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2006-09-05, 10:16
Today is Saffronia's first day of school. She is 4 years old and is going to pre-Kindergarten. When I was younger I went to "nursery school" run by a church, before going to kindergarten. After kindergarten comes grades 1 through 12.

This pre-K is paid for and run by the government and is part of the public school system. Some municipalities don't have the money for running pre-K, but New York city has a lot of money because it collects sales tax, property tax, and income tax.

At the school Saffronia is going to, there are two grades: pre-K and kindergarten. It is two blocks away from our house. It has no outdoor part for them to play. I saw some of it a few months back and I was amazed at how much investment was made just for kids. You really feel like your tax dollars are worth something when you walk into a public school. Basically school is publically paid babysitting.

The word "kindergarten" means children's garden, and that is the feeling I got when I visited her school, because of the amount of toys and activities of the place. Both pre-K and kindergarten should be called "kindergarten" because they are both pre-school, while grades one through twelve are primary school. Because "kindergarten" is a form of pre-school, using the term pre-K is redundant, and is the same as using the term "pre-pre-school".

I've never been one of those parents who tries to stress out my child by pushing the child into something or registering my child early for school. Some parents put their children into pre-pre-pre-K at the age of 2 and think that by doing so they are giving their child a head start. But I am not one to push my child into a lot of activities or hard classes, or to view the child in competitive terms with other children. I think parents who do that are wrong and are using their children as extensions of their own egoes and treating them as trophies. For example, you see people with the bumper sticker "my child is an honor student", and some people who reacted to that with "my child beat up your honor student". My father who is a college math professor had fun with that by making up a bumper sticker for his students, which he gives out to those who pass it:
My child passed one of Prof.
Rogers's Math Courses at
Polytechnic University

They sent a letter to us recently that had the schedule set up for the first week of school. A lot of children have separation problems from their parents, so they have made it very gentle to ease the children into the schedule of school. It also must be hard for parents too. For me I think it will be emotional because it represents another milestone in her life, and you realize the inevitability of time when such a thing happens. But there will not be any separation problems for either Saffronia, or for us the parents. School is only a few hours and we both work already.

Here is what the letter said:

August 23, 2006

Dear Afternoon Pre-K Parents:

Pre-Kindergarten begins on Tuesday, September 5th. The schedule for the first days of school is below.

Tuesday, September 5th : 1:50pm - 2:50pm.
All children come with a parent. Parents and children stay together in the room for one hour.

Wednesday, September 6th : 1:50pm - 2:50pm.
All children come with a parent. Parents and children stay together in the room for one hour.

Thursday, September 7th : 12:35pm - 2:35pm.
Lunch will be served. Parents can stay as needed, or wait in the Family Room.

Friday, September 8th : Regular schedule begins. Children arrive at 12:35pm and are dismissed at 3:00pm. Lunch will be served.

We look forward to seeing you!

2006-09-13, 04:15
No pictures of the first day at school?

I still, and it's been very, very, very long ago remember my first day at school. (ok, yes, it was kindergarten but to me it was school) Mrs. Keating, a wonderful, warm, soft, round, cheery lady that felt like a hug just looking at her, was my teacher.

That first day, I'll never forget it. Rodney Merritt was so excited about school he barfed on my brand new school book.

and then, I got to see the school custodian and that sawdust stuff that has a funny smell that they put on the barf.

I'd probably sympathy barf if I smelled that sawdust stuff today, lol.

poor Rodney though, he went on to fall madly in love with me in the third grade.

He died tragically that year, rding his bicycle across the bridge from the tiny town we lived in to the slightly larger tiny town across the inlet, looking over his shoulder and veering into traffic.

What are the odds? How much traffic could there have been from one tiny town to another? I suppose the guilt wil eventually fade, and it has over the years, to a degree, but still I've always felt sort of bad that I didn't love him back. I was in love with Timmy Wicks. He stabbed me with a pencil that year (talk about true love, huh?) , and yep, I just checked, and yes, after all these years, I still have that mark on me.

e, tell her to stay away from boys. ok?

2006-09-15, 00:40
There are no pictures to be shown of Saffronia's first day, because I took pictures on the camera in which there is film, and that will mean a wait of several months before it is finished and developed.

