The other day while Kaply and I were driving in the car, she confessed that she has the memory of a peanut. I possess an elephant’s memory which means mine would eat hers as a snack. She can’t remember passwords or the name of her second grade teacher. Me? I totally remember my second grade teacher. Why? Because she put my name on the board.
Picture it: Campbell, CA. The year: 1981. It was quiet hour while Ms. Grover worked with the slow readers in the corner. We were told to work on our projects at our desks and that there was to be no talking. While working on my drawing, I realized I needed a purple crayon. I NEEDED IT. So I went over to another student’s desk and gestured that I wanted to borrow the crayon. I might have whispered “thanks.” (It’s called manners.) I went back to my desk and finished my work. When quiet hour was over, the teacher went to the chalkboard and started writing students names on the board. My name was on the board.
I was a good girl. I did what I was told. I followed the rules. I wore my uniform and stood in line without making a fuss. I was not the kind of student who got her name on the board.
Truth be told, I freaked the fuck out.
(Even though back then I thought the word “fuck” was actually “fuff” and when I told my parents they let me know in no uncertain terms that I was never to say that word. See, Mom? I didn’t say “fuff.”)
I raised my hand and asked why my name was on the board. Seeing as how I was pretty shy at 8 years old, this was a bold move on my part. The teacher chided me and said I knew why- I had talked during quiet hour. I was incredulous. I had been just trying to do my work. That purple crayon really added a lot to my project. She brushed off my inquiries and moved on to another subject. I raised my hand again and asked to use the bathroom pass. Once in the hallway, I promptly ran to the school office where my Mom was working, crying my eyes out like someone had just run over my cat Dumbo. (Yes, his name was Dumbo. Shut up. I loved that Dumbo ride at Disneyland and the story.) My Mom tried to calm me down so she could understand what in the hell I was sobbing over. She soothed me as only a mother can and I was able to return, red eyed and pouting, to class.
I am 35 years old and I am still pissed about it. The unfairness of it really gets under my skin. The fact that I can remember the details so vividly and that I still hold a grudge entertains Kaply to no end. I am here for her amusement. And apparently, I do my job well.