Some gems from first grade.
Here you have it, proof that I once was not very good at spelling. Check out that bottom line! Half of the last sentence is misspelled. Impressive.As far as I can tell, the egg itself says “”Ninga Egg” which I assume is meant to be “Ninja Egg.” TMNT was a thing at the time, right? And maybe it’s a Cadbury creme egg oozing out there. I might get some details wrong here [I was only in first grade, after all], and I’m sure my family will correct me in the comments if I do, but what I remember is that my dad – who was in the Air Force at the time – was deployed to England during the Gulf War. My six-year-old brain could not figure out why he went there when the fighting was somewhere else, yet I still worried that he would die in combat. And . . . even better . . . he was a nurse in the Air Force, so the chances of him being injured or killed in combat – in England – were pretty nonexistent. But I worried as a six-year-old does that the world, in its inexplicably complicated ways, would find a way of making my fears a reality. My dad didn’t die, though (thankfully), and in the picture I drew a school kit he brought back with a pencil case, pencil, eraser, and pencil sharpener. I don’t actually remember this school kit; I do remember British Monopoly, a bear or puppet bear, and a bookmark. Still have the bookmark.
I sound way more cheerful as a child than I do as an adult. Huh.
I’m not sure why this is posed as a question. Was it a cloudy day? Was I having a philosophical moment? Regardless, happy 7th birthday, Jarom! Oh wait – here’s the reverse of this page:Wow. I made my own teacher-comments. That is great. I do vaguely remember my dad coming to my class, which is obviously a big deal as it’s about the only thing I remember from first grade. My teacher’s name was Ms. Bocox, and boom. End of first grade memories. So, question. What did my dad talk about when he came to my class? No idea! But, in a memory attached to this one, we made a thank-you poster for him afterwards. I remember this because we had to figure out how to spell Lieutenant. Which I have just noticed starts with “lieu,” and I will now have no trouble spelling. (Wait, did I just admit to not being sure how to spell lieutenant until a minute ago?)
This is by far my favorite. Here we have a Latina girl being carried away/dropped by a large bird, crying out for her Latino lover to HELP! SAVE ME! We had recently gotten new across-the-street neighbors; my new idol was their oldest daughter, Esmeralda, who was 3 years older than me. Plus, I grew up in an extremely diverse area, so I’d already had lots of friends of different ethnicity. I felt so boring and plain with my shockingly white skin and blonde hair. Far better to have beautifully black hair and lovely skin! I just wish I knew the background of this little story. Why is she being carried off by a (guessing here) pelican from her romantic dinner date? Sigh. Such a mystery.Okay, two things. 1. My teacher used the wrong “your” and it makes me cringe. 2. HOLY EARLY NINETIES! Check out that hair! And the sleeves on my dress! I’m so proud of this drawing as what is most likely how I envisioned myself looking, not how I actually looked. That’s right, I desperately wanted to have awesome hair and puffy sleeves. Unsure what’s up with the splotches on the dress, but overall, I am thrilled with how this turned out.
While I’ve been writing this post, I’ve been trying to recall what else was notable about first grade. So far, nothing. What do you remember about being in first grade? And which of my pictures is your favorite?
In my 8th grade English class, we put together collages about ourselves at the beginning of the year. I opted for drawing rather than cutting and pasting, and I remember the very large set of colored pencils I used. Here’s the finished product:
I’ll do my best to interpret this, but it’s been . . . a number of years since I did this. And I’ve never been a very interesting person, so a lot of the things on here are really a stretch to make it seem like I had hobbies and interests. Going somewhat clockwise from top right:
Obviously, my name – Mika Lewis.
U.W.C. – I have no clue! The best I can guess is that I was referring to United World Colleges, which has a campus in New Mexico. I do remember wanting to go to school in New Mexico, but the reasons for the desire are lost.
Artist’s palette – even then I fancied myself an artist, although I seldom worked with paint. I’ve never owned a palette like that, and I doubt I ever will.
L.d.s. – the writing on this entire “collage” just drives me crazy. At the time I’m sure it looked soooo cool, but now . . . not so much. This was my way of saying I’m Mormon (a much more unique fact in California than Utah).
Television – with a cutesy face and everything. I liked watching tv? How original. I can’t think of any shows I watched at that age, though.
Computer – with evil face. Apparently computers were not my friend. Eighth graders today wouldn’t draw a computer that looked anything like that – with the monitor on top of the stand, a mouse that has a cord, a big clunky keyboard . . .
Sun with glasses – hilariously, I think this is meant to say I like being outside. Now I just like to sit inside (or, even better, lay down on my ridiculously comfortable bed) and read a book. Or sleep.
