Fourth GradeFourth grade marked my life with three events that vibrate in my heart and mind to this day. I wish I had a better eraser.

  1. I moved to a new school. Friends were hard to make. While I’d moved when I was two years old, then again when I was six, this one was more difficult. The kids were tougher and into their own routine. I distinctly remember that a doll, with a wardrobe expanded by my aunt’s lovingly-sewn creations, was my bright idea after six weeks of failure. Yeah, Barbie helped me make friends…
  2. I won a foot race during a fall recess. My good friend, Charles, who my mother said liked me, had to remain inside for some infraction. He apparently watched from the second story windows of our classroom that overlooked the commotion. He must have been forlorn… Anyway, he slammed me for celebratory enthusiasm, which I fully recall. I was twirling the pale yellow confetti streamer that had served as the finish line, in full abandon over my head after I won. I hadn’t been showing off, as he said. I was enthused, which I often am. I don’t think that the paper ribbon, which used to be integral to New Year’s Eve, is even made anymore. But my aversion to winning began at that day, and people remain taken aback when I’m enthused, which I often am. BTW, my pastor friend, a Greek scholar, recently shared that the word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words: ” en theos”, in God or God in us. How can that be perceived as bad…but it was and is.
  3.  I fully failed an introductions test, apparently reversing the order of each, whether the person was older, more distinguished, etc. I got an F. I can still see the grade at the top of the test in my mind’s eye – something that never happened before or since. To this day I fumble with introductions, flummoxed at the whole process. Thank goodness friends overcome the lapse, just as friends are wont to do. Thank goodness I have lots of friends – and a better person as husband than Charles, who I hope outgrew being small.

Fourth grade was also the year that I jumped and jumped rope with my friends, wearing out the crepe-soled shoes that my poor parents had splurged on. I wrote a blog post. Check it out!