Posted in Thoughts and Reflections at 11:23 pm by admin

I was reminded of two things from kindergarten today. On my first day of school, each child was sent home with a list of things we would need for the coming school year. This was before half day kindergarten became popular. I don’t know if they do this any more in view of preschool. Two of the things on the list were one of my father’s old shirts, and it did specify “father”, and the other was a 3 x 4 foot mat (rug). The shirt was for “art” class and the rug was for nap time. I remember the shirt, it was mostly pale blue plaid with thin red and green stripes, and where the blue and red intersected it was pale purple. By the time the school year ended, the back of the shirt looked nothing like it did the day I brought it in. This is because we wore the shirts backwards. It came down to my shoes, that’s how small I was, and each week it earned many new splatters or wipe marks of finger paint. It never occurred to me to bring it home for laundering, and I don’t remember ever seeing it after I gave it to my mom with my final report card.

The second item was used each day after lunch. Each of us had our assigned spots in the center of the classroom floor. Our desks were aligned in a large U facing the teacher. The center of the room served many purposes from the weekly placement of our easels to show-and-tell, and from putting on plays to marching in line or musical chairs on rainy days in lieu of outside recess. After lunch, we would go to our cupboards to take out our mats, then carry them to out assigned spots and unroll them. Funny, we didn’t have pillows. We quickly learned that if we wouldn’t fall asleep we were to remain silent. Our teacher would begin to read us a story, and as the minutes ticked by the sound her voice would soften. I don’t ever remember hearing the end of any of those stories. The next thing we knew, she tinkled the little wake up bell that sat on her desk. This sat next to the larger bell she used to settle us down when the din in the room reached a predetermined level that only she knew. We never noticed the difference. We were given a few minutes to wake-up, then we would roll up our mats and return them to our cupboards.

I thought of these two things because today I took my first nap in nearly a year. The late nights finally caught up with me today. For some reason I woke this morning at 04:50 and couldn’t go back to sleep. I had turned in a little after midnight. As I lie there this afternoon, my mind began to wander and I thought of those early days. Funny how so many years can go by and then all of a sudden a buried memory will surface. Napping reminded me of that mat on the floor which in turn reminded me of my assigned place, also for art. As I write this entry this evening another memory returns. The last time I saw one of my earliest creative efforts was many years ago when my mother was going through her bottom dresser drawer. Among the many treasures was a brightly colored smeared mess on a carefully folded piece of aged brown paper. In the top right corner was my name, written in handwriting I didn’t recognize. Mom told me it was mine.


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