Needle and orange thread – a somewhat inventive way of indicating orange was my favorite color. REALLY favorite. Did I sew much? No.
B.Y.U. – the college I did go to and eventually graduate from.
Stack of books – I love reading. Always.
Jukebox – I listened almost exclusively to oldies at the time.
Ballet shoe – by eighth grade I was no longer doing ballet, but it had been part of my life for years. In seventh grade I injured my knee and stopped dancing for a while.
Report card – very humble. Notice the A, A-, A, B+. Pretty sure I was trying to say I’m smart.
Phones – those are the actual phones we had in our house! A red one in the kitchen and a cordless one (so fancy) with a big antenna.
Pencil and paper – I liked writing. I’ve come to realize over the last decade that I can write personal essays and blog posts well enough, but fiction is beyond me. I used to have some great ideas for short stories, and part of me is a little disappointed that nothing will ever come of those, but at the same time I recognize that my writing is nothing compared to, say, Brandon Sanderson.
Telescope and stars – who doesn’t love stars? To be honest, I’ve never used a telescope.
Algebra 2 textbook – by this time I liked math again, and was good at it. I was one of a few eighth graders taking algebra 2 that year.
Glasses – I love the googly eyes. I got contacts at the end of ninth grade, but I’d had glasses since fifth grade.
CTR ring – stands for “Choose the Right,” a precursor to WWJD. I’ve only ever seen this in Mormonism.
Flower – I liked flowers?
$ – self-explanatory.
m&ms – my favorite color was tan. There are a few blue m&ms in the picture, so this must have been after they took out tan and added blue. Thumbs down.
Music note – I assume this meant I liked music, not that I’m in any way (or ever have been) musically inclined.
Braces – of all unfair things, I had braces twice. Once from 4th-7th grade, and again from 8th-11th.
Cookie – in home ec in seventh grade, I made a chocolate chip cookie pillow. From a kit. It came with an entire pattern and all the pieces. Very basic.
Stereo – with a tape deck! I don’t think this had a cd player at all.
Jarom and I met in 9th grade and had been friends since 10th grade, but it was only in our senior year that any real romance started. (On my part, at least.) We were both doing Academic Decathlon and had almost identical class schedules, so we spent a LOT of time together. It was a busy year, filled with [mostly] good memories. I came across my planner from 12th grade and thought you might like seeing a few pages.
It looks like we had Academic Decathlon meetings every Wednesday and Thursday; my church youth group met every Tuesday; and I was very good at scheduling every assignment and keeping deadlines in mind. The “Y Weekend” was pretty cool – I got invited to visit BYU and see how great the campus was. I think my parents paid for airfare and the rest of the trip was covered by BYU. Part of the weekend was going to a football game against the Air Force Academy. It was so different from a high school football game!
Instead of doing AP English, I and a few other LDS kids (including Jarom) opted for a creative writing class. The AP English teacher seemed a bit too focused on the sexual innuendo in the summer reading, and we were already insanely busy, so the one-semester “college prep” class was a nice alternative. It turned out to be the easiest, most joke-of-a-class I took in all of high school. We watched a lot of movies and if I remember correctly, we even did some art projects. And there was a group skit we had to do, with a shy girl who had a very obvious crush on one of the other group members. I bring up the creative writing class because one of our assignments was to write and illustrate a children’s book. Mine was called Annushka and the Eggplant, and I still have it. The kids read it sometimes. The story doesn’t make a ton of sense; I really liked the color and shape of eggplants, so I wanted to work that in somehow. A little girl named Annushka wakes up in the middle of the forest instead of in her bed. She asks a fox for help, but he agrees only after she gives him her bracelet. The fox won’t take her across the river, so she’s aided by a bear, who asks nothing in return. Soon she’s getting close to her home village – and suddenly an angry mountain goat jumps out and bars her way! She weepingly says she has nothing left to give except a piece of bread and an eggplant in her little bag. The goat, it turns out, loooooooves eggplant, so he happily helps her find the village in exchange for the eggplant.
By March, I had dated someone else, had a huge dramatic episode and crisis with Jarom, and realized that I liked him. (Very condensed.) We never made our relationship “official” by actually saying we were boyfriend and girlfriend, though that teenage logic now seems pretty weak. Also, apologies to all the people we hung out with and were an awkward couple around . . . teenagers are the worst. At any rate, one of our first “this isn’t a date”s was that first weekend in March. (When Jarom came back from Korea, we went on an official first date, without the teenage-ness and with several more years of maturity.)
