I’m remembering second grade.

The first thing I recall is the game of pogs.

In the second grade, I sprinted out for recess just to find circles of kids littering the playground, all engrossed in competition.

My brother and I used to compete for those awesome slammers. We would fight over them sometimes, claiming this one for its awesome design, or that one for the weight of the plastic.

I wanted all of the Batman ones, and we were torn over the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (another fad, I might add, one which seems to still be around). We had separate bags for our collections. I can’t even remember where they all came from. I’m sure they’re in some old closet in one of the houses we used to live in.

I remember always being afraid of our classroom in the old building of Carson St. Elementary. I distinctly remember staying after school one day to help my teacher with something. She left me alone in the room for a little while, and I kept hearing kids in the hallway. I would poke my head out the door to investigate, but the noises would abruptly stop, and then start again soon after I went back to whatever I was working on. It made me uneasy, and that was the last time I tried to be a teacher’s pet after hours.

In grade school we had these Helen Grace candy bar drives. I loved the peanut butter bars, by the way. I would always con my family into buying a ridiculous amount of those to last me for a while. I was one of the students who sold the most chocolate bars in our class, so I ended up with far too many boxes for my scrawny arms to carry by myself to Dad’s car. Two of the boys in my class volunteered to help me, and I remember feeling strangely gratified.

I think my best friend back then was a girl named Irene, though I can hardly remember for sure. I traded best friends as easily as I traded those school lunches for the Pioneer chicken my dad would bring me.

Since I was still under the sway of my parents’ influence, I was also in ballet that year. It was god-awful. I hated the tights, the uncomfortable leotards, and my creepy instructor who claimed she would eat our tummies if we didn’t suck them in during practice. My dad always dropped me off, and in preschool I learned not to let him touch my hair; he used to use rubber bands to put my hair into a ponytail, and it was hell taking them off. I could hardly put my hair in a bun by myself, for god’s sake, so I always had to ask one of the older girls to help me.

I quit after about a year. All of the girls were much older, and dancing with the boys made me uncomfortable. Boys in tights made me comfortable at the age of seven.

Hum. Second grade wasn’t so fun.

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