Friday, April 20, 2007

Scents of the Past

My dear friend Jennie decided to treat herself to an expedition for a GLBT Knit Camp (okay, non-fiber folks, please stop laughing before reading on). This meant arranging for care for her son, The G-man. Since she was leaving at the butt crack of dawn (TM by GadgetGrrl), she needed someone to spend the night on Wednesday in order to take G-man to school Thursday morning.

Jennie put G-man to bed. We chatted (haven't done that in person in FOREVER!) while she finished packing and I perused some issues of Vogue Knitting. She declared it bedtime and I headed to her bedroom to slumber on her new bed. The bed is supremely comfortable but I had a hard time letting go enough to sleep so I propped myself up with my knitting (I have casted on for T'Mane's Summer Swing Top) and listened to Will & Grace on the television. At about midnight I decided I really had to attempt to sleep, trying to dispel thoughts of undone school work and the oddness of sleeping without TGF next to me.

At about 2am The G-man came a bit teary looking for his mom so I told him she was in the living room. Around 4am I heard Jennie up and about, clearly tending to last minute thoughts we all have before traveling.

Concerned about waking up in time for getting The G-Man I tossed and turned more, checking the time frequently. I had set my mobile phone for an alarm but evidently did not finish it however great luck Jennie's alarm was set and woke me in plenty of time. Love that "slumber" button! Just after 7am The G-Man stumbled in, looking awful sleepy so I reached my arms out toward him and he came up on the bed and we cuddled for a bit. For a brief moment he got a little weepy, stating he missed his mother. I told him I knew that he did but he was going to be so busy and have so much to tell her when she got home. Reminded him that he was going to have a great time with his godmothers. The moment passed.

In between getting dressed, brushing teeth, and eating cereal we played three rounds of "Don't Break the Ice" a present from his recent seventh birthday. (Okay how did he get to be SEVEN! I remember so clearly meeting them in May 2001 when he was 13 months, yes months, old.) Finally it was time to take him to school. We chatted about directions and I quizzed him about how ever would I get there if I didn't have directions.

I parked just behind another woman dropping off a child. Before departing I asked him if he wanted me to walk him in or not, because frankly I did not know what the appropriate protocol. We walked in silence and just as we passed into the center courtyard the bell rang. Children began racing to form lines assigned by classroom in the yard. Immediately I flashed on doing this though in later grades at P.S. 29 in Brooklyn NY. The G-man is in first grade but I have few memories from that time period so I don't know if I too lined up in the school yard to be marched to the classroom by an assistant teacher way back then. What I do remember from that grade is having two teachers, or perhaps a teacher and her assistant. The other big recollection from that grade is various adults being concerned at my reading skills, or lack thereof. A few years later, in fifth grade, they told me I read at a twelfth grade level, so obviously any concern was for naught.

After leaving The G-man fidgeting on his line I headed back to the car but before ducking out completely I peeked into his classroom and was filled with sense memories of being that young though I have little recall of that time. The room was so orderly, each desk had sitting atop a hard plastic case which I suspect held pens and pencils. Remember the days of little soft plastic cases that you were responsible for bringing each day? Just past the door was the little closet are for hanging coats and jackets, each hook marked with a student's name. I tried to remember if my school room cubbies were so organized. At the front of the room was a carpeted area that I suppose is used to "story time". I racked my brain to see if I could conjure an image of my first grade classroom. I am pretty certain I had no such accommodations. In fact in sixth grade my English teacher had a deconstructed kind of classroom which included things like bean chairs. Her name was something like Ms. Redman, a little tiny woman, maybe five foot tall married to a blond haired guy who had to six foot if he was an inch.

I think it was the smell that brought back the invisible, though I cannot believe there was much in common with that classroom and the one at P.S. 94 in the Bronx (at least I think that's the school, I just did a search to figure it out). But yet there was a sense of something so elementally familiar that I could feel it in my body, as if transported to a place I cannot bring to mind any other time. I know I was doing Miss Jennie a favor but thanks to her I was moved in an unexpected way which recalled a sweet but still unknowable piece of my past.


heather said...

i drive past a nearby elementary school most mornings. since i am usually still sleepy, usually i'm concentrating on controlling my speed lest i hit any kidlets. but if i am feeling particularly alert, i get quite the fit of nostalgia and fuzzies when i see aforementioned kidlets running carefree with their shiny lunchboxes and pigtails.

and then i remember that i really like being an adult, and that when i was a kid, i couldn't wait until i was older and be allowed to have my own money, make my own life, etc.

so then i feel happy that i am just driving my own car and making my way in the world. but also happy for the kids who are happy enough to run free. it's hard (well, rare) to be that un-self-conscious when you're an adult.

Jennie said...

Aww, what a sweet post. Glad you had some nice nostalgic reflections. I'm glad you could give him snuggles in the morning. He did, indeed, find me at 2AM and I had a very nice last snuggle with him.

And--I had to get up at 4:15 because R picked me up at 4:30, bless her heart! Thanks for ferrying G-man to school that day.