from the red dress club:
For this week's RemembeRED prompt, we're asking you to remember kindergarten. If, after thinking about it for a while, you can't recall anything, move on to first grade.
Mine your memories and write about the earliest grade you can recall. What was special? What was ordinary? What did you feel? Hear? See? Smell?
Don't underestimate the power of your memory. If you have a difficult time remembering, sit down and freewrite...you'll be surprised what comes to the surface.
Immerse yourself in crayons, chalk dust, and those tiny milk cartons and then come back on Tuesday, March 29th and link up.
Mrs. Yashinski’s black hair stood up in a tall column of tight curls, not unlike those of Marge Simpson, though it would be many years before I could ever make that simile. She didn’t look Polish, but she could have been married to one of the many in town. Her eyes seemed to slant and she always painted her lips on large in red. Her large rectangular teeth showed en masse when she laughed and she liked me, which seemed important.
She taught us and we learned our alphabet, to write them and read them. It was what you did in pre-school. And then the next year in kindergarten she taught us to put the words together and began to read. She seemed to do everything in steps, just like we did. She drew her letters in the proper stroke order, step by step. Just like counting and adding, step by step. Just like sitting and taking out your lunch in a polite and gentle manner, step by step.
I sometimes wonder if she went home and cooked dinner step by step, and walked her dog, step by step, or even did the gardening with her husband, step by step. Could a person’s life be so broken into bite-size pieces and never flow together? Could one pause between those pieces for the rest of their lives?
The only time her steps lost their individuality and her person became a seamless current was when she would read aloud. She did not do as the other teachers and read, the pause and share the picture, then pause and ask the question, then pause and respond to the reply. No. She would hold the book in view and read, sometimes from the pages that she turned in the single breath between sentences and other times it seemed from the memory itself. How could this be the same woman? The one thing I really learned from this woman was how to get drawn into the story. The words would drip from her lips like honey, drawing me in as a bee. She shared that secret moment with us, helping us find it, in which the story became real until we could think of nothing but seeking that moment to relish.
Mrs. Yashinski taught everything step by step, broken down, living life in a piecemeal puzzle. She taught us letters and words, but never reading. Reading she did not teach. Reading she gave as a gift.