Jennifer Doering: My elementary escapades
When I turned 5 years old in 1956, I started kindergarten. I was the youngest daughter of three and I clearly remembered my Mom taking me to the first day of school.
Since I had always been cared for at home, I was really scared. No sooner had Mom dropped me off into the kindergarten room when I bolted out the door crying hysterically.
Before I was able to scramble out the door, Mom was able to catch up to me. I just would not stop crying because I was so afraid of being left in a strange place.
My sister, Karen, who attended second grade at that time, was summoned by Mom to try and cheer me up. Once Karen arrived, she read a story to the class and I finally stopped crying.
A while later, a little girl asked me why I was crying and I answered, “I don’t know.”
After that day, kindergarten was great for me, however, late one morning, a new boy in our class needed to go to the restroom. The teacher asked me to show him where it was.
Once we arrived, the boy asked me to go inside with him. Thinking nothing about it, I followed him in.
As soon as we both came out, I saw the principal walking down the hall. To my surprise, I was immediately taken into his office and suspended for the rest of the day.
As far as I knew, I had done nothing wrong and I remember Mom was very upset with the principal for suspending me. Luckily, the rest of kindergarten went by without further incident.
While in second grade, I was sitting in the classroom eating our school lunch. The food included a horrible rotted-looking rutabaga which I refused to eat.
After about 15 minutes of my teacher admonishing me to eat the food, I continued to refuse. Losing her temper, my teacher forced the food into my mouth, which I promptly threw right back up onto her.
She was so angry, she sent me home with a note to my Mom.
After Mom picked me up, she showed me the note upon arrival at home. On the note it stated that, “Jennifer refused to eat her food and deliberately threw-up on me.”
Again, Mom was very upset with the teacher’s discipline. Since I knew I was not in trouble, I asked Mom, “Who is Jennifer?” Mom told me that the teacher was talking about me. I said, “But Mom, my name is Jenny!”
Mom told me that yes, I was called Jenny, but my real name was Jennifer.
So, because of this incident in second grade, I learned what my real name was.
As an aside, I was the only Jennifer all through my school age years. Now, the name Jennifer is extremely popular.
While home during the summer from elementary school, I was waiting for my sisters to go outside and play, I looked at my unmade bed and noticed a label on my mattress saying, “Not to be removed by anyone other than the consumer.”
Not understanding what “consumer,” meant, I tore it off anyway.
My sister Karen saw me do this and told me that, “I was in real trouble.”
Terrified, I ran from the house because as soon as Karen told me this, I heard police sirens. I ended up hiding in the woods for about two hours before Karen finally told me she had been “spoofing me.” It took me a long time to trust Karen again.
I’m sure that many of us have good and not-so-good memories of our childhood. I have to say for the most part, my childhood was okay despite scuffles with teachers and my sister.
I’d like to hear if any other folks out there have gone through similar elementary escapades.
Jennifer Doering lives in Salisbury.