Paper, pencils, crayons and water colors were always around the house. Grandma’s old player piano was in the boy’s room with a pool table. We lived a rustic life. The smell of food, the sound of children, parents and nature contrasted the rather harsh world of a classroom. Going to school was not for me. It was social torture where I turned off, only to turn on during time on the playground.
In second grade I remember Mrs. Bracka shaking me,
“No Holly, I told you do not do that. Put them in alphabetical order!!”
I would just write down any number when it came to math. The smart girl went around the room correcting everyone’s papers. When she got to me she said,
“You got them all wrong. I will have to give you an F!”
She kept trying to get the teacher’s attention while she was correcting papers; after correcting my paper she went pee all over the chair next to me.
When I got to 6th grade it was about the same. I only watched the clock until kickball on the playground. I was put in the back of the class in the slow learner section, and believe me the other kids let us know it. Until one day when Mr. Kennedy asked the whole class to write poems.
“Write about what you feel, write about what interests you or inspires you,” he said.
This teacher, who played the song Aquarius over the PA sound system at Serriania Elementary school, woke me up to the power of writing.
This is my first poem.
What will tomorrow be like?
Will they be day or night?
Will it be like today?
Or will there be other planets too,
For us to play?
Will there be rockets taking us to Mars, Venus or Neptune?
This is what people think about,
If we wait awhile we will soon find out.
Mr. Kennedy was a tall grey haired man. He kind of looked like Ichabod Crane in a 1960s straight legged suite. He read my poem to the whole class. When the well-read and the popular girls looked around at me, I should have given them my tongue. I should have stuck it way out so they could see it as clear as the sun. I didn’t. I just sat in my seat as I am now…. years later. I was just happy to be understood. I still am.
To Mr. Kennedy who taught with kindness.