The Academic Decathlon state competition was that month, and it was amazing. I loved it. We had a decent chance of placing first in our division and going on to the national competition – but I’m glad we came in second! It was nice to have a break after that, and relax before the end of the school year. The worst thing about the competition was that we found out afterwards (having won many awards) that the normal scholarships weren’t being given for medalists. I was heartbroken; I thought there was no way I could go to college without that scholarship. (I’d already been admitted to BYU.) I had somehow gotten the numbers confused in my head and thought tuition at BYU was $15,000 a year, not $1,500 a semester. Haha. (Don’t worry, tuition has risen steadily over the last decade. It isn’t quite that cheap anymore – but still very inexpensive.)
For the second semester of the year, after the creative writing class ended, we had a Shakespeare class. It was much more intellectual than the creative writing class, but it was definitely not a honors class. It did mean a return to Mrs. Mugg’s classroom, where we started out in freshman English. I’ll forever remember her asking students not to use “the S-U phrase” (“shut up”).
What was your favorite year of high school? Did you have a teenage romance?
In second grade, we kept daily journals. I was very much into drawing at the time (really until about fourth grade, I think), so my journals tended to be more art than text. This sample includes both.
I must have seen The Great Mouse Detective shortly before this, because it’s an attempt at drawing Fidget, the bat from the movie. I even drew the pocket inside his wing, along with the list he lost.
And the reverse:
October 28, 1991
Today our street was blocked off! It was because at the church on N. Texas was having a funerl. It was for a policeman who lived in Fairfield but worked for the Oakland Police Station. My mom said that he probably got killed in the fire.
When I grow up….
When I grow up, I want to be an artist, an auther, an illlustrater, and a teacher. When I grow up I want to get a cute little kitten. Maybe I will also buy a puppy.
My second-grade teacher was Mr. Handa. I think I had a few friends in middle school who had a crush on his son, Scott. In second grade I was still going to the elementary school near my house, and my best friend was named Keith or Roger or something. We held hands when we walked to lunch, because that’s what friends do, but other kids made fun of us. Also, I liked bologna, which is now one of the most disgusting things in the world. How can someone take a sandwich to school in the morning, carry it around at room temperature, and then eat it when it has both mayo and lunch meat on it? Sick. Sick and wrong.
Mr. Handa recommended that I be tested for GATE, but I don’t remember much about him beyond that. It wasn’t a very memorable year.
In third grade, we did a unit on the human skeleton. At the beginning of the unit our teacher, Mrs. Van Putten, had us draw and label the skeleton – so we could compare it to what we learned later. Here’s my charming drawing.
Thankfully, I also kept the end-of-unit drawing, for at least some slight redemption. I swear I am not an idiot, regardless of what the previous drawing might indicate. Proof that I learned something, at one point in my life:
Forgive my 8-year-old spelling. I did go on to become a pretty great speller. More or less.
I don’t actually remember the skeleton unit from third grade. I do remember the Native American unit, which I’m fairly certain we called the Indian unit. We all had Indian names – if I looked through all my papers, I might be able to find mine – and Renee and I (and another classmate, I can’t remember who – maybe Ashley Mitchell?) made an Indian hideout under the class steps. We went on a field trip where we learned how to grind acorns, and afterward we used broken bits of concrete under the class steps as rocks to grind grass and leaves. Or something like that. My memory is getting a little rusty at this point. Any help, Renee?
One of my other distinct memories from third grade is meeting a girl who was as small as I was – Samantha Herrera. Because I was in a special program for Extra Smart People (it’s my blog, so let me brag), most of my classmates didn’t live nearby; Samantha lived in Lawler Ranch, which I’ve never visited as an adult, so I can’t really say how far away it was. But it was far enough away that I always had to be driven to her house. Samantha was best friends with Soleil, who I now realize got her French name via her Vietnamese mother. But at age 8, I didn’t know anything about world history.
The last thing I’ll share is that I loved math until third grade. Because I entered GATE (the awesome thing I got to do for being an Extra Smart Person) in third grade, I went from second-grade math – which I loved – to fourth-grade math and had a LOT of trouble with it. I remember struggling with multiplying two 2-digit numbers. The jelly-bean explanation confused me. A few of the other students were so good at math that they went up to the fourth grade GATE class for math, which really put them at a fifth-grade level. I think they were mostly boys (Brad Handel, Andrew Gemmer, Jason-whose-last-name-I’ve-forgotten. Counihan?), and I felt like maybe that meant something. But by fifth grade I was in the advanced math group, and most of us were girls. So I guess it was just chance.
What do you remember from third grade?