“Class, put your Dick and Jane books inside your desks. It’s story time.”
I push in my book. Yeah!
Carol smiles at me. I whisper. “Let’s sit together.”
“Shhh, we do not need to be talking to our neighbors. There will be time for that in the lunch room. Make a circle down on the rug.”
Mrs. Steinberg sits in one of our little desk chairs. I look in her eyes. She smiles. I think she likes me! She is tall. Why am I so little?
We all sit Indian style. I like my new saddle shoes. I can tie my own shoes now! The laces make bunny ears. Daddy taught me. My school dress doesn’t cover my legs. I have goose-bumps.
My teacher waits until we are quiet. She holds a big picture book in her lap. I wonder what she’ll read. Maybe it’s Lady and the Tramp!
“Peter, stop crowding George. We can not begin until you are still.”
Peter is always in trouble. He doesn’t care.
“This morning we will read the story of Johnny Appleseed.”
I listen to every word. I like apples. We have apple trees in our back yard. Johnny Appleseed planted apple seeds in the dirt. It made people happy. Mrs. Steinberg reads each page slowly.
“Apple trees grow tall. Children will pick Johnny’s apples. They eat apples with lunch. Mothers make apple pies. Children will bring apples to their teachers.”
I’ll ask Mom to give me an apple. I’ll surprise the teacher!
After she reads the page, she turns the book around. We look at the pictures. Johnny is silly. He is wearing a pan on his head! It makes me laugh. A small dog is following Johnny.
Is that Spot? We are learning to read books. Dick and Jane and Sally play with their dog Spot. My back hurts. I’m tired of sitting with my legs crossed. My tummy makes noises. I want to hide.
“The End. Was that a good story?
We clap our hands and smile. We like our first grade teacher.
“It is time to get ready for lunch. Line up single file at the door. Sue, you paid attention to our story today. You can be the first in line.”
I’m first! I stand up straight. My friends all get in line behind me. I’m the leader! The bell rings and Mrs. Steinberg opens the door. We walk to the big lunch room. My nose smells spaghetti. I get a quarter tomorrow to buy lunch! I pay for my box of milk. It is cold in my hand. Straws make a loud noise when I drink. Boys blow paper off their straws. I’m afraid to do that!
Carol and I sit together. She is my best friend. We ride the school bus together and play after school.
“What do you have for lunch?” said Carol.
“Peanut-butter and bacon sandwich, my favorite! And box of raisins.”
“I’ve got bologna, money for ice cream, too!”
“Look, my raisins look like bugs!”
We laugh until the bell rings. Mrs. Steinberg leads us down the long hall, back to our class-room.
“Time for your naps. Get your rugs and blankets from your cubbies and settle down. I have a surprise. This afternoon we will play a game of Simon Says during recess!”
Good, not dodge ball. That scares me. I like Simon Says!
I want to laugh about my raisin bugs. Mrs. Steinberg turns out the lights. My rug is little like me. I snuggle with my blanket.
“Sue, Sue wake up. You were dreaming; you were calling Spot!”
I rub my eyes. “Dick and Jane came. They called me Sally. Spot ran. We ate big red apples!”
“Well, you could be Sally! You have pretty blond curls, just like her. I bet your mommy fixed those pretty ringlets. You are a lucky girl. You have imaginary new friends because you are a reader!
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