Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm not good at zippers

I fidget in my red plastic chair. The little metal bumps dig into my back and my bottom is kinda numb. I pull one corduroy leg under me and kick the other around, staring at my new red shoes with the velcro straps (I like the sound of the velcro).

 It’s only my third day at preschool and I don’t have many friends yet. I’m kinda shy.

“Craft time!” Teacher tells us it’s Safety Day and we’ll be making pictures of seat belts.

She passes out the paper and glitter and glue and crayons and scissors into the center of the long tables we gather around.

I select a bottle of glue, blue glitter, some construction paper, and a pair of purple plastic scissors and organize it all in front of me until it all looks perfect.

I chose blue because our car is blue and so it has to be blue. 

Then I draw out the seatbelt outlines with a grey crayon on the thick, white paper, making sure the square center where it buckles is colored in grey too, like metal. Then I take the glue and smear it with my fingers (ewewew) where the straps are.

Oh look, something white on my fingers. I instinctively lick it off. EWEWEW! That was glue. Ew. Ew. I smack my tongue, trying to get rid of the bitter, sticky taste. I wipe my fingers off on my pants. Gross.

I sprinkle the blue glitter everywhere the glue is. It’s finished! Almost perfect. There’s a lot of glitter and the lines are kinda wonky, but I like it. It looks just like our car.

Teacher tells me to write my name on it so it doesn’t get mixed up with the other kids’ when I go home. I’m not very good at writing, but I know how to spell my name. With a blue crayon, I spell out each letter:

A N D R E A

The R is the hardest, but it’s okay.

We take our seat belts to a big table by the door so they can dry and the teacher tells us to go get our coats for recess. Teacher says to make sure we zip up our coats because it is cold.

I squeeze between two boys to get my bright pink puffy coat off of its peg in the cubby closet. I work my arms into it and try to zip it up, but I’m not very good at zippers. I struggle to get the bottoms to line up and I just can’t make it work. But teacher said to zip up, so I keep trying.

All of a sudden, it’s dark in the cubby closet. I look up and find my way out into the classroom.

A little light comes in from the windows by the ceiling. Empty. No kids. No teacher. I’m all alone.

I go to the door and pull at the metal handle, but it’s locked.

All alone.

The light switch is too high for me to reach.

My bottom lip quivering and my eyes watering, I sit on the rough, musty, brown carpet indian style and wait for someone to come get me. I grab at my braids I brush the ends against my wet cheeks and wait, all alone in the dark.


This was a post for the RememeRED prompt: Remember kindergarten. If, after thinking about it for a while, you can't recall anything, move on to first grade. Mine your memories and write about the earliest grade you can recall. What was special? What was ordinary? What did you feel? Hear? See? Smell?

Of course I HAD to write about this memory, even though it's from preschool, which I started pretty young. I must have been 3 when this happened. But it's one of my most vivid memories. And yes, they really did lock me in the classroom and never noticed. They found me after recess. Needless to say, my parents yanked me out of this school and a few others before I ended up at Montessori School. 

Instead of writing this from what I think adults would like to read, I really tried to stay true to my memories and write how I would have explained it back then, (with slightly better grammar and vocab of course), keeping my voice young. Some stuff I fudged, but most of it is exactly how I remember.

66 comments mean you love me:

Liz said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

It breaks my heart to read that you sat back down, indian style and cried!

amydpp said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh that is the saddest thing I read in a long time. I want to give that three-year-old a hug. :'(

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Liz it was hard not to tear up when writing it again. I was so scared!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@amydpp the 30 year old appreciates the hug too!

Nush said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Awwww poor you! I can imagine it must have been terrifying for a little kid!

hugs! - to the 3 year old and the 30 year old :)

meleah rebeccah said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh no! This was such a heart-breaking read.

lex [lexinthecity] said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I remember being terrified in kindergarten. I can`t imagine how scary this would have been!

Brandy Rose said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Bad teacher, Bad!

Poppy said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

How traumatic, of course you remember that! I bet that seemed like forever until the kids came back to the classroom.

I can't remember anything from preschool except that it smelled like pot, but I probably made that up because it was a total hippie school.

alonewithcats said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Remember the joy of covering your palm with glue, letting it dry and then picking it off? Times were simpler then.

