March 7, 2009

Whose memory is it anyway?

When I was in Miss Kerlin's 5th grade class at Fulton Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio, Claudia Mitchell and I had the dubious honor of delivering milk to the kindergarteners. We collected the milk money from the kindergarten teachers and then went to the basement of the school where the milk machines were. We'd put the coins in the machines and get the milk, chocolate or white according to the list, put it in the iron crates we carried and then deliver it to the classrooms.
One day we got the milk and carried the crates into the restroom so we could pee before we went to the classrooms. We were washing our hands when all of a sudden Mrs. Wigfield (I'm not making up that name), the school principal, stormed into the washroom, hollering at us for bringing the milk in there and how unsanitary that was. She marched us right up to our classroom and told Miss Kerlin and the whole class about this horrible thing we had done. She said not only would they have to throw out all the milk, but we would be stripped of our duty as milk monitors. I was horrified, humiliated. But jeez, it's not like the milk wasn't in sealed cartons. It's not like we swished them around in the toilets. What was up with that? How was it unsanitary to take milk cartons into a bathroom? What a nut job Mrs. Wigfield was.
So anyway, some years later, maybe about 10-15 years ago, I was with my friend Karin whom I went to grade school with and we were reminiscing about those days, and she came up with the memory about the milk in the bathroom. Only in her memory it was her, Karin, with Claudia who was caught by Mrs. Wigfield. I know as sure as I sit here that it was me, I remember the whole scene in great detail, I remember my utter embarrassment in front of my classmates. It couldn't have happened twice, especially not both times with Claudia. And Karin wasn't even in our class. She stole my memory!

That's me, first row, second from the right, the little dork with the bucked teeth and glasses. Four kids to my right is Jim Evans who was my boyfriend in 8th grade. Claudia is behind me in the second row, first on on the right, directly in front of Miss Kerlin. I could name nearly every kid in that class!

March 14, 2009: Well, here's a fitting postscript to this story: When my sister saw that school picture of mine she sent me an email that said, "I wanted to comment on the class picture. It is my 5th grade class picture, sorry to tell you." And she goes on to name some of the kids, incorrectly of course. Clearly it says 1959-60 which are the years I was in fifth grade but she couldn't read that. All those class pictures look alike but still, it's funny to me that she thinks it's her picture. Why is everyone trying to steal my memories?

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