The other day I posted about the first day of school and it inspired one of my friends to remember one of her own first days. I always like to give my guest bloggers good introductions and as I started to think about how I came to meet and become friends with Heather Bell I couldn’t really remember. I mean, I know that I met her through our mutual friend Heath and I definitely remember seeing her at a party once before I really knew her and I remember thinking that her and her friends seemed like they were having a lot of fun and then I remember being at karaoke with Heather and realizing what a superstar she was but in all of those vague memories I can’t pinpoint that one moment where we met and decided to be friends, it’s more like as soon as I met her she so seamlessly meshed with my life that there wasn’t even a question of whether or not we’d be friends, we just immediately were. I hope you have people like that in your life too, because those friendships are usually the best. Like Anne of Green Gables, I believe in “bosom friends” and yes Heather and I do have giant bosoms but I’m talking more about the kindred spirit part of that than the boobies!
Anyways, here is Heather Bell on her own very memorable first day of school:
I honestly believe that my first day of first grade was the first time that I was incorrectly labeled as “not smart.” I was the new kid at the Catholic school. I didn’t go to kindergarten with the rest of the kids so I was already feeling singled out as the newbie. I was small for my age, with white-blonde hair and was painfully shy, so that wasn’t helping my street cred.
Sister Catherine Theresa was our teacher and was – no joke – a thousand years old. I remember she looked at me and said, “Heather Bell. Yes, I see you went to public school last year.” The way she hissed “public” made me feel like I was the worst kid ever.
She divided the class into three sections. She sent me to the far left corner of the room on a big dingy shag carpet with a few other kids. I remember waiting quietly for her to come over and sit with us. I was terrified of her. She seemed SO mean.
She walked over and took her seat on a stool with us surrounding her in a semi circle. “We’re going to read now, children. Heather, you will go first.” She handed me a book and I was shocked to see that there was only one word on every page. Now mind you, I had been reading since I was 3 years old so I was thinking something was terribly wrong.
I realized right away that she thought that I wasn’t smart and I figured it had something to do with the whole “public” thing. I was determined to prove her wrong. I knew that I was smart and didn’t want to be lumped in with the kids who couldn’t read yet.
I think she wanted everyone to read one page each, but I took the book from her read every page. She didn’t say a word for a minute and then handed me another book. This one had more words. I read that, as well.
It was only after I read like a boss that she said something to the effect of, “WELL, clearly you don’t belong in THIS group!” She told me to join the kids on the opposite side of the room who were reading books that had real sentences in them. That was 30 years ago this fall. I’ve been proving people I’m smarter than I look ever since!