When I was about four years old, my mother went to work for a sign company. I remember my mother and I walking down the street from our apartment to her work. I believe I was wearing a white dress that had trim on it that was red. It was a bright and sunny day and the part that sticks out in my memory is that I had on red, polka dotted underwear. Because we were outside in the sun, you could see the polka dots through the white. I remember my mother telling the ladies that I was an embarrassment to her. I was thoroughly chastised for the underwear. I don’t remember being told a specific thing to wear and just put on what I could reach.
Kim did not dress me. I dressed myself. I would put on shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of winter and freeze if we went any where. During that same time, my mother’s parents lived in the same city that my mother worked. Next door to my grandparents home was a mother and daughter. The daughter Sadie, became my best friend. That first summer, we were both sent to summer camp. I spent every day outside in the sun. I was also able to take swimming lessons that year. I loved being in the pool. I remember that, in the class, you started on the level of Tadpole and you graduated when you reached Shark.
I had a problem where I had to hold my nose because I could not keep the water out of it. I could not swim and blow the air out of my nose at the same time. To this day, I still can’t do that. That was one of the few good times I had in my life After that summer, Sarah and her mom moved and we lost touch with each other. I may have been six or seven years old.
Shortly thereafter, I was put in daycare next to the apartment that we lived in. I was dropped off there in the mornings and subsequently taken to school by the daycare van. I was also picked up after school until my mom came to pick me up.
There were a few instances that occurred while I was being looked after by the daycare. The first and most dominant memory was about a teenage boy sticking his hand up my dress. Again, I was in the first or second grade. I had chased him because he had taken a pencil that I was using to do my home work. He had sat down in the corner and I approached him. He lifted up my dress and touched my private area over my panties.
I abandoned my pencil and ran tot he teacher crying I told her what the boy had done and was told to stop making up stories and to finish my homework. Her exact words were to stop telling lies. Instead of going to do my homework, I went and sat down in a corner where I was still close to the teacher but also where I could be alone in safety.
I told Kim and she said “Well, if that’s what the teacher told you, then do what she says.” That response doesn’t surprise me. That was a typical reaction when I would tell my mother things. I was always told that I was lying or that I was making up stories.
The second incident happened that summer. We had gone to the pool ad I happened to claim use of an inner tube which was very rare. The same teacher was there and told the other lady that was over another class, “Look at the jelly rolls on that girl.” It hurt my feelings and I got off of the inner tube which was quickly claimed. I got out of the pool and went and sat in a chair in the shade. Within a few minutes, the teacher came to where I was sitting quietly wrapped in my towel. She told me to get back in the pool. I told her that I didn’t want to and she repeated the command. When I shook my head and started crying, she grabbed me by the arm and dragged me to the edge of the pool and pushed me in. Towel and all.
I was still crying and now, more so because I would have no towel to dry off with. The teacher left me alone after that. I pushed my soggy towel out of the pool and just floated by the edge until it was time to leave. I had wrung out my towel as best as possible and shoved it in my plastic grocery sack. One of my friends let me borrow their towel when they were done with it so that I could ry off. The last incident that I remember involved an art project. We were told to drip blue on paper and we were given food coloring to drip into the blue Then we were told to use the straw and blow the blue and food coloring around. The end result was supposed to be a tie-die effect. The only end result was thirteen kids high on elmer’s glue.
There is a fourth memory. We were entered into a summer daycare dance competition. The initial song that was chose was “Surfin in the USA” by the Beach Boys. I was one of four girls chosen as the back up dancers. I was taken out of the performance because I wasn’t ‘Sexy” enough at seven years old. They ended up changing the song and doing a different dance. I wasn’t invited to participate in that one. That song was “The Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran.