When I was a little girl I used to go to school and cry. I would sit at my desk, take out my pocket-sized tissues that I believe were invented for people like me, and silently wipe my tears while I listened to the teacher teach me about fractions. I have often tried to remember when this anxiety over school began. I think I can trace it back to kindergarten. I remember going to kindergarten in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I remember that the church where I was attending school had a wonderful teacher. She had a special board that had the jobs of the day. There was "line leader" (the coveted job), "door holder" (the job for the humble servant), "snack helper" (passed out the goodies) and the one that had me coming to school every day with anticipation----praying it would be my turn....."drink helper"(this person got to pour the drinks from the pretty glass pitcher). I don't know why this job fascinated me so much, but I remember always looking to see if my name had made it to that slot yet.
During the middle of this kindergarten year my family moved to Florida. My Daddy had been called to a church and we would be going before the school year ended. This meant that I would have to change schools. I guess that's when it all started.....I'm not quite sure. I remember my parents trying to decide where I would attend kindergarten. There was only one kindergarten at that time which I'm sure friends in this town now would find funny considering the major growth that has occurred over the years. At this point in history, there were only two elementary schools and one kindergarten which was located at the county office site. The decision was made that I would go try this kindergarten out for a day. My brother was attending one of the elementary schools. The kindergarten told my parents that the school bus picked up the kindergarten children and would deliver them home or to the elementary schools to meet up with siblings for carpool. I begged and begged to ride the school bus. I thought it would be exciting and such a "big girl" thing to do. My parents agreed, though I think it was with a little apprehension. My mother took me to school and met with the teacher. I remember it was very hot in the room and there were flies. The teacher was explaining the bus situation and lunch when a little boy walked by with sores all over him. The flies were sticking to him and his sores. The teacher said, "Boys and girls, don't touch Johnny. We don't know exactly what these sores are all over him." I don't remember anything else about the day except dismissal. It came time to go get on the big yellow bus and go home. I was to ride the school bus that would take me to my brother's school where my mother would pick us up. All the children had tags hanging around there necks with yarn. The tags said which bus they would be riding. I was new. I didn't have a tag. I guess the teacher was busy, preoccupied, tired......but she didn't put one of those tags on me. I was at the end of the line and I just followed the person in front of me and got on the bus. I rode the bus as far as it would go and got off at the school. The wrong school. I didn't realize it was the wrong school until I had been standing outside the office forEVER it seemed. Finally the principal came out and asked me who I was and who my parents were. He recognized the name and called my mother. She had been waiting at the other school for me when the bus arrived without me. She came to pick me up and it was decided that I would go to the kindergarten across the street from our church. Another new school. My stomach turned....and churned. I believe that this began my love-hate relationship with school. This is the place where I met the thing that would always cause me anxiety and so much joy.
And so the saga began.