Monday, April 02, 2012

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?


This was my favorite joke in 2nd grade (and forever.) Whenever I tell it or write it, I remember the stairwell at the building where I went to 1st and 2nd grade. I say building because while it was where I went to school, it was just another one of the apartment buildings, with classrooms where the apartments would be. We did have a library, in the basement. We were right near the river, though, and the river flooded, so our library got flooded too. It was the Rhine river. I lived in Bonn, Germany when I was in first, second, and the first month of 3rd grade.

What I remember about first and second grade: my first grade teacher, Mrs. Olson (Miss?) was MEAN. And I was in the slow reading group, so I actually was reading about Dick and Jane and Spot. Whoever thought that was the way to teach reading was nuts, because, c'mon. I didn't care a whit about seeing Spot run. There was a mean boy that teased me, his name was Chase. And then there was this little boy who always wore suits. And he followed me home and would call up to where I lived, in the third floor of one of the apartment buildings. I guess a modern day Romeo, and I was a first grade Juliet? Eventually he quit. (I just wasn't interested.) I should ask my mom about that, if she remembers. I remember one time, I ran home because I had to use the bathroom and then I had to run up all those stairs. (The apartment buildings only went up to three floors, so there was no elevator.)

I remember that there was a piano in the first grade room, and every morning all the classes came together for singing time. We sang "Free to be you and me" and "My Country Tis of Thee." We probably said the Pledge of Allegiance. We were all government kids, our dads and moms either worked for the State Department, the Department of Agriculture, the Air Force, the Army...we had a PX and a commissary. (And a movie theater and a swimming pool.)

In second grade, my teacher was Mrs. Butterbaugh. She was nice. And I learned how to read, in a reading circle, using a book called "A Duck is a Duck." It was a reader with stories. (I think the Dick and Janes were paperback books, not very important looking. I seem to remember that they had the flimsy feel of those early piano lesson books.) We would do "Bloody Mary" in the mirrors in the bathrooms. I never understood that game, but somehow if you said it enough, the you'd see Bloody Mary in the mirror? I learned my first curse word. "Sh plus it spells..." and I went home and repeated this and my mom said, do you know what that means? And I said, no. She said, well, don't go around saying words that you don't know what they are, that's a bad word. I don't think she told me what the word meant.

I wrote my first story when I was in 2nd grade. It was three sentences long, about a butterfly on her birthday. Or a ladybug. And in my head, it was this great story and when I read it out loud it didn't make any sense and everyone laughed. Kids can be cruel. I often wonder where was the teacher? Didn't she look at the stories first to see if they were stupid enough to make people laugh?

Funny the things that come up when you remember just one joke...I wrote this while sitting in the chiropractor's waiting room this morning.

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