I started kindergarten, and it was mostly fun, though parts of it made me nervous. Sometimes the teacher would show our work to the class and we’d talk about ways it could be better; I felt like I had done something wrong when she showed my not-quite-egg-shaped Easter Egg, and hoped I wasn’t in trouble as she trimmed the rough edges.
Once we had a pottery lesson. After we shaped our bowls, we were told which tables had which colors of glaze on them and then asked to say which table we wanted to move to for glazing. I couldn’t remember which tables had which colors, even though everyone else seemed to know where they wanted to go, so I said I wanted to stay at the table I was already at, and hoped I had chosen red. I was disappointed to receive a green bowl when the firing was finished.
Show and tell was once a week, and it had a theme to it: bring something green, or maybe square. On the day we were supposed to bring something orange, my mother gave me an orange kitchen sponge. I didn’t want to bring it.
She said, It’s orange. That’s your show and tell.
I cried. She shouted. The neighbor girl who walked me to school waited outside the screen door.
Finally, she demanded, Well, what orange thing do you want to bring?
I don’t know.
I tripped on the way to school and scraped my knee so that it bled on the sponge. The teacher tried to comfort me, but I still had to stand up in front of the class for show and tell. I didn’t talk for long – there isn’t much to say about a sponge, especially when you have a skinned knee and one of the other girls just showed her orange See and Say.