After Lori’s Facebook post remembering how they sold Popsicles out the lunch window (I don’t remember that; how could I not remember that?), I wanted to say–
Remember Pushups, those pale orange creamsicles? I always wanted to try one and never did.
And remember the nubby feel of the pale red rubber bouncy balls?
And jump rope, the thick white cord, the wooden handles, the rhymes? (But what were the rhymes? I can hear the rhythm but no words.)
And remember the…steam vents, were they? The round iron covers that were like manhole covers right outside the school, beside the–whatsit, the room where the heat was generated, was that what that was? We played some kind of game, tag almost, using them as bases. And I can see me clear as anything standing there on one of those covers lying about having seen Dragnet on TV the night before. We didn’t own a TV and I hadn’t seen Dragnet because we weren’t at my grandparents’ house that previous night, so I flat-out lied, fully aware of how uncool and unacceptable and just plain weird it was not to know what went on on the show. I think no one believed me. I wished I hadn’t lied. Not out of remorse, but out bitterness and disappointment. I looked more pathetic after, not less.
Remember the row of cursive letter examples up above the blackboard in Mrs. Anderson’s second grade classroom? First floor, east side, right next to the entry doors that led to the playground. Remember the way the marble stairs were worn in their centers?
There’s so much, and to what point except that it’s what part of my life was made of, and it was a happy time, mostly.
I remember my favorite shirt, which was red and white striped; I remember my mom bringing me a Mood Ring at lunchtime one day, finding me on the playground. Oh, the thrill of that. I still have the ring somewhere though it no longer turns colors depending on my moods. (I wore it out, I’m afraid.) I remember (with the same tight spot in my throat as I had then) standing at the playground fence watching Mom’s car go by as she headed to work during second recesses that year– mourning, mourning, as she headed to her afternoon shift. It was hard, getting used to that.
I remember the Scholastic book flyers (those thin, shiny pages, remember?), the SRA reading booklets, my tights always being baggy, the pumpkin cookies Mrs. Kebler brought in near Halloween, the library and Mrs. Thurston and kneeling on the carpet in front of a low shelf reading the epigraph of some kids’ book and being hooked–on the book, on Emily Dickinson, on that allure of somebody somewhere inside that book’s mind knowing me–
I memorized the whole thing on the spot–
I’m Nobody! Who are you?Are you – Nobody – too? Then there’s a pair of us! Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know! How dreary – to be – Somebody! How public – like a Frog – To tell one’s name – the livelong June – To an admiring Bog!