Dumb Mom said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh that was so sad! I love that you wrote it from your perspective as a little girl though. Totally made me hurt for you:(

Yuliya said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh poor you! Nice job on the prompt though.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Nush
hugs back! <3

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@meleah rebeccah that was my evil plan. sorry, don't cry.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@lex [lexinthecity] right? sigh. my dad? was furious!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Brandy Rose I KNOW! who does that?

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Poppy it DID seem like forever. laughing at you and your hippie school!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@alonewithcats YES! I think all of 3rd grade was spent with glue on my hands.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Dumb Mom oh thank you for the feedback. *hugs*

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Yuliya I know! and thanks, love! xo

pauline said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Somehow, I figured you didn't stay at that school. Nice piece! and I am really sorry that happened!

Galit Breen said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh and you *did* capture this from a child's (you!) perspective!

The glitter, the importance of the blue, noticing the musty smell, and the braids! Oh God the braids on the cheeks just about did me in- that was a killer detail.

I'm so sad that this happened to you and it really strikes me how strong the memory still is for you!!

I loved this line: "Oh look, something white on my fingers. I instinctively lick it off. EWEWEW! That was glue. Ew. Ew. I smack my tongue, trying to get rid of the bitter, sticky taste. I wipe my fingers off on my pants. Gross." just because it so perfectly described what a child would think and do!

TKW said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love how you remember your rationale for the color of the seat belt! It's spot on--of course a little kid would think like that!

Also love that you remember that the R was the hardest for you to master. My little one has an r in her name and you're right; r is difficult for small fingers.

You KILLED the ending. But it broke my heart.

amygrew said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

How could your teacher forget you?! I bet she never did again after finding you in there.

Great writing, you captured the preschool voice very well!

Honest Convo Gal said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You did a very nice job of catching the POV of you at that age. I felt so scared for you when you couldn't follow the direction and were left alone. I think you had a bit much build up to the meat of the story--the left in the cubby closet part. Other than that, this was a very well rendered piece of writing. Also, full disclosure, I tend to like very little wind up in other people's writing but I make the same mistake in my own...

May said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Having worked with preschoolers I thought the part about selecting your materials and how "it had to be blue" because that was the color of your car especially captured the voice of a child. Its exactly the kind of thing they focus on as important.

Belle's Butterfly said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I wanted to cry for you. I can't believe the teacher never noticed you were gone. Hugs to that three year old girl.

Jennifer said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I agree that the age POV was very strong. You really nailed it throughout the entire piece by having each line be a new thought. The beauty of kids that age is the importance of 'now.' In particular this line got me, 'A N D R E A

The R is the hardest, but it’s okay.'

Because R is the hardest! And I felt that I could see you sitting on one leg, wearing red shoes, with glue on your pants and glitter everywhere, with your tongue poking out a little as you concentrated.

I thought you captured both loneliness and abandonment so well, and I agree with Galit that it was the detail of those braids and the sitting down to wait that laid the foundation for that great ending.

Roxanne said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

That ending almost made me cry! The beginning is fun and playful (just like children), especially with the tasting of the glue (ewewew!), and then the ending just kind of sneaks up on the reader. Great job with the descriptions.

Tiffany said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Awww, this was a great post. It was simple, just like a child would think. I liked it.

Debra Ann Elliott said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Stopping by from the RDC. Your story captured the essence of kindergarten for a lot of kids. My grandson had a bad experience in kindergarten.

Miranda said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Aww! Man. I was all set for this to be a happy, funny memory and then you got me with the tears.

Poor you and BAD TEACHER :/

Good job!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@pauline right? if I had, that would have been all kinds of wrong. thanks much!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Galit Breen oh thank you! it's so hard to know if you've succeeded in perspective until you get feedback. and it's amazing how it just came right back. I didn't realize how powerful the memory was until I wrote about it. thank you!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@TKW thanks so much! I remember struggling with the R for years. hee! I know that ending crept up out of nowhere. sorry. thanks for reading!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@amygrew I know! I hope she never forgot a kid again. thanks so much!!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Honest Convo Gal you know, I did notice that and worried over changing it, but ultimately sacrificed the storytelling for my complete memory. always a risky choice. thanks so much for the concrit and for reading!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@May oh thank you! exactly the feedback I was hoping for. thanks for reading! :)

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Belle's Butterfly thank you, Belle! the 30 year old hugs you back.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Jennifer thank you so much! that is really great to hear. writing a piece like this is always hit or miss right? I'm so glad the image in my head translated so clearly. thank you!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Roxanne thanks so much! I'm so glad you liked it. :)

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Tiffany thank you! I'm glad the POV translated. thanks for reading!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Miranda sorry about that! that's most of my stories. sneaky sad ending. thanks so much!!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Debra Ann Elliott thank you! funny thing, this was preschool. I actually loved Kindergarten, but I was in Montessori school by then. thanks for reading!

