!” My grandpa almost got out the ol’ whipping belt when he heard me say “dang” once. My husband’s father hit the roof not too long ago when my husband said the word “fuck” to him. I wrote about that here:

    http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/erae/2009/01/fornication-under-consent-of-the-king/

    My dad said “rats!” a lot. That was about the most you ever got out of him.

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    Comment by John |Edit This
    2009-08-19 09:54:11
    I am at Altus Air Force Base in southwestern Oklahoma. Lots of good fire-and-brimstone Baptists to look at me like I just killed their dogs every time I say shit. And the few times “fuck” slips out, I might as well have slapped their children. Sometimes, I think I subconsciously let them slip just for the reaction. I have never claimed to be anything but juvenile in the things I find amusing.

    After the time I turned in the homework assignment with the word “fuck” in it several times, I clearly remember my dad yelling at me “when the fuck have you ever heard me say fuck?!” The answer to that question, had I not been terrified, would have been “every day since the womb”. Of course, I don’t think I even knew what a womb was at the time. I’m still a little uncertain. That’s where the stork drops the babies, right?

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 10:12:25
    Altus! Well that explains a few things now, don’t it? ; )

    I, too, am uncertain what a womb is. Which may explain why I keep having babies. I’m going to hang a sign on the door for the stork. “Out of order.” Three is enough! Ha!

    Um…what was the assignment? Too funny.

    Comment by John |Edit This
    2009-08-19 11:43:36
    Uh, Erika and J., I’m not so sure the baby-dropping storks can read. You might want to get a large, barking dog. That should scare them away.

    The assignment in which I wrote the word “fuck” repeatedly was, if I remember correctly, a book-report for a book I didn’t consider worth my time. I was reading something good at the time I’m sure, seeing as I have always had impeccable taste in literature, and had to read whatever they make you read in elementary school. This raised my pre-pubecent ire.
    (I always forget that tones of voice don’t come over well in writing. So, I swear that I am not really an elitist snob about my taste in literature.)

    Comment by Amanda |Edit This
    2009-08-19 09:23:16
    In my house, “Jesus Christ” was a complete sentence. But, at my grandparents’ house, you’d get a far more hefty smack for saying that, than if you let the F-word fly.

    : )

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 09:53:24
    Yes, exactly. That fell under the category of blasphemy – or taking the Lord’s name in vain. That was a 10 Commandment breaker. That would be about the worst I could say. I’ve still never said it.

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    Comment by jmb |Edit This
    2009-08-19 10:56:07
    Farting at story time, obsessions with dirty words and douche boxes, hairy legs, underage kissing kissing and more kissing – obviously you need Jesus.

    Freak.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 11:37:26
    Don’t we all…don’t we all….

    And especially because of douche boxes.

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    Comment by jmb |Edit This
    2009-08-20 20:15:48
    There’s no douche in heaven.

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    Comment by D.R. Haney |Edit This
    2009-08-19 12:03:48
    A question no one else seems to have asked: Why, in the tenth grade, did you only communicate with your best friend in French? Was it to obscure what you were saying from listening others, or because you simply could?

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 12:08:50
    Both. Ha!

    I’m sure we were ridiculously annoying. Much worse than my friend Andrew with whom I only spoke in sign language in the 11th grade. The worst part was, we only knew about 30 signs, which we gleaned from a book we found in study hall. Mostly we insulted each other’s mothers.

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    Comment by D.R. Haney |Edit This
    2009-08-19 12:28:21
    As in “Yo’ mama”? I’d like to see the sign for that.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 17:45:39
    We were such tards. We knew such basic signs. All we could come up with were things like, “Your parents are brothers” or “Your mother is your sister.”

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    Comment by Nina |Edit This
    2009-08-20 03:55:18
    My friends and I also used sign language in the 6th grade to communicate all day behind our teacher’s back. I find it ironic now since she was partially deaf. I made up an alphabet and then we would sign words to each other. We got very good as you can imagine. I think it was around the time that that song came out Jenny Jenny 867-5309.
    Weirdly enough, I have a difficult time learning the real ASL alphabet because the other one is still in there.

    Erika – can you teach my girls and I French? I am unqualified.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-20 07:08:26
    That is so funny that you made up your own alphabet! Do you still remember it? Maybe you could remarket it as some kind of Esperanto spin-off. International in nature. hee.

    French you say? I’m sort of rusty, but I could definitely do beginner to intermediate stuff. Sounds like you know a little? That’d be fun! E major would love it, too. Let me know if you’re serious!

    Comment by Nina |Edit This
    2009-08-20 07:52:37
    I’m serious about the French – I started looking for something in Boulder a few weeks ago.

