This is my first post for the Indie Ink Writing Challenge. Honestly, I'm so honored to take part in the challenge alongside so many talented folks. My prompt this week comes from TJ over at StudioEightOneSix or on Twitter at @studio816.
Here's the prompt:
You're seven years old and sitting in your second grade classroom for the first time in your new school - your third school in as many years. Describe the sights, sounds, smells, textures, etc. How do you feel? What is going through your mind? Write it as your seven-year-old self.
TJ, it's been 26 years since I was seven-years-old! That fact made this prompt quite the challenge to respond to! However, as the daughter of a preacher man, we moved around quite a bit growing up. I actually remembered many of the feelings I had on my first days in new schools very well! I hope I rose to the challenge and made you proud!
“All right Mandy. We’re here!” my dad said as he parked the car at the new school. He walked over to the passenger side of our Honda Civic station wagon and opened the car door for me to get out. I looked out of the car and over at the school. There are no trees, I thought. My last school had a lot of trees.
“Let’s go inside and find your classroom,” he said reaching out his hand for me to take. I sat there for a moment and looked up at him and asked, “Who will I play with, Daddy?” “You’re going to make lots of new friends here just like you did at your old school. Do you remember all the friends you had?” he asked. “But what if no one wants to play with me at this school?” I asked. “I promise there will be plenty of nice kids for you to play with,” he said.
I unbuckled my seatbelt and slowly got out of the car. I took his hand, and we walked up to the school. I tried to get a glimpse of the playground, but it was too far away. I could see the swings, but I couldn’t see whether there were any monkey bars. “Can we go look at the playground before we go inside?” I asked. My dad was walking really fast and said, “I’m sorry, but we don’t have time for that, Mandy. I promise it will have just as many things as your old school had.”
When we arrived at the front door, my dad pulled open the blue heavy door that had the words, Welcome to Sadie Saulter Elementary School, in big letters printed on the glass. A lady who said she was the principal, Mrs. Mayo, smiled and said hello to my dad and me as we walked inside. “You’re in second grade?” she asked me. I nodded. How did she know that? I wondered. Pointing down a long hallway to the right, she said, “If you walk down that hallway right there, you’ll follow the signs to the Second Grade classrooms.”
As we walked through the door, I smelled something that reminded me of my old school. This school smells like the pizza at my other school, I noticed, remembering the funny shape. I wonder if the pizza here is cut into a rectangle shape too.
We walked down the long hallway and followed the signs that said Second Grade. We passed the Kindergarten and First Grade classrooms before we got to my classroom. “Ah, here we are. This must be Miss West. Mandy, Miss West is going to be your second grade teacher,” my dad said, handing me my backpack and giving me a kiss on the top of my head and a squeeze of my hand. “Here’s your lunch, your backpack and a quarter for milk,” he said. I knelt down and put the quarter he handed me in the pocket of one of my new gray KangaROOS shoes. I wonder if they have chocolate milk here like they did at my old school, I thought. I hope so.
After ensuring the quarter was secure, I stood up and clutched onto my dad’s leg. “It will be okay,” he promised. I didn’t let go. “I will pick you up right outside of your classroom when school is over, okay?” I still didn’t let go. “I love you,” he said. I finally let go, but I felt like I was going to cry.
Miss West, my teacher, was a thin, blonde lady who had a shirt with a monkey on it. I like monkeys too, I thought. The monkey on her shirt looks just like the ones we saw at the zoo this summer. Maybe I’ll wear my monkey t-shirt from the zoo tomorrow. She held out her hand. Successfully fighting back the tears, I took her hand, and she led me in to the classroom. “We’ll be okay, Mr. W. Won’t we, Miss Mandy? We sure have lots of fun things planned for the first day of second grade,” she said. I started to follow her but then stopped to look down the hall until my dad was out of sight. I started to feel homesick.
We walked inside. There were two other kids sitting at their desks. “This will be your desk,” Miss West said. My name appeared on a green frog on the right-hand corner of the desk. How did she know my name was Mandy and not Amanda? I wondered. My first grade teacher always called me Amanda even though my name is Mandy, I thought.
