Even though I have to go to my first day of school tomorrow we all got home pretty late. My family and my friends did not want to give up the great time we were all having at the Italian Street Festival. We squeezed out every last moment we could. I got to bed around midnight but I couldn’t go to sleep. I kept on thinking about all the fun this summer and next summer is a hundred years away. It seems that the 4th of July was only a few days ago. All the summer adventures we had, all fun games we played, are now just memories and will be replaced with School work. It’s hard to believe that the summer slipped away so fast. I never felt so bad about stuff. I kept thinking that my father does not have a job. How will my mother pay the bills, what will become of us? My parents try to keep a happy face but I can see them worrying about our family. I kept on going in and out of sleep all night long. Thank God, its morning. I get up and walk into the kitchen. My mother can only put together some bread with butter and coffee for breakfast.
My sister is dressed and she’s ready to go to work. She is very good at sewing things but she doesn’t get paid much for the work she does. My mother tells me to put on the dress shorts, white shirt, tie, knee high black socks with black shoes that she laid out for me so I can go to school dressed like a gentleman. I got upset and yelled at my mother that we don’t live in Italy. I can’t go to school like I’m attending an Italian Prep School. Even though I’m am now in the 4th grade I will run into the older 6th graders who will laugh at me and then they will kick my ass. I told her that there is no friggen way I will go to school dressed like a little Mama’s boy. Well she gave in because she recalled all the bumps and burises I came home with last year. She finally said okay and agreed to let me dress in long paints. I also warned my sister, not to walk with me to PS 27 schoolyard entrance. The school is only one block away, so she agreed to walk me to the corner of Columbia Street and Nelson Street so that she can see me walk into the school yard. My mother kissed and hugged me goodbye before we left. Everything is going pretty much the way we planned.
I left my sister at the corner and I ran as fast as I could towards the PS 27 schoolyard entrance. I got there just in time to meet Jimmy Pizza and Mike Tomato and I didn’t run into any of the 6th grade bullies. We all walked into the schoolyard together to line up for our classes. When the bell rang, the lines of kids standing started moving into the building with the teachers leading the way and directing us into our assigned classrooms. When I got to my classroom number 207 all the kids were scrambling for seats. The smart aleck kids, who think they’re so smart, wanted a seat in the front rows, as close as possible to the teacher. This way the teacher will notice them first, when they raise there hand to answer a question. The rest of us wanted to sit as far away as possible from the teacher in the back rows of the classroom. When we all sat down there are still kids still standing without a seat. By my count there are 35 seats and 38 kids assigned to this 4th grade class. The teacher walks out of the room and comes back quickly with three little chairs for the kids who are standing. I’m thinking to myself it’s better than last year when there were five kids left standing.
The teacher goes to the front of the class and turns to face the blackboard. She writes her name with a chalk on the blackboard, “Welcome, my name is Miss Kent.” She then turns to face the class again to take attendance. That’s when get a good look at her. Wow! She’s beautiful. She’s kind of short but she has a great looking body and shows it off with her tight sweater and skirt. She has great looking legs too that look great with her high heel shoes. Miss Kent has a beautiful smile that makes her glow. She has light brown hair down to her shoulders. I think that I’m in Love with her. Now that I see her, I should have fought the smart aleck kids for a front seat so I could look at her up close all day long. The teachers never give us work to do on the first day of school. Each of us gets up one at a time to introduce ourselves to the rest of the class. Then Miss Kent tells us the subjects she plans to teach us this year. The day went by so fast and I got home a little after three in the afternoon. When I got home my father is sitting by an open window smoking his Lucky Strike cigarette. He didn’t look happy, he is just sat there looking out the window and puffing his cigarette. He didn’t say hello or anything he just kept looking out the window.
I changed into my street clothes and went out to find my friends. As I turned the corner on Luquer Street I see Joanie sitting on her stoop with her dog Joy. She is waving at me to come over. So I went across the street and sat next to her and ask her about her first day at school. She said “I like my 3rd grade teacher, she knows a lot of stuff and I feel good about learning all the things she talked about today.
How about you, did you like your 4th grade teacher?” I didn’t want to tell Joanie that I fell in Love with Miss Kent when I first looked at her so I said that my new teacher is okay. Joanie smiled and offered me some of the animal crackers she was eating out of a little red box. I took some of her animal crackers and we sat there with her eating them. I must be hungry; I wolfed down about ten crackers in no time. We sat there quiet for a while. Even though I was dying to tell someone, anyone, about things that happened the last couple of days, I could muster enough courage to tell her about the Darts that Nunzio gave me, and for sure, I couldn’t tell her about my lucky face to chest meeting at the Feast with Head Lights Lopez. So I turned to her and said, “Hey Joanie wasn’t the feast at Saint Stephens Church a lot of fun?
I never ate so much food. I played a lot of different games too. The one game I liked to play was the one where you try to throw a wood ring on to a brown Beer bottle. I got six rings to start and if I was able to collar four Beer bottles with the rings I would win a stuffed animal. If I collared three Beer bottles I could have selected a smaller prize. But I Had bad luck because I was only able to collar one Beer bottle so I lost fifty cents because I kept trying to win the big prize.” Just as I finished telling Joanie my story she jumped up and said
“Ho, Ho, I played that game and I won one of the smaller prizes. Waite here I’ll be right back.” She ran into her house while I sat there with Joy, waiting for her to come back. She got back in ten seconds with two colorful soft tube looking things in her hand and said. “Look, Look, I played the same ring on the bottle game and I won these bamboo Chinese Finger Traps. Aren’t they great?” They didn’t look like they could be much of a big prize. So I asked her what you do with these soft tube things. She went on to say she learned how you can tie one finger form one hand to a second finger on the other hand and this bamboo tube locks your fingers together.
Once you lock the fingers together the trick is how you go about trying to unlock them. Joanie put the bamboo tube on her fingers to show me how they lock. I looked at her hands with this Chinese Finger Trap and said. “Hey, you know what; they should call them finger cuffs. Let me try it.” She struggled at first to unlock it from her fingers. She unlocked the damn thing and gave it to me and I put in on my fingers. “Wow, this thing is cool. We could lock prisoners’ fingers together when we play Ring- A- Leave E-O.” It wasn’t that easy to get this finger trap off my fingers. I got up from the stoop gave the finger-ma-jig back to her, and said. “Thanks Joanie, I’ve got to run, the guys are waiting for me in front of Chickies grocery store. See you around.” And I took off down the street.