    Reply here

    Comment by Smibst |Edit This
    2009-08-19 16:08:56
    great list…

    I still have a couple more years before my daughters head off to school…but I feel ya…

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-20 07:10:10
    Oh man, it’s turned out to be kind of an emotional day! Crazy! I thought this day would never come and now – her early childhood is officially over. [Wild, inconsolable sobbing follows]

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Rich Ferguson |Edit This
    2009-08-19 17:38:51
    Hey Erika:

    This was beautiful. Also, I couldn’t help but notice your memory of first grade. The you back then actually shares a lot with the me of today. Whenever anyone reads me a story I fart. Actually, not really. But the thought of doing so does amuse me immensely.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-19 17:43:18
    Did you fart when you read this?

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Rachel Pollon |Edit This
    2009-08-19 20:00:35
    I love this list! I’m inspired to think of my own. And I’m thinking you have your inspiration for at least 13 more posts here!

    It must be so intense sending your daughter off to school. Great and wild and nerve-wracking, all of it. It will be really interesting.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-20 07:01:08
    Do it! Post it on Facebook when you’re done and tag me. (Now that we’re Facebook friends!)

    It was crazy this morning. She was SO EXCITED. She even wore her pink glitter shoes for the occasion. Can’t wait to hear all about it this afternoon.

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    Comment by Aaron Dietz |Edit This
    2009-08-19 20:10:55
    Erika–awesome list! I want to steal your idea! Can I, can I? I’ll give you credit! It’ll be fun!

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-20 06:54:31
    Steal away! Send it around on Facebook. Could be fun for all! (And I’d LOVE to see your list when you’re done!)

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    Comment by Aaron Dietz |Edit This
    2009-08-20 19:05:24
    I will do so…hopefully very soon.

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    Reply here

    Comment by josie |Edit This
    2009-08-20 06:24:13
    It looks like you’ve got the makings of a nice Facebook/MySpace game here. Everyone is going to walk down this first-memory lane of their school years.

    So were all those moves coincidence or do you just always run from trouble and embarrassment?

    Hey, it’s Thursday… did you cry when she got on the bus?

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-20 06:57:57
    Ha – I just wrote Aaron something to this effect.

    You know, moving was a pattern in my life. Every 2-4 years as a kid. My dad’s to blame for that. But yes, I ran from trouble and embarrassment as much as I could. So glad to get away from those awkward years!

    And oh man – I haven’t felt overly emotional about the whole school thing until this morning. I was innocently making myself a latte when *WHAM* I just started bawling. We drove her to the school – all the big kids gave the entering kindergartners a sunflower – she was grinning ear to ear the whole time. Kid’s gonna be OK.

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    Comment by josie |Edit This
    2009-08-20 15:45:38
    Ahh poor thing – you’re gonna be OK too.
    lol
    Sunflowers from the older kids?
    What a beautiful concept!
    Kudos to that school.

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    Comment by Megan DiLullo |Edit This
    2009-08-20 09:11:33
    Awwwww, flowers, that is so sweet. Since I went to same elementary school as your daughter, I KNOW that she will be fine.

    It’s you I’m a little worried about.

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    Comment by Megan |Edit This
    2009-08-20 10:52:26
    You SHOULD totally homeschool your daughter because you’re so awesome and most teachers are…not.

    How do the homeschooling moms do it, ever wonder?? It’s an amazing feat. Maybe unhealthy in some regards but certainly an accomplishment.

    This was funny and sad and sweet. “Folgers-scented ashtray” oh I loved that line.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-20 13:57:38
    My husband’s actually been looking into it. Turns out homeschooling is on the rise. Whereas it used to be more for religious reasons, a lot of families are doing it simply as a lifestyle choice. Parents with non-traditional work schedules see it as a choice for efficiency.

    Very cool – and yet, wow. You hit the nail on the head. Quite an accomplishment by the parents.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Brin |Edit This
    2009-08-20 10:59:54
    I just noticed your claim of a better kiss than my first kiss. Hmmmm…

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-20 13:05:42
    Aw, I’m just messin’ with you, Brin. (snicker)

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    Comment by Don Mitchell |Edit This
    2009-08-20 14:24:59
    I have spit on my monitor now, thanks. Erika, your stuff is hilarious but I confess I dirtied my monitor again over “when the fuck have you ever heard me say fuck.”

    Here’s one thing I learned from bringing up two boys: it’s a waste of time to ask “how was school today?” or any permutation of that question.

    What you say is, “Did anybody get in trouble today?”

    Then you get a report you can use.

    I tested it out on a first-grade girl, and it worked with her, too.

    As for me, I was sent home from first grade, first day, with a note. I jumped over my desk and Mrs. Yanagihara didn’t like that. Hey, finally being in first grade was exciting!

    Oops, now you know the answer to one of my secret questions.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-22 07:04:09
    Don – OK, so I’ve been testing your question and it totally works. I keep asking her for details of the day, and get very little. Finally I asked her who got in trouble – and I got all sorts of info. THANKS!

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    Comment by Don Mitchell |Edit This
    2009-08-24 10:29:18
    You’re welcome. I love it when a simple thing like that does just what it’s supposed to.

