I went to Valley Point School for twelve years. The first grade was the hardest. I wanted to fit in with the other kids but it wasn't easy. Believe it or not, I was a little kid when I started to school at the age of six. I remember my mother and I visited the principal of the primary school before school started so that she could see that I was ready for school. I was a precocious child and she said she thought I would be fine starting to school with the other kids my age. It also didn't hurt that Mrs Brooker was a sturdy little petite woman who was no more than five feet tall.
I was in Mrs Owens room in the first grade and was in heaven. She smelled so good. She was a very sweet teacher and all the children loved her very much. We would gather at her desk at recess, and cluster around her, talking and laughing. Some of the kids started sitting on the rim of her grey metal trashcan and balancing on it. I saw different kids doing that. I thought I could do that.
One day I tried to sit on the rim of the trashcan but I didn't know how to balance like the other kids could do. I may have had a hard time because I was shorter than most of the kids and my arms didn't reach back far enought to help me balance. I slipped and found myself folded up like a Swiss army knife and wedged in the trashcan. When I tried to get up I saw that I couldn't get out by myself.
The kids whooped with laughter at my dilema. Mrs Owens tried to get me out but she couldn't. She and some of the kids had to tip the can sideways and pry me out. I was so embarrassed, but the worse was yet to come.
Mrs Owens was afraid that I had hurt my back so she made me lie down on the nearest little wooden table. She called the principal of the elementary school, who was at the building next door, and he came to check on me.
I remember lying on my belly, with boys and girls sitting at the table watching me, and waiting on the principal to come. When he did come in the classroom Mrs Owens explained how I had slipped and gotten stuck in the trashcan and what a hard time they had getting me out. Mrs Owens and Mr Davis were standing next to me beside the table.
Mrs Owens suddenly flipped my skirt-tail up over my back and showed Mr Davis my backside. I suppose they were looking for scratches or bruises but all I saw was a bunch of dumb boys grinning like a bunch of hyenas at me and my panties.
I was mortified. No amount of living would ever erase that shame from my memory and never again did I consider them harmless boys. They had leered at me with glee and I would never forget it. I suppose that was the first wedge that entered the relationship of all those kids that I knew throughout my school years. I always felt it was them against me. No wonder.
My back wasn't seriously hurt and the principal didn't have to call my moma but my ego was bruised. I can honestly say that I don't remember ever sitting on another trashcan again. The teachers in the primary school building put a stop to allowing children to sit on trashcans from that day forward.
That wasn't the only time I would be embarrassed in front of my classmates, or show my underwear. Being a kid isn't easy.