This is Part 3 of Mom's story Connie's World. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.
This part finishes out the story of Connie's first day of second grade. While the characters of Terry, Alice and Mickey are the names of Mom's siblings and the experiences and feelings in the story had to have been Mom's, whether this is an actual account of what Mom remembered entering the second grade, I'm not sure.
The photo is of Mom's sister Mickey, center, and brother Terry, right.
The loud school bell rang telling everyone that the noon hour was finished. The long walk back to the school had started. Mary didn't forget Connie. By the time they were back to the school the lines of children were already in the building. They climb the flight of stairs in much the same fashion as before. Both hands held on the railing, with the right leg swung to the next step and her arms pulling on the railing; forcing her body to the next step. Again the old wood railing groaned under the stress and even bowed a bit, but did not give up.
Everyone was already in their places when they arrived in the classroom. Sister didn't mind that they were late. Connie did, as all eyes would look up as she and Mary entered the room. There was no way to quietly enter a room with braces on your legs. There was always a certain amount of noise. Somehow she must get used to the idea that everyone will be watching no matter what she does.
The afternoon passed as quickly as the morning. Soon the bell rang the end of the day. The children ran out of the room to their waiting rides for home. Connie sat there a moment for the rush to clear. It was always better to wait until everyone rushed by her before she started to get ready.
"How was the first day?" Sister said as she squeezed into the desk along side of her.
"Fine," Connie said shyly. Everyone was always fine to her. Not many people got to know what she was really feeling.
"Did you get enough help? I could assign people every day to help you if you want."
"No, that's okay." The last thing in the world she wanted was some one assigned to help her. That would really make her feel out of place and different. She certainly didn't want to be a burden to anyone. She would stay in during recess if it meant that. "I'll be okay. Mary was nice to me. Some of the other girls too. It just takes me so long to go anywhere, and everyone is always watching me."
"Honey, that is because they like you and are concerned about you. No one wants anything to happen to you. You be sure to let me know if there is anything more I can do for you. Now get your things ready."
"Well how did it go today?" Terry and Alice were both standing in the doorway. The other kids had gone out to the car.
"I bet they liked your dress and your barrette. Here let me take your things," Alice said as she took the papers that Sister had passed out to the kids to take home to their parents.
"She did just fine today. We went outside for noon recess and she played with the other girls," Sister said as she shuffled paper on her desk, not a bit frazzled from spending the day with a room full of little people.
Terry helped Connie lock her braces and she stood up hanging onto the desk. "Let me walk." Mary had lingered back to make sure Connie was picked up. "Terry, this is Mary. We had fun jumping rope today."
"Hi," Mary said shyly.
"Where do you live?" Terry inquired, thinking she better get out to her car.
"A couple of blocks from here. I walk home. I better get started. See you tomorrow, Connie."
"I'll be here, Mary."
Terry walked with her to the stairs. "Here, let me carry you." With one swoop she was in his protective arms. How wonderful this feels.
Once home everyone relayed the events of the day. Some of the boys didn't like school and felt it was a waste of time. After all, what good is school if you were going to be a farmer anyway. They were, however, resigned to the fact that they were going to school as much as they knew they were going outside to do their chores. Since it was such a nice day, Connie played with her little sister Mickey outside in the dirt. She was two years younger so she wanted to hear all about Connie's day at school. She felt left out cause she couldn't go along.
This part of Connie's world felt safe to her. She knew somehow that this would never be her complete world again. There would always be new things to do and she would somehow have to learn to live in this world of normal people and find her spot in that world. She would always be the handicapped little girl; but they wouldn't feel sorry for her; at least not if she had anything to say about it.