The girls on their way to school this morning.
So, all this talk of the first day of school made me think of a little exercise. I'll try to remember as much as I can about my own first day of kindergarten and the time surrounding it when we lived in Phoenix. Ready? No? Me neither. Okay. Here goes:
Today I finally get to go to school. Billy says I won't like it, but I think he's still mad about last Winter. One night we left the hose on and it was cold enough for it to turn into ice. We had never seen ice before, except for what came out of the freezer. Me and Billy's friend Woody slid all over it, but Billy had to go to kindergarten and it had already melted by the time he came back home. I think I will like school. I want to make friends and color and do activities like the kids do on Sesame Street. I can even already spell my first name.
Last year everyone went to school but me. I stayed home with Priscilla who went back to the Reservation on the weekends and stayed with us during the week while my mom worked. Priscilla was supposed to watch me, but she never did. After my mom went to work, she wouldn't talk to me or even look at me sometimes. Billy was only gone in the mornings, but that was a long time. Sometimes when I was lonely, I would go to the neighbor house where there was a mom who didn't work. I used to sit by her dryer vent outside and smell the clean laundry and listen to the game shows on her TV and pretend that I lived there.
This year will be different. Priscilla doesn't come to our house anymore. One Monday morning, we went to pick her up from the bus station and she wasn't there. So, now I go to Mrs. Hernandez's house after kindergarten and she will watch me.
When I go to school, a lot of the kids are crying. They don't want their mom's to leave them. They are like Billy and don't like school. My teacher is old, but very nice. We sit at small tables and I ask another little girl who is sad if she wants to be my friend. She smiles at me and we sit at the same table. Her name is Sheila. She tells me she is Irish and that means she has green blood. I forget that I am also Irish but my blood is red, until later when my mom reminds me of it.
Sheila walks part of the way home from school with me. Billy goes all day, so I am still the only one at Mrs. Hernandez's house in the afternoon. She asks me how my day was and makes me food. I eat soup in her living room while I watch the kids on Sesame Street. I think I like school. I don't feel lonely like last year and I don't have to sit by the neighbor lady's laundry vent to feel better.