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I met Jeff Larson when I was three. He lived across the street and down four houses. When we met each other, we stood across the street and introduced ourselves. Jeff thought that I said my name was Harry. We were best friends for all of elementary school and walked together, to and from school most everyday.
My Mom took me to school the first day. I remember seeing the monkey bars for the first time. I was so excited that I took off running for them as soon as we set foot in the gate. I climbed up those two steps and grabbed a hold of the metal crossbars. Off I went. My grip wasn’t as good as I thought and slipped right off into the sand below. When I did a small patch of skin came off of the palm of my hand. It stung.
Quick, where’s Mom? I turned to where she had been standing. The gate was already closed. I could see her walking away. I was left to deal with the pain alone. I wasn’t sure that I was ready for this.
The only time that Jeff and I were in the same class was the first year. Our Kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Roselanski. She would divide unto groups and let us race to the fence. It was a red light, green light game. Jeff and I were both fast runners, or so it seemed at our advanced running age. One of us was always first to the fence.
School for us was a fenced in affair. There were only two gates. For someone to come thru the gate during class, they had to be special. Especially the person that brought the cartons of milk. Milk cost a nickel in those days. After a hard morning of playing with blocks and running, milk was just right. For some reason milk was served just before naptime.
Each of us had our own thing to sleep on. For some it was a throw rug or for others it was a towel. Everyone got his or her mat out at naptime. I don’t remember ever going to sleep, but a lot of kids did. A half-day that included naptime, that sounds like a good thing theses days.
I don’t know if I learned to socialize, but I knew not to hang out with kids that wet their pants like Frank Batchen. I liked running with Jeff and at 50 we are still friends. If that is all that I learned from kindergarten then I guess that is enough.