Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Memory Exercise

All of the sudden, the new dog has settled into our home and is normal.  Housebreaking fixed, howling at night fixed.  It's almost too good to be true.  So I have to find something else to write about.

Because I promised myself I would write every day during Lent, I've had to come up with some themes to get me going.  One of the projects I decided to tackle was a recollection of my school years grade by grade.  My husband was surprised I could remember enough from my childhood to write about, but I think I've been able to pull up some good stuff. 

Here is an excerpt from my kindergarten-year entry:

"The thing I remember most about kindergarten was being jealous of another friend who read so well that she was shuffled off to 1st grade reading group every day. The two grades were connected by a small stairway in the corner of the room. The first grade teacher would emerge from the mysterious recesses of first grade, call her name, and whisk! she would disappear for an hour or so. I remember thinking, 'I’m a good reader, too! Why can’t I go?'"

Kindergarten was a foreshadowing of my school experience for the next 12 years. I always wanted to be at the top of the class.  I didn't feel that I had looks going for me, so I leaned on my smarts.  Coming in second was a bitter pill to swallow.  (Of course, in adulthood, I've learned many times over that you can't be best at everything, and life is lot better because of it!)

My goal in this writing exercise is to delve deeper into how I thought as a kid.  Most children's writers I have had the pleasure of talking to say that understanding your own childhood is just as important (if not more important) than understanding how kids today think.  My children give me boundless examples of "kidspeak" and point me to what is funny for a child, but I want to pull on my own experience as well.  And as I have found in the course of this writing project, there are things about myself I didn't even realize until I wrote them down and saw patterns develop in my distant experiences.  Now, on to first grade. 

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