Friday, October 3, 2014

The Wonder Years

(If you're just joining us, the beginning of this series starts here. Thanks for reading!)

Just before my kindergarten year my brother Spencer was born. It's funny because somehow in the time lapse of my mind I associate him being born with me actually being in kindergarten but the years would say that isn't true. I remember mom being pregnant with him and I remember going to the hospital while it was still dark on the day she had her C-section. I remember his little head full of jet black hair and his tan skin. Everyone said he looked like a little Indian baby and I guess he comes by it honest from the Iveys.

Me and Spencer with our Pops (Mani's husband). I think Spencer was about two or three here.
I have so few pictures because I lost many in the flood.

I think becoming a big sister was something I had enough maturity and responsibility for, but I also remember feeling some jealous and a lot of injustice. I remember as Spencer got older, feeling like I got the shaft. For example, when we would go to the store with mom, he would get to have a treat every time we went and I would only get one sometimes. Also whenever he would cry, my name was the first name that got yelled, as if I must have done something to him. He was a mean little boy too. He would hit and bite and kick and I could only take so much of that before I retaliated. Somehow, even if he started it, I got punished. I never felt like Mom disciplined him when he hurt me, but I got disciplined if I hurt him.

And I wasn't innocent. I remember one day I had just had enough of him. We were playing "Ring around the Rosies" near our fireplace stove and I decided to see what would happen if I let go of his hands. He went careening into the stove and ended up with a few stitches in his forehead. I didn't know that would happen.

I remember sweet moments too though. If you remember from the last post, I was always very afraid of the dark. I remember nights where I would crawl into his crib with him, just to have somebody near me. I remember his little voice calling out "Say-nuh" or "Sissy." I remember running my hands over the top of his little spiked head. I was grateful for a playmate, even if he did drive me crazy.

6 year old Showbiz Pizza birthday party. Melissa and I were born only 6 days apart and she's never let me forget that she is 6 days older...well until recently. Ha!

The first day of kindergarten I had a Forest Gump  moment with this girl. I got on the bus and walked down the aisle looking for a seat and a pretty little blond girl said, "You can sit here." Her name was Melissa Hanson. We discovered that we both were wearing teddy bear name tags which meant we were in the same class: Mrs. McKeehan's class. I remember kindergarten well: discovering I was left handed and yet could not cut with scissors with my left hand, so I was ambidextrous. There were tears that day. I was the tallest girl in the class which made me almost as tall as most of the boys. I remember some big boys bullying me at recess and pretending like they arrested me and I don't know who I told, but the next thing I knew those boys were getting pattled. (Yes I'm old enough that we still got spanked in public school. Just for that year though. Then they outlawed it. Lol.) I had to identify them and everything. That still makes me laugh.

I'm the only girl in the back row

I remember circle time and the song "Peanut butter and jelly" on a record.

(this wasn't the exact song, but pretty close)

I remember naptime on a towel and how I slept just on the outside of our kitchen set in the classroom. A boy that was hilarious and every girl had a crush on named Greg slept inside the kitchen set. We would peek at each other underneath the kitchen set and giggle and talk. One day Greg decided to fake snore at naptime. So then I snored. And then someone across the room snored. And next thing I knew the kindergarten teacher from next door was pattling my backside and randomly pattling people across the room. That was the first and only time I got pattled in school. I remember speaking of the injustice of the moment though because there was no way she could have known who was snoring in that pitch black room and she was pattling people. Mean Mrs. Collins!

I made lifelong friends that year. I still talk to and keep up with many people who were in my kindergarten class or in kindergarten with me at the same school. I think that is pretty special. Two other friends I made were Jennifer and Kimberly. They were twins and lived down the road from me. I had the BEST sleepovers at their house. Some of my best elementary memories are there. We would stay up all night eating Cookie Crisp cereal (which my parents never bought) and watching movies and playing chase and trying to not get caught by their parents. They had not one but two play houses where we would spend hours creating all kinds of projects and play.

My kindergarten year was also when I started taking dance classes and swim team. I'm fairly certain both of those activities were encouraged and started because of my friend Melissa.

In first grade my teacher was Mrs. Weaver. I liked her but I remember feeling like that year was much harder and more strict than kindergarten. I remember struggling with math, especially learning to tell time and I sat behind a sweet boy named Edward. Edward was very smart and let me copy his answers on his math work. I honestly had no idea this was wrong until later. I also remember that my report cards always had good grades but my teachers would remark that I "talked too much." That was true always. Good to know some things never change. Ha!

