Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Home in the 60's

When I was growing up, just north of NYC, everyone I knew moved. We lived near one of the research branches of IBM, which everyone knew, meant, "I've been moved." Well, I moved to this school in time for 4th grade, leaving behind my closest friends in the world. Even though the distance between our houses was only ten miles, it was a rural area - no bus service and no transportation if our mothers didn't want to drive us.

It took me a while to stop feeling like an outsider. For the first few days at the new school, I sat by the edge of the playground, watching the other kids while I wondered what my old friends were doing. In the evenings, when my parents returned from work, they asked me if I had made new friends yet and I would say, "No," hoping that they would pack everything up and we'd return to our old house.

One day as we ran back into the school after recess, I nearly tripped on another girl. "Can you help me? I'm making dandelion rings." She had tied dandelions into a chain that was about 2 meters long. "It's very delicate."

"I can see," I said. "You must have taken a long time." I stooped down to carefully gather the other end of the chain. "It's nice." She put her head down to hide her smile.

Sometime after that I had a dream. I was on the playground with my old friends, and they were choosing sides for a game. Not only did they not pick me, they ignored me. I yelled at them but they didn't hear me, and in fact, they talked about me. They said nasty things.

When I woke up, I was free. I remembered the incident that must have generated this dream - we were playing a game in a circle and I ran inside before the bell rang, telling them to follow me. It was still five minutes before the bell, and then I realized when I got to the classroom that I had left my bookbag outside. I ran back out as they were coming inside. "Oh," one of them said, acting surprised. "We thought you left it out there on purpose." Then they looked at each other and laughed.

I had felt hurt for a second. I brought my bag inside but quickly forgot the incident. I guess what I saw in the dream was my perception of what was really going on.

So the simple dandelion chain stretched out and chained me to a new home. I enjoyed the remainder of elementary school and then middle-school happened.

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