I Flunked First Grade

Ha, there, I said it. I am among the elite group in life that flunked first grade. I said in another blog that my birthday fell oddly on the calendar where I could be in kindergarten or first grade so they put me in first grade as I had already gone to kindergarten. My mom was carrying me into Mrs Olson’s first grade class kicking, screaming and crying “I don’t want to go, please mommy, I won’t do it!” Well I’m not quite sure why I was objecting so. I had gone to kindergarten and the next logical thing was first grade. Had I over heard someone say she’s too young at age 5 and six as my birthday is December 18th? Can’t say, but they made a very big mistake by putting me in the second row at a desk by this huge glorious window. I sat there and daydreamed the whole year away. I did not find Dick & Jane very interesting because my imaginary world was far more rich.

When the year ended and I flunked I remember the shame I had being over at my best friends house who was an ace student. She was soooo beautiful to me as well as an Albino with long white hair and rabbit pink eyes. She looked like Alice in Wonderland to me. The only thing I had up on Allison was good manners which her mother was always saying “Why can’t you be more like Patti, she has such beautiful manners”, thanks to my Nana. Allison did not have very good vision so she had to bend way over to see what she was eating.

When I got home that night we had our family dinner together. It was  always in the formal dining room with my three other brothers and mom and dad. This dinner would change my life forever. It was the end of the year and everyone had gotten their report cards and dad was going over them one by one. I felt this huge ball of shame welling up in my throat. My two older brothers had done very well. When Dad looked at my report card and read, “Patti is too young and immature to be promoted to second grade so we feel she should repeat first grade” In fact it was their RECOMMENDATION that I not go on to second grade which I would have agreed with looking back. I actually know he did not read this out loud but after he read it he looked up at me and said,  ”I can’t believe I have a stupid child, you stink!”. Well there were the words that still chase me today. Here was my God (that’s who your father feels like at that age to you), my father, in his best German child rearing way, my idol, my daddy telling me I was stupid. The lump grew choking me, the tears streamed down my face, my head hung and I wanted to disappear. Don’t remember anything more. He told me I was stupid. Well he must know. I am stupid and therefore I was not of this family. I was an embarasment to myself and my family and I BELIEVED him. This I believe was the defining moment that led me to search for my comfort, my love, security, friendship, something that would not judge me back but would ease the pain and fill my deep cavernous hole where I did not feel loved. So for 49 years I’ve been filling that hole with the sweet, sinister, addicting poison of sugar, namely in the form of chocolate.

I told mom I wasn’t going to do it, first grade that is and I stuck to those words at my own expense.  I generally look at my life and ponder “what is the one thing I would have changed about me and that is that I should have never allowed myself to become fat”. I wonder about all the wonderful thoughts, ideas, creations, adventures, accomplishments etc I might have had in life had I never been fat. Well maybe this IS why I’m here after all. Who knows???

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