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    Comment by Greg Olear |Edit This
    2009-08-20 14:42:04
    The day I put the kids on the bus — I have a few years to go — will be the happiest day of my life. Congrats — you’ve crossed some sort of parental milestone.

    My wife learned in her graduate psychology studies that everybody hates high school and has a crappy time there because it’s part of the way we develop. It’s a theory, of course, but it sure makes sense. How else to explain the douche box?

    This was a great list– thanks for sharing.

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    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-22 07:03:00
    That is a fantastic theory. Man, I’ve been really hung up on that douche box. Now it all makes sense.

    And it’s only been 2 days – but I am loving having her at school!

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Gloria |Edit This
    2009-08-21 20:17:49
    Wait. Just wait. Until your child is in the 10th grade and she is the one supporting the friend through the aboortion. Or, godfobid, she’s having it herself. Un-fucking-real.

    I’m sending you a super cape, an army helmet, and a bottle of whiskey right now. Just hold on.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-22 06:58:24
    Ha! Oh thank God. I was looking for a super cape online and everyone seems to be out of stock. (Start of the school year and all)

    Thank you!

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Kimberly M. Wetherell |Edit This
    2009-08-21 23:11:48
    3rd grade – talent show – me, a black leotard, cowboy hat covered in glitter, dancing a self-choreographed routine to “Rhinestone Cowboy” – got my ass booed offstage.

    Ah… the good ol’ days…

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Erika Rae |Edit This
    2009-08-22 06:59:14
    OMG – You were little miss sunshine!!!! Hahaha

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Rich Ferguson |Edit This
    2009-08-22 06:48:01
    This was absolutely beautiful, Erika. Man, once school kicks in you sure are gonna have some interesting stories to tell us TNB folks.

    Be well.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by Colleen McGrath |Edit This
    2009-08-24 06:54:09
    In 7th grade I finally became friends with a boy I’d had a crush on for a year. He was chasing me around the field outside school with all our friends one afternoon and he picked me up and tossed me over his shoulder which forced out a huge fart right next to his ear, not to mention his face. He put me down pretty fast, gotta say. Put a damper on my life for a while. Public farting, not the best. I feel you, sister.

    Loved it, as always and wish you luck being on the other side!

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    Comment by Jorge |Edit This
    2009-08-24 17:06:52
    When I was younger, I lived in Alaska. Anchorage, Alaska, to be exact.

    I had a best friend named Richie and a girlfriend — yes, a girlfriend — named Brandy; each in both the second and third grades.

    Brandy was Hawaiian. Hot. Yes, even as a second-grader, I knew what I liked — exotic, good looking, and a good kisser. That’s right, we kissed. Only on the playground, though. It gave me much more credibility with my friends after they saw us kiss. I was King.

    Anyway, back then my favorite show was Batman — the television series with Adam West as Batman. I used to love Adam West’s hair in the show. In fact, I loved it so much that I would have my haircut just like him and have to do my hair in the morning before school — that’s right, hogging the mirror and all to perfect the part quasi comb-over.

    One day we were playing — surprise — Batman at recess in the “cool playground.” It was considered the cool playground because it had two fireman poles, a short 6-8-foot one and a taller 10-15-footer. I was Batman, Richie was Robin, Brandy was Batgirl, some kid that we all hated (Benjamin. Not Ben, Benjamin. No surprise as to why we hated him.) was the Riddler. We were all running around. It was basically Batman tag. I am at the higher of the two fireman poles — if you’ve never seen the show, Adam West slid down a pole to get to the Bat Cave and Batmobile — and see Benjamin running nearby and nobody who was on my team near him. So, I did the logical thing — I jumped off the 10-15-foot platform to the hardened snow below in an attempt to tag him.

    I landed kinda funny and my diaphragm kind of did an accordion thing and I was out of breath laying on my back on the snow. (Think Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers when Bradley Cooper crushes him on the blitz in the touch football scene.)

    I can’t breathe, I am yelling at Benjamin to freeze because I tagged him, I am yelling for Richie to take him to the “bat cave” (which was the GeoDome). All the while struggling to breathe.

    Richie — and this is why I loved this kid — took Benjamin to the Bat Cave first and then got help. The teacher, my third-grade assistant teacher Ms. Corey, comes over and tells me to stand up. I do. She then tells me to lean over and open my breathing. I look at her like she has 17 heads — I was just 7- or 8-years-old, I didn’t know how to do that. She shows me, and I do it. My breathing gets easier.

    Brandy comes running over after putting Catwoman (her friend, Robin) in the Bat Cave and checks on me, I told her I was fine, and she says I was awesome for jumping down and tagging Benjamin and waits for Ms. Corey to walk away.

    Once Ms. Corey walked away, she gave me a quick peck on the lips.

    Richie high-fived me. To this day, I am pretty sure it was for the kiss and not jumping down 10-15 feet to tag Benjamin.

  2. […] once made a list of the main thing I learned from each year in school–not an impressive list, by the way. I’ve made lists of the things I’m most afraid of, books I want to read, the things I want to […]

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