Cussedness Corner

"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane

School Days in El Monte


My first day at school in El Monte, the teacher put me in the lowest reading group in the class.  I read so well, that she tried me in the middle group after recess, and then in the top group after lunch.  I looked at the words on the page and started reading, “Houses, houses, houses.”  She told me to look at the word again and my eyes lit up as I corrected myself, “Horses!”

I drove the play yard monitors crazy by doing things like going down the slide backwards and parcipating in turf wars with the boys in the rough grassy area in the far rear.  They would knock me down and I would get up and knock them down.  I liked the rough and tumble.

However, it was also the place where Mickey, my mother, re-entered my life.  I had not seen her since I was two years old.  The day that she came to visit, she sat me up on the counter in the kitchen.  It had pale yellow tile with an edge of black tile and thick while grouting.

“I know you don’t remember me, but I’m your mother.”

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2 comments on “School Days in El Monte

  1. Joel Wideman
    December 18, 2007

    I had a similar reading experience in the first grade. My parents were both big readers and I was reading well before starting school. They said I belonged in a much higher reading group, and wanted to promote me. This is the same school that, a year later, made me repeat first grade because I hadn’t gone to kindergarten.

  2. cussedness
    December 18, 2007

    Mama insisted that they hold me back in fourth grade because she thought I needed to get a bit more mature before going onto fifth. And then they made me skip 6th because I was too advanced. sigh.

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This entry was posted on December 17, 2007 by in childhood in the 1960s, Janrae Frank, memoir and tagged , .

Janrae Frank

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