It’s funny the stuff that gets dredged up because of a desk. I did one simple thing. I turned my art desk from facing the wall to facing the bookshelf. Suddenly my entire room felt better. After a short time of thinking on why this made me feel better I remembered. I almost wish I hadn’t but it’s definitely for the best that I do. Here’s what popped up.
When I was living in Vicksburg as a kid my mom somehow managed to get me enrolled in Hall’s Ferry Elementary School. It must have had a good reputation or something but I was a kid and didn’t know a thing about that. I didn’t even know she’d pulled strings to get m there until a few years ago. It wasn’t a happy experience being there though.
The general feel of the place felt militaristic. Talking in the lunch room was governed by a traffic light. Green, you could talk. Yellow, you we getting too loud. Red, dead silence or you’d be punished. I remember two times the light was green. Most of our lunches were quiet. We also had to eat quick because they didn’t give you long to sit and finish lunch.
The real problem was recess. I’d always been, well, different. I got bored easily and needed speech therapy and was very very curious. I didn’t have a lot of friends before school so I didn’t really know how to act around other kids, either. I got lumped in with the delinquents. I spent the three years at that school being punished with violent and angry youths. Their favorite punishment wasn’t paddling or beatings. It was the wall. You had to go out at recess and stand on the wall. They’d take us outside with all the other kids and make us stand facing the wall of the school. We couldn’t turn around. We couldn’t look left or right. You just had to stand for the entire recess.
I’d stand there facing that wall and listening. I’d hear kids laughing and running and playing. The sounds of life all around and I stared at a wall lightly banging my head against it and wishing I had the will to bash my skull in. The laughing and fun burning my ears and mind and soul, I came to hate those sounds.
Don’t get me wrong. I got to play some, but it was on precious few occasions and when I did I really didn’t know what to do.
Before 4th grade started we moved to Jackson. Lee Elementary didn’t have those rules. It was looser. I had freedom. I could do anything I want. By then the damage was done. If we weren’t made to play softball or kickball I was by myself usually wandering around the few trees in the playground. I had friends, but I usually just walked around trees and kept to myself at recess if I had my way. At least, those are the times I remember. I’m sure I hung out with the other kids some. I remember Bobby Cody and some of the others.
How has this effected me in my adult life? Well, I don’t like having “fun”. I enjoy things and what not, but activities give me the willies. Large groups of people having fun makes me want to go find a tree to walk around. The laughter and joy of children playing cuts straight to my soul and causes me to resent the sound. Lastly, of course, I can stand facing walls. . .