“How about we unpack the supplies in your backpack and then take your things to your cubby,” she said. I looked down at my brand new blue backpack. It had my initials, MW, stitched in white letters on the front pocket. I unzipped the front pocket and took out the box of 64 crayons. I slid them into my desk. I then took out the thick yellow pencil and pencil sharpener that my mom had bought for me the night before and carefully placed them into the pencil slot. I unzipped the big pocket of my backpack and proudly took out my new He-Man trapper keeper. I slid it inside my desk slowly, hoping Miss West would notice it. After zipping my backpack up, I followed Ms West over to my cubby, which had my name, Mandy W, written in black letters on a piece of masking tape. I placed my backpack and He-Man lunch box inside.
I then walked to my desk and sat down on the blue slippery chair. The chair was cold. I looked around the room at the other two kids. To my left, there was a boy with curly brown hair, big glasses and a blue and white-striped shirt. His name, Edward, was written on the green frog on his desk. To my right, there was a girl with long, curly, blonde hair pulled back by a pink ribbon with a matching pink shirt. Her green frog said, Carrie. She looks like my very best friend, Alison, I thought.
Just as they had their heads down on their desks, I too laid my head on my desk and watched as the other kids walk in. I noticed that the boy with the green frog that said Justin had the same He-Man trapper keeper that I had. He was sitting at the desk in front of me. I wonder who his favorite He-Man character is. Mine is Orko, I thought.
I then looked around the classroom. Above the chalkboard was each letter of the alphabet. Each letter was capitalized with the same letter in lower case next to it (Aa, Bb, Cc). I read each letter to myself. In the left-hand corner of the chalkboard, I saw the words, Miss West. Underneath the big round, white clock with black numbers, I saw the words, Monday, August 27, 1984. Then I noticed that the numbers, 1 through 100, were over the bulletin boards on another wall. The bulletin boards were decorated with different jungle animals. On another wall, I saw the windows. I looked out the windows for the playground, but I couldn't see it. I could only see a parking lot.
After each kid had arrived, a loud bell rang. Hey, this school has a bell just like my old school, I thought. Shortly after the bell rang, a different teacher with short, brown hair and glasses walked in the room and closed the door. “Good morning, class,” Miss West said. “I’m Miss West, your teacher, and this is Miss Riley, our classroom aide. We are so excited you’re in our class this year,” she said smiling. “Let me tell you a little bit about our morning. First, we’re going to have a little fun and play Heads Up, Seven Up. Raise your hand if like Heads Up, Seven Up,” she said.
Oh, Oh! I know how to play that, I thought. They played that at my last school! I raised my hand as high as it would go.
“And then, after Heads Up, Seven Up, we’re going to have Reading. And after Reading, we’ll go to the playground for recess. Raise your hand if you like recess,” she said. Everyone raised his or her hand. I did too. I wonder if there are monkey bars. I hope someone will play with me, I thought. I hope the big kids aren’t out there at the same time, I thought, remembering when I broke my arm in Kindergarten after being told by the third-graders to jump off the merry-go-round because I was crying that it was going too fast.
Miss West continued, “After recess, we’ll have lunch.” I reached down to make sure my quarter was still in the pocket of my ROOS. I can't wait to have my strawberry fruit rollup, I thought.
“All right, gang. Let’s play Heads Up, Seven Up. The first seven people to come up to the front of the class will be Jared, Kelvin, Molly, Lacey, Shaunta, Edward and Mandy. Ooh! Ooh! She picked me, I thought. I walked to the front of the room along with the others. After the other kids put their heads down on their desks and stuck their thumbs out, Miss West told us to walk around and pick one person’s thumb. I looked around and walked over to Justin’s desk. I pressed his thumb. I walked back to the front with the others. “All right, everyone. If your thumb was pressed, stand up!” Justin and six other kids stood up. When it was his turn to guess who pressed his thumb, I smiled at him. He then guessed that I picked him. When we changed places, he smiled at me. As I sat down, I thought, Second grade might be okay.