Can you believe school is about to start? Ah, the memories that flood my mind when I think back several years ago. OK. A few more than several. I never was that great at math.

Suffice it to say that I recently received information about our upcoming 5th class reunion. Well, so OK, I left off a zero. But what’s a zero anyway? Nothing! That’s what I thought. And if it’s nothing, why bother to add it?

Oh, well, so, OK. Our 50th class reunion. Not until next year, mind you, so no fair rubbing it in. I know some folks who just had their 60th. I attended it. I was invited. Took pictures for them. Visited a bit. Had a great time.

I was sort of a curiosity piece for a time. People would come in, look at me sitting there, smile. Nod. Wander over and say things like, “Say, I think I remember you. Aren’t you …”

I’d smile back and say, “Probably not.” One lady came over and said, “Honey, now are you … or, wait, maybe, you’re …” And we both laughed. Still another came over, kept staring. Finally I said something brilliant. “You’ve never seen me before in your life, have you?” She agreed and assured me she sure felt better.

When I think back to the days when I was a wee little kid and forced to go to kindergarten, I would guess my teacher was glad we were only half day class kids at the time. My mom would walk me from our apartment to school. Take me inside the door and literally had to hand me to my teacher.

Sometimes before my mom walked back to the apartment, I was there to greet her.

When Mrs. Mapes put me down, I was out the door. My feet didn’t hit the sidewalk until I was flying up the steps trying to beat my mom home and hide so she couldn’t take me back again.

That did not work well. Her hand firmly applied to my fanny finally communicated to my five-year-old brain that maybe, just maybe, I’d better cooperate. Especially when Mom told Dad, and Dad reinforced the punishment once he got home. His hand hit harder.

Finally I learned that Mrs. Mapes wasn’t all that bad a person. In fact, she was right nice. She’d have me sit over in a corner away from the door. I thought it was really to prevent me from catching a cold. Now that I think about it, it was to keep me from beating her to the door.

Once I got done crying, it was nearly nap time. I was exhausted. I slept through some naps. And when I did, it seemed like that worked best for both of us. She’d wake me up when it was time to go home. I didn’t learn much, but then I didn’t have to be taught to sleep. I could have majored in napping.

I graduated to first grade. Had Mrs. Richards. Then I went on to second grade. Guess the board was trying to get even with my former kindergarten teacher for some reason. When I walked in the door that first morning of second grade, who should be there to greet me but Mrs. Mapes.

We got along great. I even took her flowers. Unfortunately, they belonged in a lady’s garden between our apartment and that classroom. Unfortunately, Mrs. Mapes thanked my mom for the lovely flowers one morning. Unfortunately, our upper level apartment didn’t have a flower bed and my mom lacked one sense of humor.

I had to say sorry to a lot of people. My teacher. The flower owner. My mom. And convince my dad I’d yelp loud if he only pretended to spank me. He agreed. Mom was convinced. I never swiped another flower. We all won. Except Mrs. Mapes. No more flowers and I still showed up.