First Day of School

I know a lot of people went to preschool; well, I didn’t. I turned 5-years-old on March 14, 1989, and in August I went to kindergarten. It’s funny how some memories are so vivid and others are so vague. My memories of going to my first day of kindergarten are very vivid. I remember my mom bringing me to the school to register a few weeks before classes started. I remember the assessment they made us do: we had to skip down the hall, say our ABCs (if we could), and count to ten (again, if we could). Skipping was easy; I excelled in that activity. The ABCs and counting were foreign to me, but—lucky for me–they still let me in kindergarten!

I remember walking in the door of my new class a few weeks after the assessment. Now that I look back on it, it is horrible how this works.

I spent five years of my life, well, MY WHOLE LIFE, by my mother’s side.

Then, Martha—that’s my mother’s name—loaded me up in the car, drove me across the Westbank Expressway, and walked me into a classroom full of strangers, and left me!

Who does that to their child? 

Well—I hate to break it to you—I didn’t cry. I actually enjoyed it. The teacher sat me down at a table with three other kids. THIS MEMORY is in 4K resolution in my head! Sitting at the table were Shelle, Katherine, and Travis. Three people that I would be in classes with through sixth grade.

Katherine stood up and introduced herself. This girl was a mess! She had a book with her and she stood up and proclaimed that she was the teacher and she was going to read to us. Ummm, ok. So, she read a book to us. Reflecting on this story, that diva couldn’t read, she made the whole thing up. I mean, we couldn’t read either, so we couldn’t prove her wrong! Shelle was quiet. All through elementary school, Shelle was quiet.  And, Travis. Travis was African-American and we were friends all through elementary school. He was very funny and loved everyone. He never really fit in with a group. But, I don’t think he was gay—just different. 

It didn’t take me long to make friends in kindergarten. I was so social that I even went to other classes. I would ask the teacher if I could go to another class, and she would let me. Looking back, she let me because that meant she didn’t have to put up with me! I was a talker; I never would shut up. All through school I would get behavior reports for talking when I was not supposed to. I couldn’t help it—I had a lot to say!

School was hard for me. It always was hard and never got easier. I always struggled, was always behind on my work, and I hated homework! I would say that 90% of the time I did not do my homework. I still don’t understand why we spent 8 hours in school and then we’re expected to go home and do more work. That was dumb, in my humble opinion. When it came time to turn in homework I would either turn in nothing or scribble on some paper to make it look like I tried. I would purposely distort my writing in the hopes the teacher would give me credit because they thought it was right but just couldn’t read my writing… That never worked.

Parent-teacher conferences happened always…

Westley isn’t doing his homework.

Westley doesn’t read well.

Westley doesn’t speak well. 

Westley is a horrible human being and is behind all students his age on this planet. That is what I heard. Even though that is what I heard, I pushed through. I survived kindergarten, and 1st grade was waiting for me…

© 2020, Westley Hodges (

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