School Days

Today is the 11th anniversary of 9/11.  My thoughts are with everyone who lived or worked in NYC, and with the rest of us too.  Because as we watched the terribleness–and the heroism–unfold, we were all horrified and hopeful and together we were united as Americans.  Even if some of us weren’t American, it was a day when it felt like most of the globe’s population witnessed and watched it with us, mourned for us and supported us.  My third grader lives in a far different world than the one I lived in at her age.  It’s both so much simpler (no Iron Curtain) yet impossibly complicated (every single other thing).  And scarier.  Thanks to the first responders everywhere for everything they do everyday, and to the families who wave goodbye each morning to their loved ones with no sense of certainty that they’ll make it home this shift.


Since school has been back in session, I was reminiscing about my own days in grade school.  Mostly they were filled with wearing thick glasses and trying to be a wallflower, but I have exactly two gems that I’m happy to reminisce over with you.

When I was in first grade my father worked third shift.  He got home from patrolling the mean streets of Phoenix just as my mother was leaving for work, so they’d kiss hello/goodbye and he’d decompress and prepare for a day’s worth of sleep in their bedroom while I got myself ready for school.  One day he dozed off before the school bus came, and I saw an opportunity to do something I’d always wanted to do:  wear my Wonder Woman Underoos to school.  For once!  So I kept quiet, skipped the noise of breakfast, kept my Underoos on (because I slept in them, like every other kid in 1982), and trucked it to the bus stop twenty minutes early.  I must have known I was doing something sort of not right, because I took a moment to find a winter coat to wear in order to hide my Underoos from prying neighborhood eyes who might call my dad, waking him up to tattle on me.  It was a sweltering day, so as my dad eventually loped after me in the exhausted sleepy haze that comes with working through the night and then realizing your daughter isn’t inside the home when she should be and so you fall over yourself just trying to get out of the house quick enough to chase her down, he probably wondered why I was wearing a big heavy jacket AND NOTHING ELSE.  He caught me.  I was SO bummed.  And embarrassed–the whole neighborhood probably saw my dorky dad running down the street in shorts and no shirt, barefoot.  I was humiliated!  And wearing Underoos in public.  And forced to come home to change into whatever was clean, probably didn’t match, and breakfast was a granola bar on the school bus.  Oh Dad, what a buzzkill you are.

Every single girl who had Wonder Woman Underoos has a photo of themselves somewhere identical to this one.  This photo is actually not me, because I waited until the last minute last night and couldn’t ask my mom to go through her millions of photos to find it.  No, this gem is courtesy of Elzabelz and appeared just now when I did a Google search because I wanted to make sure the young’uns know the awesomeness of the Wonder Woman Underoo.  I don’t know Elz and have never met her, but her bio explains that she is a mom who blogs about a variety of interests who you might enjoy reading–send some traffic her way!











The second amusing story that I recall from my grade school days took place on class picture day when I was in third grade.  My mom headed to work in the emergency room that morning as usual, and my dad was half asleep when I left for the bus stop after surviving another third shift, as usual.  Before my mom left though she laid out my clothes.  This wasn’t just another school day–this was school picture day.  I vividly remember what she “helped” me choose to wear that day:  purple and brown plaid button down blouse with a white peter pan collar, purple corduroy jumper, headband, knee socks, and black Mary Janes.  That would have made for an epic school picture in 1984 had I not waited for her to leave for work and then ignore every instruction she left for me while my dad was sleeping and he had no idea it was picture day anyway.  Plus, it was really hot that day you guys.  Like “90 degrees F at 7am” kind of hot.  And it’s not like a class picture is important to anyone, you know?  I bypassed the purple corduroy contraption set out on my bed and went with my go-to:  denim shorts and the faded purple E.T. t-shirt, the one where the screen print of E.T. was kind of coming off, curling off in the way that cheap screen printed t-shirts frequently do after you wash them a hundred times.  When I got home from school, Mom was on the phone with someone (phones were attached to the wall in the kitchen back in olden times, which made her essentially immobile), so I sneaked through the hallway to my room and stripped off all my clothes.  I made my dramatic re-entrance into the kitchen fanning my face and complaining of the heat–clearly I had worn my fancy clothes all day and deserved some relief, right?  She bought it.

Three weeks later when I came home with a $30 envelope filled with ninety photos of me wearing that ragamuffin E.T. t-shirt?  That was a special, special day at my house.  Turns out that my mom has guilt tripping skills, the likes of which you ain’t never seen.  It was the last time I made that mistake.

I once again turn to Google to find a photo to go with this story because I failed to ask my mom to find that envelope full of pictures until the night before I decided to blog about it.  For now, this reasonable facsimile will have to do.















I will work tirelessly to find personal photos to support these stories and add them to this post when they are located.  Until then, any amusing anecdotes you have to share with us?


Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for muscular dystrophy at