As a kid, I remember waking up and smelling grits and fish for breakfast on a weekday. I would hear my mother screaming from the kitchen that it was time to get up for school. It was always around 6 in the morning. I would wake up and make my bed (perfectly) and rush to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. I always took showers/baths the night before and my clothes would already be ironed and ready to toss on. My mother would sometimes do my hair. I would eat and rush out the door 10 minutes before my bus came. Those days were simple.
The bus ride to school was fun, especially if you sat in the back. I learned everything from word of mouth instead of a post that could be read on the theshaderoom. The kids and I would talk about everything we could before it was time to depart off the bus and be separated into our homeroom. We talked about our new shoes, clothes, even about the adults who lived in the neighborhood, like the candy lady for example. She charged 50 cents for honey-drippers and 10 cents for candy. Rumor had it that she was a witch and she use to take salt and shake it outside her fence to fend the demons away. But we were kids, who knew if that was true or not.
The school was amazing. My teachers were nice and eggar to teach. I remember having a cubby and getting smiley stickers on my homework that would get passed out at the end of class. The best part of school was recess. I was a tomboy.
My mom use to give me spankings for coming home because my hair was wild and my clothes had grass stains in it. She got so fed up that she sent me to school in dresses and told me that I was not allowed to play football with the boys. I was so hurt. I was not the girlie girl to swing on swings, play with dolls, or even sit in the shade to hide from the sun. I wanted to run with the boys and sometimes fight with them too. I came up with a plan to sneak jeans or shorts inside of my bookbag and take it with me the next time I went to recess.
There was a Teacher named Ms. Dawson, a beautiful, tall, skinny black woman with her hair dyed gold and a wonderful smile. She knew my mother would not allow me to play in the dirt with the boys but she made a deal with me. She told me that if she allowed me to play football (back then we called it Moss) that I had to try my hardest to not mess up my hair. It’s funny because that was impossible. So, Ms. Dawson would sit me down before class would start and fix my hair and make sure I changed into my dress before it was time to go home.
That would forever be our secret, and I am 26 now. I hope that she is still alive and that she still remembers me.
There were a lot of things as a kid that I remember that was complex but the child that I was was a dreamer. I loved to ride my bike with my feet on the bar handles showing off to my friends in the neighborhood. We would come home and change into more “play” clothes so we could meet at the end of the street before dinner. We would play freeze tag, hide and go seek, ride bikes, eat honey-drippers, and pray a curse wouldn’t be cast on us. There was one strict rule that all of our parents had, “COME HOME BEFORE THE STREETLIGHTS CAME HOME!
The weekends were the best. My mother wouldn’t wake me up but her cooking would. Sometimes it was fish and grits again but other times it was cereal. I would sit down at the dinner table and eat as fast as I could so that I would catch PBS kids on time. Clifford was my favorite, I even learned to spell intelligent from that show. My dad would come home from work and tell me to get dressed and he’ll take me fishing at the park. We would stay out there for hours and I use to love it because he was the greatest.
Life was simple, well at least for that time being. I didn’t even know what Social Media was. Who cared. I had real interactions with friends and the sun was the best part of the day. Not my phone screen.
I feel sorry for this generation. Their only interaction was the screen. Fourteen- year-olds don’t even look fourteen. When I ride in my old neighborhood where my parents use to stay, there are no kids outside riding their bikes, eating honey-drippers, laughing about witches, or even rushing home to beat the streetlights. It’s empty.
Hopefully, one day Social Media will die off and kids will enjoy social face to face interactions. Until then, I’m stuck with those memories. But hey, consider yourself lucky if you could relate to this article, times are hard, especially for them.