40 Days to 40: Day 25. Random Year Memory: 1979.
Here are 10 things I remember about Kindergarten:
1) My mom told me I was starting school and I told her, “but I’m only 4.” This is because I have a Sept. birthday.
2) I remember entering the lobby of my fancy private school, with its marble black-and-white floors, and being greeted with a smile (and a handshake?) by every teacher.
3) I remember the “rods” — no, not corporal punishment but hands-on math. An orange stick represented a ten, down to little white cubes a tenth of that size that represented ones. We were supposed to learn to add, and to represent the “ones place” and “tens place.” I insisted on hoarding all the little ones to play “101 Dalmatians.”
4) I remember hitting a girl in the head with a stapler. She cried. I remember feeling really bad about it, however I still remember to this day that she’d hit me first, with one of those wooden figurines of a professional person. But of course her tears and my choice of weapon turned the verdict entirely in her favor, and I wound up with punishment and a lecture on the damage a stapler might have done.
5) I had such a huge girl-crush on one of the teachers that they had to take me aside and tell me to stop running over to her for a hug. (When I taught, there were always girls like that too. I felt for them).
6) We did an art project where we blotted a dead fish — a real dead fish — in paint and made a print. Blech.
7) We played outdoors in a rooftop play terrace. Tag was my favorite game, and the play house, where you could go inside, was my favorite piece of equipment.
8) I remember a girl introducing herself to me in the bathroom line, saying, “Hi, my name is …” And I just thought that was so fascinating.
9) I always got teased for taking too long to change in and out of my uniform before and after phys ed. To this day, Maddy and I are the last ones out of the locker room after toddler swim. No matter how many corners I think I’m cutting.
10) We had guitar music time, and my favorite song they taught us was “The Ship Titanic.” It’s an oddly cheery song about the demise of the ship, and when I sang it to Matt recently it sounded really macabre for a kids’ song. There is a line, “But the Lord’s almighty hand knew this ship would never stand.” But I heard and sang it as: “But the Lord’s old, muddy hand…” Because, you know, His hand was all dirty from shoving that ship into the muck at the bottom of the Ocean. DUH.
40 Days to 40: Day 26. Random Year Memory: 1999.
Here’s something that happened in 1999, or rather someone who died in 1999: Amadou Diallo. I was just telling my husband about that case, in light of Ferguson. He didn’t recall it (younger; not from NYC — nearer to Ferguson actually).
Every big case like this has a symbol. Trayvon got hoodies up, Mike Brown got hands up. Diallo’s was “wallet.” That’s all they found on his body after police fired 41 shots at him, 19 of which hit him.
My personal Amadou Diallo story involves the reactions in my workplace when the officers were acquitted of all charges on appeal. This happened in 2000, but I’ll keep it as 1999 memory because it’s the aftermath of a ‘99 event.
In my office: Two white, assistant-level employees cheered loudly for the police and said, “Thank God.” One African-American, senior-level employee shut herself in her office and wept. Another senior-level employee didn’t understand the emotion. In the course of the conversation this person said that Diallo assumed risk of being mistaken for a criminal by choosing to live in a bad neighborhood.
Fast forward to 2014. The same conversation plays out online, in social media. This does allow for the creation of way more handy, new, hash-tagged, universal buzz words for the same old imperatives we had back then (a simple #checkyourprivilege sure would have come in handy in that conversation about Diallo’s “choice” of neighborhood). It also allows us to see people flying their true ignorant colors in ways they’d never dare face-to-face.
I’m not sure that expanding from the water cooler to the Internet has done anything to change the conversation. One wonders what the scenario will look like in 15 more years. How it gets discussed? Evolved. What happens and what’s said about it? Probably not that evolved.
Bummer, sorry. I almost just posted the Prince song and called it a night.
40 Days to 40: Day 27. Random Year Memory: 2008.
This is the post for yesterday, Friday 8/29. A day behind again…
In 2008 I attended both Lollapalooza and the President’s election night rally in Grant Park, Chicago. Lollapalooza made good practice for the rally because the port-o-potties were all set up in the same place.
Here is some video from that evening (can you tell which one?):
- I have called her nail clipper Mr. Hungry since she was a baby.
- Maddy (looking at my nails): Wow. This is a long nail. You need Mr. Hungry, mama.
Is She Trying To Tell Something?
- Me: Good morning, Maddy!
- Maddy: Mama! (Feels my wet hair) Did you take a shower?
- Me: Yes, I did!
- Maddy: That's wonderful!