Friday, March 27, 2009

How did I graduate high school before I as old enough to drive...

First let me say "thank you" to Yolanda for topic starters, I have at least 10 more blogs to write based on topics she suggested. I'll take more anytime.

Yolanda isn't the first person to ask me how did I manage to graduate high school at 15 years of age. Well simply put, a comedy of errors or sheer genius allowed it to happen, I'll let you pick which one. I remember starting school when I was 4 years old. School started the day after Labor Day in the city of my youth, and my 5th birthday was Columbus day. Now days kindergartners have to be 5 before the cut off date/start of school so this wouldn't be allowed to happen now. I went to public Kindergarten and frankly was bored out of my mind. I can remember Mrs. Casper (to this very day) reminding me to let the other children have a chance. We would be reciting the alphabet, they would be on G I would be on Z happily singing "now I know my ABC's next time won't you sing with me". I could write my entire name, my address entirely, and phone number while my classmates were struggling to even learn their real name from their nickname. I could write my great-grandparents names, and they were "Wenonah" and "Everette" (and pronounce them too), I could even read so Kindergarten was a big waste of time.

Momma decided that it was a waste and I guess that was a good thing. Back when I was a child, and dinosaurs roamed the earth, children could be skipped in grades and to further that effort, momma introduced me to Catholic school were they tested and placed their students in what they though were the appropriate grade without regard the age of the student. I was in 2nd grade by the time I turned 6. Things continued well until I reached the 8th grade. I passed another test which skipped me to the 9th grade...fine by me.

All of the years of Catholic school had kept me from going to school with my friends from the neighborhood. You have to understand where I grew up. I firmly believe to this day, it is the most economically depressed area in the country. East St. Louis, Illinois ain't nothing nice but it is home. I went to school 30 miles from home, in an entirely different state, St. Louis, Missouri. I'm sure getting me back and forth to school and various school activities took a toll on my folks, and my uncles but they managed forever. However, by the time 10th grade rolled around I waned to go to school with the neighborhood kids. I was sick of the plaid skirts and patent leather shoes, (although I think that started my shoe fetish, I had a pair of Patent Leather Mary Janes in Green, Red and Navy). The kids in the 'hood played football in my side yard (the parking lot), we rode bikes together, walked to the candy store, went to church together, I wanted to go to school with them. I set out to regularly throw fits to get to go to public high school. I worked on the plan and on my folks ALL summer long between 9th and 10th grade. I knew the school had a floundering Orchestra program, but they had one so I wouldn't have to stop playing the violin. They had a marching band and the best football team in the entire state of Illinois so I knew I could get into the band with my Clarinet. I had years of voice training so I promised I would join the choir. Working, working, working.... they weren't giving any answers throughout the summer. Finally they allowed me to attend public high school.

I loved every minute of public school once I made it there. Sadly, I knew a whole lot of what I was being taught. The one lesson which stuck out the most was Illinois history, I was required to learn Missouri history when I went to catholic school. I did like the competitions in academics and music between other schools state wide. I seemed to excel in the competitions and I won at least 90% of those activities. Graduation was the happiest day of my life at that time. I was able to walk across the stage with lifelong friends and an "A" average.

That fall my freshman year in college, school started in August and I was 15. I received a car for my16th birthday.