You've heard, "Everything I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten"?
When I was in kindergarten I was so excited about the prospect of learning how to cut with scissors with precision [ a skill that would lead me to cutting paper snowflakes to be used for a photo shoot at St. Jude's Hospital 40 years later].
I learned how to share toys willingly with everyone [ I was the baby by 8 years and only girl in my family so my toys were usually MY TOYS!].
And how to pay attention when someone was speaking [ I am my Uncle's helper and I now wait very patiently while he sometimes struggles to get a complete sentence out in a hurry].
There was one day in kindergarten that I learned a lesson that engraved a memory into my brain that remains as fresh today as it was in 1968!!
Near the end of a school day, we were all gathered sitting on the floor, my classmates and I, near the upright piano that was probably out of tune. Miss Payment was playing a song- I don't remember the song- and singing along. We were supposed to be singing along. No doubt it was an educational song. Duh! Of course it wouldn't be a Beatles' song for goodness sake!! Anyway, I was not singing along. Nope. Not I. I was socializing. Or as Miss Payment probably stated= not following directions or interfering with my classmates education or being a kindergarten delinquent!!! Surely if this was not nipped in the bud I would follow aimlessly down a path of destruction in my educational career!!
I was taken out of the mix of vocalizing song birds and marched over to the corner. The CORNER! The DREADED CORNER! Yep. I had seen others marched over to the CORNER. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be a child of 5 years so badly behaved that I would be marched over to the CORNER!!
There I was to remain in solitary confinement for the rest of the class time which was no doubt maybe 15 minutes tops. At least this form of cruel and unusual punishment was lessened with the facts that I was allowed a chair and had already eaten my snack at snack time. But oh the humiliation! The stigma of being labeled " a corner sitter"! The agony and stress of those minutes slowly ticking away as I imagined Miss Payment forgetting ME when it came time to line up all my classmates to walk from our detached kindergarten building to where the buses all sat waiting to take home the kindergarten students and all the big students in the main building. I was sure I would have to stay there on the chair in the CORNER all night alone. I would starve! I would not be able to go potty! I would not see my Mom! But Miss Payment would be sorry when she came in the next morning and found me there suffering!! Wouldn't she??
After much angst I was gratefully given a parole. I was allowed to line up with my classmates and go home on the bus. As I obediently stood in line, red faced and teary eyed I was handed my construction paper art project done that day. A giant toothbrush. The bristles were cut in fringy strips with rounded nose scissors. The conditions of my parole= I was not to socialize during song time again.
"Yes Miss Payment, I promise!!"
I know I never did socialize again during song time. Thank goodness the only teacher that ever had a piano in the classroom in any grade was Miss Payment. That would have proved a hard commitment had all my other teachers done educational sing-a-longs on out of tune pianos!!
But then again there was of course Mrs. Hoover the music teacher. She was about 99 years old and had flab under her arms that would swing to and fro when she would clap the rhythmic patterns to teach us music note timing. She always seemed to wear sleeveless dresses - the kind that have a skinny belt made of the same gaudy fabric as the dress. Maybe her girdle was so tight it forced the fat to squeeze up to her arms!...She had a piano...but that's a story for another time!