My last post was just shooting from the hip, as just getting started usually makes me want to keep going. But it did make me think of something I hadn’t thought on in a long time. All the little distractions and feelings of being in school. What was it like for you?
There are times I’m convinced that if I were a child going to school these days, I would have been diagnosed ADHD. I turned nearly everything into a toy and used whatever I could for a distraction. When I was a kid my mother had a policy of not buying anything for my sister and I that was too…”gimmicky”, like glittery sharpeners, or erasers in fun shapes, or folders with characters on them. Everything had to be plain colors, plain shapes, less we get distracted by them. Especially during those precious early weeks of school. Still remember the year that those mechanical pencil boxes came out- the ones with tons of little compartments, snap out sharpeners and erasers, and the funny smell of vinyl. When my best friend got one, I literally spent the first class that day doing nothing but pressing all the buttons and opening every drawer, putting pencils in and seeing how many would fit, hopelessly fascinated- until the teacher took it away from me. And that happened to me a lot.
Critters were always a welcome distraction in the classroom. Whenever we’d have a class pet, I’d spend most of the lesson looking over into the cage, wondering if the pet was listening and if he/she was as bored as I was. Or I’d imagine what school was like for them- you know, before they were sold to the pet store and made to go to human school. Was the pet a good student at his/her school?
Probably the only thing that got me to focus with all my ability was fairs and events. Book fairs, career week, science fair (my personal favorite), plays, parties- that was the stuff I lived for. Even now, the scent of a match still reignites the memories of helping my mother put away her students’ science fair projects, setting up the displays for the parents’ arrivals, skipping and sliding down the empty hallways when no one was watching. My sister and I, and the other staff kids would often get extra treats for having to stay in school for the science fair prep, and we made a lot of fun out of it- playing with board games from any classroom, messing with the gym equipment, being allowed in the kitchen (which was a strict no-no), and checking to see what kinds of books the older kids read (how sad I was to discover that younger kids generally had the better books). My mind has done an excellent job of stripping the information I received from school away from the methods in which I learned it all (and, of course, that likely happens to most). But happily it allowed me to keep, rather intact, memories of the discoveries I made on my own, and thinking on it does give me something to smile about today.