The kid has started Grade 1…

Stereotypical first day pic
Stereotypical first day pic

This seems big and important to me not only because it’s an actual numbered grade, but also because I remember Grade 1. I remember a lot about Grade 1, while I only remember snippets of kindergarten – like the little red-headed boy who threw up in front of the playhouse and the janitor had to come and clean it up.

(Sidebar – the playhouse that I had in my kindergarten classroom? My Gramps built it the year my sister was in SK. He built it for the school. Just because. And it was still there years later when I went to pick up a kid I was supposed to babysit).

I remember that we knew my teacher’s name before I started school, but she was knew so my mom didn’t know anything about her. Her name was Mme. Piché and she had short, very dark hair and big glasses. I remember that she always always spoke to us in French unless there was something very important that she needed us to understand, and then she would tell us in English, and we knew that it was important because she was telling us in English.

I remember that I sat next to a little boy with a rat tail, but I don’t remember his actually name.

I remember that we wrote get well cards for my friend Molly when she went away for an operation. I remember that Molly was kind and gentle and friendly and that I wasn’t surprised at all when we reconnected on Facebook and I found out that she’s a nurse.

I remember M. Leduc came in to teach us gym. I remember this vividly even though my sister says it can’t be true because she had M. Leduc later for French and he was in no way a gym teacher. And I remember Mr. Louks, who I still think might have been the best principal ever. Though Mr. Dagenais would be a close second.

I remember my math workbook – an actual book that you wrote in that the school gave us – had a polar bear and a light blue cover. I have no idea why that detail has stuck with me for so long. I started Grade 1 almost 30 years ago.

I know that I loved Grade 1. I think it’s probably because in junior kindergarten I was new to school, and in senior kindergarten I was new to French, but in Grade 1 I could start just being in school. And I had my own teacher, not one that had taught my sister before me. Mme. Piché. I picture her with her short dark hair and her great big glasses and she’s always kind and smiling, and she’s always wearing a white jacket and a bright blue shirt.

They say you can never go back. I can but it won’t be the same since the renovated the entire school after I graduated Grade 8. But every time I’m in the neighbourhood I see parents of people I went to school with, though none of my teachers are at the school any more. And Mme. Piché? I think she was just there for that one year with us. But I remember her.

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