Tuesday, February 17, 2015

An Anniversary or Two, of Sorts

Today is February 17, which is the date my future husband proposed to me way back in 1996. That got me thinking about February 16, many years before.

What, you may ask, is the significance of February 16?

I attended Saguaro Elementary School in Casa Grande, AZ. The school had a discipline plan which looked like this: If you acted up, the teacher wrote your name on the board as a warning. If you kept it up, you would get a series of check marks next to your name, and each check mark had a consequence -- leading all the way up to getting a swat from the principal.

Being the good girl/people pleaser/teacher's pet that I was, I prided myself on never getting my name written on the board. Until the fifth grade on February 16, that is.

Because my last name began with an A, I was always seated on the front row. It seemed all my teachers were sticklers about seating us in alphabetical order in those days. The girl sitting to my right (I can't remember her name, but it must have also begun with an A) told me to pass a note to Albert Enriquez, who sat across the aisle, and one row back from me on my left. Mr. Jones was busy writing things on the board, so I had to time my hand-off just right.

Now, in my defense, I did not have a lot of note-passing experience, and I didn't want to get caught, so I very discreetly took the note, which my friend had folded into a small triangle, and placed it...
on the toe of my shoe. I kicked it in Albert's direction, just in time for Mr. Jones to turn around and see the note land nowhere near my intended target.

I still remember watching Mr. Jones' bony, wrinkled fingers slowly unfolding the little triangle. He read the note, glared at me through his horn-rimmed glasses, then slowly and deliberately wrote my name on the chalk board.

The humiliation was unbearable. I started to wonder if I should transfer to another school where nobody knew I was the kid who got my name written on the board. At the very least, I was afraid to go to school again the next day.

Fortunately, I stayed at Saguaro Elementary, where I remained in Mr. Jones' class for the remainder of the year. I am also happy to say my reputation did not follow me to Mrs. Mazur's class in the 6th grade.

Also, I don't recommend kicking as a method of note-passing.

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