Febuary

I was in second grade when we moved to a small town on the Ohio River, in the second month of 1972. The school was only a couple blocks away, just as when we lived in the South Bronx. But instead of taking an elevator down seven floors, walking along the Grand Concourse, and ascending stone steps up to the school, now we lived in a house, crossed a lightly trafficked road, and strolled into a single-story brick building with windows that admit dazzling sunlight.

Soon after, the teacher called on me to write the day on the blackboard. I wrote Febuary as the name of the month. The teacher said to the class, Can we tell William how to spell February?

This was new. Back in the Montessori, we wouldn’t have pointed out someone else’s mistake while in a group, certainly not with the encouragement of a teacher. We didn’t recite anything together aloud, except to sing.

I remember other moments from that time. I remember my father driving us around and announcing we had driven through the downtown, when downtown for us had meant looking up and seeing the World Trade Center being built. At school I remember being knocked from behind on the playground and having my ski mask pulled off because the older kids were playing a game and then quickly being picked up and receiving an apology, fashioning a triceratops of clay and pencils to battle with Laurie’s tyrannosaurus, removing the staples from weekly assignments sent home and smoothing out the papers so they would look good, pretending to read a simple storybook slowly as we went around the table because everyone else did.

I learned how to spell February.

Advertisements

Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s