My kids started 2nd and 4th grade today. As the parents stood in the crowded cafagymatorium for the opening ceremony, listening to the same multi-cultural music they use every year to welcome upper middle-class white kids to school, a tear formed in my eye.
“Good luck kids,” I thought. “This is going to suck.”
Fourth grade was when I threw up my hands and said, “That’s it, this blows.” I can even pinpoint the exact moment.
Art class, Sister Dolores.
Sr. Dolores was a short Catholic nun who stored Kleenex somewhere within the folds of her sleeve. You never knew it was there until she reached up, fished around and produced it, like Hermione going for her wand. It must have been late October because we were all handed 8.5×11 sheets of water color paper and a sketch of a scarecrow to copy. I did a pretty good job – not as good as that damn Mike Gowarty who was sketching at an 8th grade level – and walked to her desk to hand it in.
I remember this exactly. She said, “I’ll just finish this for you,” and pulled out a thick, black marker (not from her sleeve), which she used to draw a heavy outline around everything. The scarecrow’s face, his body and protruding bunches of straw, the fence, the pumpkins. My scarecrow looked like Al Jolsen. “Now that’s good,” she said.
Yeah, well someday I will have a weblog and then YOU WILL BE SORRY.
This morning my daughter walked the red carpet out of the cafagymatorium and into the spirit-crushing sarlacc that is fourth grade, where her creativity will be slowly digested over a thousand years. My son, who makes avant-garde art out of bottle caps he collects from the dump [1. Or “bodl caps.” I’ll never correct him because that’s the cutest thing ever.], is only two years behind. Good luck, kids. Don’t let the markers get you down.