Adelle said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

That was fascinating! I loved the voice you used and the style - staying true to your juvenile self. It almost made me feel like it was happening to me...

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Adelle oh thank you! that's exactly what I was going for. thanks for reading!

From Tracie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

How scary!!

I think you did a great job keeping the voice of the piece young. Especially when you are describing the craft project.

I'm so glad that your parents pulled you out of that school and sent you somewhere else!

Erin said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I remember letting the glue dry and peeling it off like skin!! So easily amused as a child!
And I do not know what I would do.if they locked me in and didn't notice!! Glad you moved to a diff school

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@From Tracie thank you! it WAS scary. I'm glad too. I think a kid also bit me at that school, but it might've been another preschool. thanks for the feedback! :)

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Erin right? I did that too for years. used to freak my mom out. hee! if I'd been older, I prob would've yelled or somethig, but little 3yo me was too scared. thanks for reading!

Nichole said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You're probably sick of me telling you how much I adore you, right?

I love that you stepped right into the voice of your smaller self. The pace was great, the descriptions perfect.

You, my dear, are a joy to read. Always.

Swoon.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Nichole oh, Nichole, I love your compliments to my toes! your opinion means the world to me. thank you! thank you! <3

Jack said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I liked your post. The introduction was really good:

I fidget in my red plastic chair. The little metal bumps dig into my back and my bottom is kinda numb. I pull one corduroy leg under me and kick the other around, staring at my new red shoes with the velcro straps (I like the sound of the velcro).

It’s only my third day at preschool and I don’t have many friends yet. I’m kinda shy.

Matty said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Your memory is even better than mine. I don't think that I can remember things with such detail. Blue glitter, purple scissors, pink puffy coat....but I can certainly see why you would never forget that glue. LOL

A nice unique way of telling the story through the eyes of your 3 year old self. A strong ending....all alone in the dark.

And being left behind and forgotten brings back an old memory for me too, but in a different venue at a different age.

Leah said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Great imagery! I could really see all of this happening. It's so funny that I've been reading a lot about glue from other bloggers too but I honesty don't have any memories at all using glue when I was little.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Jack thank you, Jack!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Matty while the blue glitter is clear in my memory, I fudged the other details for the sake of the story. :) but that glue was ALL true! haha! thanks!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Leah thank you! maybe you blocked out all the glue. hah! thanks for reading!

TheStoryGirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh... I want to give a hug to your little three-year-old self. *Sniffle*. I loved your reaction to the glue - "EWEWEW" - that is exactly what a three-year-old would do. And the details of paying attention to the color of the glitter bottle were great as well.

Rebel Chick said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Honestly, I felt that the build-up was perfect for the ending. Like any great story teller, you made me fall in love with the little girl before breaking my heart over her being left alone in the classroom.
Wonderful piece!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@TheStoryGirl thanks so much! to this day I check my fingers before licking them. it was so gross. hugs back! thank you for reading!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Rebel Chick oh thank you! a storyteller is never sure just exactly how the pacing works or if the emotions are conveyed. thank you!!

The Twin Spin said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This is yet another post I've read of yours where you go from a lovely, happy childhood memory to something heartbreaking. But it's so well done.

When I was in elementary school my mom and I had to do something after school was let out, and we walked by one of my grade's classrooms and a boy I knew started frantically knocking on the door's window, alerting us that he had been locked in. How in the world does that happen???

frelle said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

my heart breaks for this memory. i have a similar one, only it was my parents who left me in the back yard, trying to force me to learn how to open the gate by myself. I was 3 or 4 at the time, and I ended up not only crying but having an accident because I couldnt get out to use the bathroom. So I felt abandoned, alone, and then ashamed.

Man, look what your memory brought out of me just then! Hadnt thought about that in forever.

Great writing, and thank you for sharing another piece of your story.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@The Twin Spin guilty! yeah, it seems to be the theme of my life so I write it easily. :)

I can't believe that boy got locked in a classroom. where are these teachers' heads?

thanks so much!!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@frelle oh you poor thing! that's bullshit right there.

if my writing brought that our of you? I must be doing something right.

thank you so much! and love to you and 3 year old you!

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