I was five years old when I started school. There was no such thing as kindergarten in rural Mississippi back then, so thanks to my December birthday I started first grade at age five. To be honest, I don’t remember much about first grade, but I do remember two things.
One, at some point I was given a printed-out copy of a drawing of a Scottie dog to color. With due diligence, I colored said Scottie perfectly, completely black … with a red collar. I recall someone – new teacher? mom? – saying something along the lines of “That’s not very cheerful.” To which I replied, more or less, “It’s a Scottie dog. They’re black.” This continued for a bit with comments about bright colors and comments about yes, but it’s a Scottie dog and they’re black.
I would not be moved.
So that’s the first thing I remember from first grade. I had a tendency to be stubborn and could be argumentative. And I knew, dang it, that Scottie dogs were black.
The second thing I remember from first grade is that I got in trouble a fair amount, and always for the same thing – talking.
Sit in the hall until I say you can come back in.
Give me your hand (for the ruler swat).
Always about talking. I made perfect grades, did whatever I was told, was a class leader, read all the time, but still played sports on the playground at recess. But I liked to talk, and it kept me in trouble through my whole first year’s encounter with formal education.
At some point in that first-grade year, I decided that talking just wasn’t worth the trouble, so I shut up. I didn’t really speak in school much for the next 12 years. I wrote. I talked to my cat, and to my short-term dog. I talked to myself, while wandering the fields and woods around my home. But I didn’t talk in school.
Talking has always been my Achilles’ heel. I like to talk with people. It made me a pretty decent reporter, and a more than okay teacher, but it just keeps me in trouble with people who don’t talk much.
I talk too much. I blab on. I babble.
So I’m told, even now. Guess it’s time to shut up again, and start writing it all down. And talking to the dog. Heck, I can get a fake ear-phone-thingie and talk to myself even in public, and nobody will think I’m some kind of lunatic.
Yeah, that’s the ticket. Be quiet.
P.S. Scottie dogs ARE black, dang it. And I’ve colored outside the lines ever since. So there. 😀