Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Small Wonder

In late May we went to Delaware to see family. My experiences in DE have changed a lot since I spent my second grade year in Dover, and I have to say, based on the few vivid memories I have of living there, for me, it was probably one of the most stressful and challenging years of elementary school. Although, fifth grade definitely sucked hard, having the devil for a math and homeroom teacher and crying for my mother everyday just because a glance from Mrs. G would instill a fear in me that would absolve all bladder control, make my colon tighten up into my stomach and my ears bleed.

It's a toss up, but I do have very pronounced memories of Delaware, such as relearning how to read; I could do it before and through kindergarten- simply just didn't do it in first grade, and picked it up (a book) again in second. My teacher, Mrs. Leister would be damned if she didn't get me to read again and there was no way in hell I wasn't going to listen to every word that came out of her mouth. She had round glasses that sat close to her face, short, black hair and the presence of an NFL linebacker who once was a corrections officer. Even my father stood at attention when she spoke. She was tough, but one of the greatest teachers I ever had. The first time I met her, I'm pretty sure that I slipped back behind a few rows of kids to be sure that if she attacked, there may be a slight chance that she'd be full by the time she reached me. She didn't seem like the type that would hunt in pairs- one to distract you the other to attack from behind- so I kept my eyes fixed on her at all times. This probably made me appear obedient and interested. She was straightforward and dedicated, and that's why I got through second grade as The Most Improved Student. Seriously, I did. And so did my brother. My parent's were proud, but definitely laughed their asses off after that award ceremony.

Anyway, this was also the year that I got punched in the stomach by a wicked, red-headed girl, with a porn star name, in my class . Mrs. Leister came through for me, and I don't know if that girl is still in the chokey, but I bet she's somewhere still practicing her cursive while rocking in a corner, repeating the pledge of allegiance.

To me, Delaware was the place where blood suckers would explode on the playground blacktop; snakes would cover the swampland behind our house; ice cream trucks would have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Popsicles; Teddy, the Boy Scout, would defend me from a fifth grader; sand lodged deeply into bodily orifices would be a reminder of a long day of being pummeled by waves in Rehoboth; and my brother would flood the kitchen floor with the garden hose. It was an interesting year.

Today, going to DE is a far less stressful and traumatic experience. Now, it is an 8 hour drive, and a place I look forward to visiting. Deuce grew up in the small wonder that is Delaware and his parents still reside there. They give directions by referring to what shopping center you are heading to, or away from. They have a yard full of bunnies, and they know how to get around the state without getting on the highway.They have a wonderful community of friends and they really enjoy their home, which is what makes visiting now such a wonderful experience. Going to DE can be a giant stuff-your-face fest and a bloated ride home, but it's also where we do a lot of tax-free shopping, and most importantly, bonding with the sweetest, kindest people in the world.

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