Earliest Memory

Ten minutes remained in our longest period of the day and my two students paused their gossip, folded their hands, and looked expectantly at me. These are the moments that count, so I wracked my brain for a good question. Behind them my bulletin board shouted in bright blue and yellow, “Dream.”

“What did you want to be when you were little,” I asked.

“What, Miss?”

“When you were in, say, Kindergarten, what did you want to be?”

“Miss, I honestly don’t remember much about my childhood at all.”

With my very vivid, very young memories, I never quite understand this. How, at 19-years-old, can one have forgotten one’s childhood? But as a teacher I’ve heard this countless times. Still, I persist, “Well, when is your earliest memory?”

“I was eleven.”

“What do you remember?”

“My dad was drunk as hell and needed me to drive him home. So I drove the truck. The scariest part was driving on the interstate. That was the very first time I did that. I did it a lot of times after when he was drunk. But I figured it out, ‘D,’ ‘R,’ ‘P.'”

A pregnant pause filled the room.

“Oh yeah, I wanted to be a firefighter,” he interjected suddenly. We talked about that a couple minutes before he sighed, “But I’m a felon, so there’s no use talking about it.” Control saved us by calling movement.



About hey miss

A teacher. A prison guard. I used to think that was like oil and water. Like lightening and metal. Some days it is. Some days it's magic.
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