Catholic School Part IV: 3rd Grade
Mrs. Lund was a fun teacher. Kids looked forward to her class. She had a strong sense of personal authority and still had that "fresh out of teaching college" experimental kinda glow to her.
So, when faced with my "homework problem", she had her own unique way of dealing with it. It was the dead of winter in Illinois when she finally decided to get innovative. Homework was a privelege, she reasoned, and if I wasn't going to do it, then I would lose the privelege. She told me at one point that if I missed another homework assignment that just that would happen. She would set my desk in the back of the room and I would not be allowed to do anything for that whole day and the following day.
Well, sure enough, it wasn't long before I missed an assignment, and she pushed my desk to face the wall near the back of the room. 10 or so hours of class sure does seem long in such a situation, but I found ways to entertain myself. Besides the normal daydreaming, I discovered that if I pressed gently against the sides of my eyeballs, my normal vision would fade out, gradually replaced my exploding geometric forms and bursts of light. When the pressure was released, the world would gradually fade back in. I think I probably also used my palms to cut off the circulation in my carotid arteries and get a little oxygen dep. buzz. In spite of these diversions, it was on the whole incredibly boring, and I was sure that I would be the most diligent of students the moment the ban was lifted.
When it was, I was informed that if I missed even ONE more assignment, the restriction would once again be instituted, but this time for an entire week.
I don't know what sort of fugue allowed me to forget about this assignment, but I actually missed the VERY NEXT ASSIGNMENT. I remember it, even. It was a list of instructions for drawing a picture where you had to read ALL of the instructions, because if you did them it order, it wouldn't work. Like, "Draw a tree, make sure the tree has a hole in it, draw a bird's nest in the hole, etc.". Anyway, I remember looking at that stupid assignment just five minutes before our group was to meet and wondering how I could have forgotten it. I tried to do it, I even read the instructions, but how was I supposed to remember all 12 steps and not make any mistakes...well, it wasn't going to happen in 5 minutes, and sure enough, there I was holding the damn thing unfinished and my teacher looking at me with one seriously puzzled look when I didn't have it done.
And so my week began. I did not, however, ever complete that week of solitary. In fact, after 3 days or restriction, I never came back to Mrs. Lund's classroom again...
(to be continued)