If you missed the last post, you can catch up here.
When I was six, my new parents sent me to school to work on my flirting skills. They may tell you that it was to learn how to spell words like “bed” and “because”, but the word I spelled best after leaving Mrs. Luttrell’s first grade class at the Christian Elementary School was “Zane”. But we’ll get to that.
The Vallards went from having approximately 0 kids to having 5. They handled things as best they could for the year we lived with them, at least from what I remember. We were enrolled in a nice school, we always had money for ice cream Thursdays, our outfits matched, we had our own beds, and they even bought us our own goldfish for the pond out back (mine was bug-eyed, named Shadow, and disappeared within 48 hours…wtf, right?).
Well here we are on our first day of school (bottom right) and there’s me on my last day of first grade (top left, obvs). As a child, people referred to me as a chatterbox, which I took as a compliment until recently, so I don’t remember ever really having problems making friends. At recess, I became friends with this black-haired bowl cut named Zane, and we had a little routine of playing tag. I don’t recall ever setting the ground rules or anything. I guess one day the bell rang and he lit off towards the playground and I ran after him or something, and that’s just how it was. One time I was running from him and looked back to make sure I had time to make this super cool leap I had planned onto the slide, when out of nowhere the fireman pole appeared and conjured a cartoonish knot on my forehead. Embarrassed, I stood up quickly and tried not to cry in front of this hottie, but I was six and that huuuuurrrrttttt. Going forward, I tried to maintain the image of being a total badass and made sure to never express emotion in front of Zane again. I don’t know how many weeks passed, but this one day, it was his turn to chase me and I had a plan. I took off with all the grace of a stubby legged first grader and clambered up these poles which, to this day, I don’t understand. Zane caught up and wasn’t in the mood for climbing, so he shielded his eyes against the sun and just stared at me sitting up there with his face all wrinkled. Not knowing what to do and kind of scared now to come down, I hollered loudly for the whole playground to hear, “I HATE YOU AND YOUR WHOOOOLE FAMILY!” You guys, this poor child started crying. Zane never spoke to me again, and I crossed off that approach to professing my love in the future.
Right hand to something truth-inducing, this is probably my only memory of being six.