Elementary School Blues

Yesterday Lily had her first minor spat with a classmate at school. At least, I assume it was minor because I only heard about it from Lily. Her teacher didn’t call me, and Lily was allegedly toward the top of the behavior chart for the day.

Lily came to me and tearfully announced, “Mara said I’m not 6. She said I’m 5, but I AM 6. She wouldn’t believe me!” She was really upset about the encounter.

Well, as one of my friends said, Lily should have said, “I turned six last week, stupid. Weren’t you paying attention?” because they’d celebrated Lily’s birthday in the classroom last week. Obviously Lily was more polite than that. Otherwise I probably would have gotten a phone call about the whole thing.

This led to a facebook discussion about our own memories of elementary school angst. I still hold a grudge against the large girl who got mad at me for not letting her cut in the line for the bathroom in first grade. When I wouldn’t move, she picked me up and moved me to the end of the line. I have hated her ever since. It has been 28 years, and I still hate her. I never bothered to get to know her after that. I just thought she was mean. I wonder if we would be friends right now if she hadn’t moved me in the bathroom.

I also am still annoyed with the sole other Jewish girl in my class for something that happened in first grade, and she was probably trying to look out for my best interests. My family does not keep kosher. I’m not sure what generation stopped following Jewish dietary laws, but neither my mother’s nor father’s parents kept kosher. Not keeping kosher is pretty common among non-Orthodox American Jews. The other Jewish girl in my grade DID keep kosher. When she saw me getting a ham patty (one of my favorites) from the lunch line at school, she tattled on me to the lunch lady. And the lunch lady took my sandwich away!

Which, OMG! Who was this Christian lunch lady to enforce my religious eating habits? As an adult, I don’t know if I’m more mad at the girl who tattled on me for eating ham when I DON’T KEEP KOSHER or the lunch lady for believing one Jewish kid over another. If I really kept kosher, I would be packing my lunch because the school cafeteria surely isn’t kosher. I’d been getting my lunch at school everyday and had definitely eaten milk with meat MANY times before this event happened. I may have even had the ham patty at school before.

And if I WAS breaking dietary laws, wouldn’t that be an issue for my parents to talk to me about later? Not the lunch lady? Whose duty is it to stop me from eating a ham sandwich? I know I was too young to be making my own religious choices, but seriously, not the lunch lady’s place to step in. I was annoyed with the other Jewish girl for years over this– but she was young too and probably just trying to look out for me.

So those are my two big early elementary angst stories. As you can see, they clearly stuck with me. I wonder if Lily will remember the time Mara told her she was 6? Is that in the same league as being physically moved to the end of the line in the bathroom or being denied a ham sandwich and told you were breaking rules when you weren’t?

What early elementary school conflict still gets you worked up?


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One Response to Elementary School Blues

  1. it always bothered me when the teachers would encourage the reading competition or math competition because i could never go as fast as my classmates so i felt perpetually stuck.

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