I don't particularly remember my first day of school. But I remember the process of going and taking the bus to kindergarten. That was when I lived in Maryland and I went to Montgomery Knolls (http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/schools/knollses/) elementary school, which was for the three grades K to 2. I remember the name of my Kindergarten teacher "Mrs. Krautwurst". I was 5 and that was in 1976 when I first went to school. I dug around through the old family slides, which I scanned in a huge project and put on a CD, and I have found a picture of what I think was from my first day of school:
Tom gets on bus, 1976 (http://www.tatom.org/images/10v036_Tom gets on bus, 1976.jpg)

Montgomery Knolls was inside of the Beltway (495) while we lived right outside of it. So maybe going to school inside of the Beltway gave me my bureaucratic tendencies and love of Big Government.

There used to be a lot of woods surrounding where I lived, and I often played near the river Northwest Branch. The woods also were next to the school. I remember one time a couple of men came out of the woods that was next to the elementary school and tried to carry me off, but my best friend in the same grade named Chad fought them off by kicking them. We then went to tell the principal and she told us not to play so close to the woods, and that was the end of it. I am glad that such things are taken more seriously now and it's not okay for children to be kidnapped, or taken as a light matter. Maybe back then it was just considered inevitable to lose a few children here or there, sort of like "shrinkage" or "collateral damage".

I recall some racial incidents or awareness when I was younger where I had as a Second grade teacher a woman by the name of "Patty Jackson". She spent all of February teaching us about Black history, but I think the concepts of Black history were too political and advanced for Second graders to understand. I recall at one point not liking a Black girl named Rita and when I was asked why I didn't want to work with her, I said it was because she was Black, which caused an uproar. But I think the real reason was that she was ugly and I couldn't describe it better than that for why I didn't like her. I also recall that everybody used to make fun of a girl named "Mocha" and say that she smelled and was dirty. Yet now I realize it was probably because she was really dark skinned and had glasses, and none of it was true, so I feel bad remembering how I played along with it. A lot of children would enjoy picking on a kid because they felt it was better to have that kid picked on than themselves to be picked on. So those who joined in, such as myself, were cowards.

During the grades of 3 to 4 I was able to walk to elementary school because I went to one close to home named Pine Crest (http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/schools/pinecrestes/). And at grade 5 I started in Baldwin, Long Island, New York, when we moved in 1981 at my age of nine. My only male teacher out of grades K through 6 was in fifth grade by the name of Lipshitz. The idea of a male teacher for elementary school children makes parents uncomfortable, though such discomfort is politically incorrect. I think if Saffronia had a male kindergarten teacher I might wonder about him, and wonder if he is freaky the way Michael Jackson or the latest freak to surface John Mark Karr (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mark_Karr) is.

You know it's sort of weird to look at the websites of the elementary schools that I went to in Maryland, because it makes them seem so alive and present, even though for me they are entitities that existed in the past thirty years ago. I recall such a blast from the past when I went to a Green Card interview in 2000 for Tata and the douchebags at the INS doubted my American citizenship. I had no passport so my only proof was the birth certificate from Pennsylvania. But they wanted to see school records of when I was in elementary school as additional proof. So my mother had to go to the Montgomery county school district in Maryland where they still had my attendance records on file. She then sent me the copies. One thing I noticed from those attendance records was that I had almost perfect attendance with maybe two or three absenses in an entire school year. Yet I recall being sick many days and still going to school. It was just my parents then who would still want me to go to school despite my being sick. They did not want me to slack off or be lazy by calling in sick.

When I went to Army training in 1993 in Fort Sill I was the only one out of my platoon who didn't call in sick once during the nine weeks of training, despite having a cold for three weeks straight. I am no longer so harsh on myself and consider such dedication towards a job to be for the gullible who feel good about their slavish devotion to a job. I agree with the sentiment of this site:
Anxiety Culture: Phone in sick (http://www.anxietyculture.com/sick.htm)

2006-09-17, 23:37
Who would've guessed this sentimental thread would've contained the shocking words "New York city has a lot of money" !!!!!

2006-10-24, 01:30
Who would've guessed this sentimental thread would've contained the shocking words "New York city has a lot of money" !!!!!

Sad that someone found pieces ov people there.