April A to Z Blogging Challenge: D is for Drexel

#DailyWings: “Happiness . Not in another place, but in this place…not for another hour, but this hour.” -Walt Whitman

Blogging From A to Z is an annual month-long challenge in which bloggers around the world are invited to write a blog post every week day for the month of April, with each day corresponding to a letter in the alphabet (26 week days = 26 letters). For this year’s A to Z challenge, my theme is personal anecdotes, or “childhood memories.”

Some of my earliest memories take place at the preschool I went to in Boston called Drexel. I don’t remember what the school looked like from the outside, but my teachers were named Barry and Betsy and they were the kind of lovely, patient and kind human beings you’d imagine would make good preschool teachers.As a preschooler at Drexel, I must have been around five or six years old, if not younger. The golden gates of childhood had only just begun to open, and I was starting to learn how to develop friendships with children my age rather than with nurses or my sister’s friends.

Since my memories from preschool are limited, I want to use today’s “A to Z” post to share those memories in a series of short flashbacks:

I woke up in a bean bag chair to the sound of rustling footsteps as the other children made their way to the main classroom for “circle time” (when everyone came and sat together in a circle). Facing down on my chest was the book I’d been reading when I fell asleep (to nobody’s surprise). 

On a different day, when all the kids were called together for “circle time,” I was frantically trying to finish one of the “Curious George” books (my favorite as a child, because George was a monkey and that was my zodiac animal). I folded the corner of the page I was on, but one of the teachers told me not to damage the book like that and she made me unfold it. I pouted, thinking about how I’d have to find my page later.

For preschool, kindergarten and all of grade school, my parents had a nurse follow me around school. In preschool, my nurse’s name was Kristen. She had short, curly red hair, fair skin and lots of colorful clothing. One day during “circle time,” she told me to stop sucking my thumb because I was a ‘big girl,’ and big girls don’t suck their thumbs.

One of the most popular games we played during recess was to make-believe that there were alligators at the bottom of the playground slides. We would slide halfway down and then try to “save” each other from sliding all the way to the end, where the alligators were presumably waiting for us.

My two closest friends in preschool were Lily, a Chinese girl who always wore dresses, and Samantha, an Italian-American girl with wavy dark hair. One day, Lily told me she had chosen to be Samantha’s best friend, and that that meant she couldn’t be my best friend anymore. It was all very diplomatic, but sad at the same time. She gave me a goodbye hug and I watched her prance away with Samantha. Later that day during recess, I tried to get Lily’s attention – perhaps testing to see if things really had changed – by sliding all the way down one of the slides and flailing around for Lily to help me. On instinct, she cried, “Oh no! Don’t let them get you!” But then she caught herself, adding, “Wendy, I told you I’m Samantha’s friend now!”

During the week of Halloween, our class sat in a circle and sang spooky songs. The one I remember best went something like this:

Stirring and stirring my broom! Wooooo-oo. Wooooo-oo.

Stirring and stirring my broom! Wooooo-oo. Wooooo-oo. 

Tip. toe. Tip. toe. BOO!

When I wasn’t reading during indoor playtime, I was cutting Play-doh out into different shapes using plastic cookie cutters and making “pepperoni pizzas.” Above all, however, the Play-Doh Spaghetti Factory was my favorite tool to use for the malleable stuff; I would load mounds of Play-Doh into the automatic pasta-maker, which churned out thin, pink spaghetti-like “noodles.” About five years later, I would receive an Easy Bake Oven as a gift from my nurse and make small heart-shaped cakes, cookies and brownies. More than 10 years later, I would create “The SELF Diet” section of a blog that occasionally features recipes for gourmet macaroni, stuffed mushrooms and spaghetti piccata. Perhaps the pink Play-Doh pasta was where it all started.

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Special thanks to Chuck Allen for requesting to read about the “first school experience that you remember.” Turns out, I remember a lot more than I thought I did!

Photo Credit: Aleksandar Lazovski

4 responses to “April A to Z Blogging Challenge: D is for Drexel”

  1. Chuck Allen says:

    Wow! You do remember a lot from the early years. I used to love those play-doh presses. They were so much fun. I had one where you pushed the play-doh up into a head until it came out as hair. Then you could trim it with the plastic scissors and knife. :)

  2. Kat says:

    I remember that song, too! I think it was “I’m stirring and stirring and stirring my brew.” That’s how I learned it, at least.

    Your story about your friend “stirred” up some uncomfortable memories for me. It’s so weird how as kids, many of us tended to think we could have only one best friend. That exclusivity is something I wish wouldn’t happen — or else that adults would tell us we shouldn’t do and don’t need to do. It just makes for a lot of unnecessary drama and heartache.

    Anyway, I’m glad you shared these intimate memories with us! Thank you!

  3. Great post! Following you from A-Z

  4. emilia m. says:

    love these types of memories… :) have a few from kindergarten as well (back home there was kindergarten for kids from 3 to 6 years old :) ) – one not so nice was when the teacher was yelling at me that my dad was “late” picking me up… he was not late at all, but usually kids were picked up a bit earlier and the teachers could go home early…
    other one was when I was about 4-5 years old and I was reading a fairy tale to my peers because the teacher wanted a cigarette break ;)
    not as fun as yours :D

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