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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

A Quiet Meandering Stream

By Johna Ferguson

I don’t know how many of you can remember back to your earliest years, say before you went to first grade. Most of my memories are picked up from snapshots in the old family album, but still most of them are just that, glimpses of my past.

But I do remember one particular time, especially now that school bells are again ringing. It was when I was in kindergarten which means I was just five years old. I was in the afternoon class, which meant we arrived just after wonderful morning playing with neighborhood friends and just having eaten lunch with our mothers.


It was an eight-block walk to the grade school, but since there were three of us neighborhood girls all going to the same kindergarten, we didn’t need a parent along. We didn’t dawdle for we all loved the chances to finger paint anything we wanted instead of coloring in books with definite lines that we must try to keep inside of. Kindergarten opened an entire new world of freedom for us to explore.

We each took a small quilt to lie down on, for we must take a short nap before we started any of our activities. We spread these out all over the hardwood floor in rows according to the alphabet of our family names. That meant I didn’t get to lay down by my close friends, but I was lucky in that I did get to lie next to a young boy named Tommy. His hair was so bleached it was almost white and he had the most beautiful soft curls all over his head. I just loved to look at his hair for mine was just the opposite, straight and dark brown.

He always fell asleep immediately, but I was usually too keyed up to sleep so I probably spent my nap time looking around the room. Maybe I noticed a fly on the window, or a spider climbing its web near the ceiling. But one day I noticed some water on the floor. There was a slight puddle of it between my quilt and Tommy’s. Then I realized it was actually starting to run towards my quilt. I’m sure I froze with fear of it actually running into my quilt.

Being a child, instead of quietly getting up and telling the teacher about it, I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Tommy’s wetting the floor and my quilt is going to get it next.”

I’m sure the teacher took it in her stride, but think of poor Tommy. He actually didn’t come to class for a few days, and then when he did his quilt was placed in a row near the teacher’s desk.

To this day I wonder what happened to dear white, curly-haired Tommy. When I looked at my first grade class picture I could not find him, so maybe his family moved or something. I just hope, without any intention on my part, I didn’t blight his chances for a good future by embarrassing him in front of the entire class.

If any of you are married to a man named Tommy with a similar story, please give him my belated apologies.

[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Johna - Nicely written childhood memory! I just glanced back at the title. Not quite what I expected! - Sandy

I knew a guy named Tommy who told me about a traumatic event he had as a little boy in Kindergarten.
He said he had been in therapy most of his life, never married and wears depends.
Just kidding. I think there's a lot of boys and girls who lost more than their courage going to kindergarten.

What a clever title for a nice memory post, Johna. It must have traumatized you to see that 'stream' heading your way because you remember it so well.

Poor Tommy, can anything be more embarrassing?

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