In second grade my teacher was Mrs. Voegle. Her classroom met in a portable building on the back side of the school and I remember liking it because I had to walk outside to get there. That year I learned how to write in cursive and I formed a lovely callous that has never left my middle finger on my left hand. I told my kids that story and they decided I'm not such a hard teacher after all because I don't make them write that much!

Mrs. Voegle was great and we did lots of fun things: she made us spiced cider during the holidays and we had great class parties; we actually made a garden in the spring and planted our own seeds; this was also the year that I began having lots of eye trouble. I remember struggling to see the chalk board from the back of the room but I probably went months before getting the eye exam at school and my mom realizing I needed glasses. I remember the first time I could "see" again and it felt like a whole new world.

As an aside, I was an early reader. I was reading fairly well in kindergarten and Melissa and I began having reading competitions somewhere around that time. She and I would race through The Babysitters Club series, Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books, and later I loved the Little House books, The Chronicles of Narnia, and many others. I devoured books. I read much more than I watched tv and this was probably why my vision went south so early, but I'll never regret how it sparked my imagination and I'm confident contributed to the writer I am today.

For third grade I had Mrs. Jones. Honestly Mrs. Jones was the meanest and hardest teacher I had in elementary school. I remember the only thing I liked in that class was that she would read to us for long periods of time and I always enjoyed her books. I remember, though, one day while she was reading I had to sneeze and she made it abundantly clear that we were never to talk or move while she was reading. But I felt a BIG sneeze coming. When it came out, I covered my face with my hands and a ridiculous amount of snot came out. I was mortified. Mrs. Jones barely looked up at me from her reading and I had no idea what to do. I didn't want to get up because I was holding snot in my hands. But I needed a Kleenex! I think a friend (maybe Melissa?) finally brought me one.

I am in the middle row on the far right next to the flag. My friend Edward who helped me with math in first grade? Two to the left of me. And that boy directly to the left and diagonal behind me? That's Josh. Huge crush on him for years! Oh, and the boy directly in front of me, the girl next to him is so far away because we swore he had cooties. We weren't very nice to him and that makes me sad now.

Third grade was the first year I think I really noticed boys. I remember a boy in my class trying to place footsy with me under our desks and I totally didn't get it. But I also remember having a huge crush on a boy named Josh. I met Josh first because he went to my mom's daycare. My mom started keeping kids in our home for extra money around the time Spencer was born and by the time I was in later elementary years, she had a full blown day care: Miss Angel's Daycare. Well Josh and his brothers started coming there and I just thought he was the cutest thing ever. I had lots of diary entries in my Lisa Frank diary about him. I was very boy crazy. Looking back I wonder why I was trying so hard to fit in that mold with all my friends and why I needed that affirmation from a boy. It was a status thing. I mean all we would do is say "So and so is my boyfriend." And write notes to each other. But really in that world, if you had a boyfriend that meant you were pretty and I think I longed for that back then. To be appreciated and admired and accepted among my peers. But poor Josh. I'm confident I drove him crazy because I bombarded him with all my "likeiness." Ha!

Somewhere around third grade we began attending church regularly. This is our classic church "Olan Mills" picture. My daughter told me my outfit was horrible. Yes dear, yes I know.

Thanks for reading, more elementary years tomorrow!


  1. I love that so many of your childhood memories are mine as well. <3

  2. @Melissa-I know. Me too. I hate that I'm getting so old and that my memories are fading. I just looked at those class pictures though and I can still name most of those people, even the ones I haven't seen since elementary school. This whole rehashing is fascinating my kids because I've pulled out the pictures I do have. It's neat to talk about the time in my life at the ages they are now also. <3

  3. I wonder how our kids will feel about how we dressed them when they are older. Also, I think the older child always feels like their parents favor the younger one. Until I was an adult I truly believed my mother preferred my brother over me. I guess once I had two of my own I understood some. I still think that she used the "but he is __age and you are ___age " line way too often. Lol

  4. I have to agree with you Kayla. I was an equal opportunity dad. I whipped them both.

    1. I was also an Equal Opportunity second Mom...I spanked BOTH Shana and Melissa if needed! That's what happens when you love 'em like your own!!

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