Ancient History

Follow Me?



Sam’s backpack is always stuffed with fliers and leaflets offering everything from free bowling to books. Some of the leaflets contain parenting advice and insight. I rarely read these leaflets because most of the information is not exactly revolutionary or helpful. For example, I do not need to be told to feed our children breakfast. I understand some parents do not realize they need to feed their children, but I suspect those parents probably don’t read the little leaflets either.

Today, as I emptied Sam’s backpack, something written on a newsletter caught my eye. It said “A kindergartner is a peek into the future man or woman.” I thought about Sam and the older kids as kindergartners and wondered if it were true. I thought about myself in Kindergarten and wondered if that little girl is me.

I was a show-off. I remember my mom taking me to McDonald’s one day. I had some french fries in the car. As we drove down our street toward home I saw some of the neighborhood kids. I wanted them to know I had been to McDonald’s, so I rolled down the window and held the french fries at an unusual and unnatural angle so the kids could see. I acted nonchalant and didn’t make eye contact. I let my french fries do the talking.

I went through a wetting-my-pants-in-public phase. I peed in line at King Sooper’s. This was in the morning. I had afternoon kindergarten and I remember we had to rush home so I could take a bath before going to school. The laces of my black and white saddle shoes were all wet. The worst moment of this phase was when it was my turn to recite the Pledge of Allegience in front of the class. I stood holding the little wooden stick of the class flag at a perfect 45 degree angle, knowing what an important job I had that day. It didn’t stop me from peeing in front of all the kids and Old Glory.

I was a princess for Halloween.

I invented a way to make puppets by folding paper a certain way. I made dozens of puppets. Dozens and dozens of puppets.

I drew a lot of pictures of people at the doctor’s office getting shots.

Once, on the school bus, an older kid offered a chocolate chip cookie to me and I was so mortified I couldn’t move or speak.

I went to the Ice Capades with my cousin, who was visiting our family in Denver. She borrowed one of my dresses. A blue dress. I wore a pink dress. From that moment, we battled over whether blondes or brunettes look better in pink. I am a brunette. She is a blonde.

My school had two kindergarten classes. My teacher’s name was Mrs. Degette. The other kindergarten teacher was named Mrs. Scott, but I insisted on calling her Mrs. Scotland. I remember doing this and thinking Mrs. Scotland is a better and fancier name than Mrs. Scott…

My friend Caroline and I had the same dress. Once we wore it on the same day (unplanned) and turned our delight into a Show And Tell topic.

I guess I was a confident but incontinent child, unless someone offered a cookie to me. I was a princess in pink, pre-occupied by the paranoia that every trip to the doctor would end with a shot in my bum. I loved french fries, showing off, and didn’t mind showing up in the same fashion ensemble as another girl.

Some things always change. Kindergarten may provide a peek, but it is small.

15 comments to Kindergarten

  • Yes, I agree. I don’t think much of my kindergarten self remains. Those years between five and twelve are a revolutionary time. Now, between thirty year old me and ten year old me, there is more sympathy.

  • BTW, in Little House on the Prairie, Mary (the blonde) wore blue, and Laura wore pink. I was a brunette Laura too, and I always figured blue was for blondes. Although, being outwardly a tomboy, I didn’t wear it much.

  • “confident but incontinent” HILARIOUS! I don’t know why, but that line struck me just right and I seriously laughed out loud.

    Isn’t it funny the random things we remember? I wonder whcich things are going to stick in my kids’ memories forever, and what their impressions of themselves will be when they look back. Thanks for the perspective….

  • Tracy (tjly)

    Oh Gretchen! This post cracked me up! I love the image of you driving by your friends holding your french fries up!!

  • Funny and so true! Thank goodness we don’t become who we were in kindergarten! My mom had to come visit me everyday at lunch because I cried the whole time! I will admit that I am not the life of the party as an adult, but at least I can handle social interaction now!

  • Amazing how much you can remember about Kindergarden 🙂 I have thought about this now and I am very much that little girl that used to be in Kindergarden.

  • I’m pretty sure I would have done the McDonald’s French Fry show off too. I’ll have to contemplate this one and see if I have the same characteristics I had in Kindergarten. Although, I think my experience will be hard to relate to the experience of a “normal” Kindergarten year. My dad was very ill and died just before I started Kindergarten.

  • mopsy

    Oh, Vashti, I am so sorry. How could a tragedy not effect a child in a profound way? It may not have been “normal”, but it became your normal and I know you found a way through it. Kids are stronger than they get credit for. And they ask all the right questions.

  • How on earth can you remember so much about kindergarten? It was a blur for me, but perhaps more so because I was in Montessori where there really aren’t many definitive lines about grade/class level.

  • I definitely found a way through it. I think that experience shaped who I am more than anyone realizes, including me. I know that it affected me more deeply than the grown-ups in my life thought it did. For some reason I’ve been contemplating it a lot lately. Perhaps because I have a daughter that age now.

  • hamster

    I think of you as sort of shy and not showoffy at all, but maybe that shyness was a product of high school and not your personality.

  • Julana

    I need a french fry to talk for me, sometimes. 🙂

    I am so old that I didn’t go to kindergarten. 🙂
    No sneak peek for me.

  • Stacey

    I love how you held your french fries so nonchalantly! ROFL! Too funny!
    That’s amazing how much you remember from Kindergarten! I can only remember a few things from then.

  • I can vividly imagine you holding out those fries – too funny. The thing I remember most about kindergarten is naptime and the kind of funny little woven rugs/mats we slept on. I still want to take a nap whenever I see one.

  • The thing I remember most about Kindergarten is not wanting to go. I wanted to stay home with my Mom. I remember reciting every nursery rhyme I could think of, telling time, tying my shoes, and counting as high as I could all to convince my Mom I already knew everything and didn’t need to go to school!

    I can just imagine the kids in your neighborhood drooling as you drove by and the scent of your McDonald’s french fries wafted out the open window to them!

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