Spring, 1975, at St. Andrew’s kindergarten in Roswell, New Mexico. I am pirouetting into kindergarten, dancing on lollipops and rainbows because I know that I am just too cute today. My mama has let me wear my favorite green plaid (shut up)dress to kindergarten, even though I keep coming home with finger paint and impossible to get out mulberry stains all over my clothes. All it took was 4 days of incessant nagging and begging (all hail the master!) and she finally caved.
But! Even! Better! Is what I have under my favorite green plaid dress! It is a whole otherdress! A white, very twirly tiered dress make out of soft silky stuff, with adjustable straps and lace on the edges and pretty pink roses on the neckline. I lurved that “dress”. I don’t know why Mama let me wear two dresses, but hey, I am not about to object! I thought, “geez, this dress under my other dress is even prettier. It is such a shame to hide it, even under my favorite dress! I will just unbutton my green dress and hang it on my coat hook and then everyone can see how bee-you-tee-ful I am in my white twirly dress!”
Somehow, my teacher, Sister Mary Catherine, did not approve of my wardrobe choices. She kept calling my beautiful dress a slip and saying that I had to put my dress back on, right now. Now she is a kind of a weird lady, anyway. She is always making follow dumb rules like stay in your seat and raise your hand to go to the bathroom and don’t use the kindergarten scissors to cut your hair. Even weirder, she smells like sourkraut and my mom says that she thinks she is married to Jesus. Also, she always wears the same dress and it is very plain, just black and white, so you can’t really trust this lady to know fashion, if you ask me.
Which is why I wouldn’t put my dress back on. Because my other dress, it was prettier! Duh! And so I ran. Or rather I skipped. I skipped all around the class, dancing and twirling and showing off my twirly skirt. I was having a fine old time until Sister Mary Meany-Face caught me by the arm, grabbed my green plaid dress by the other arm, and dragged me to the office to call your mother, young lady! You are going to have to leave kindergarten for the rest of the day!
Leave kindergarten? You might as well have killed me. My world, it was destroyed. No blocks and finger-painting? No recess or story time and milk and cookies or nap time on our special “take a rest” mats??
And so I called her and sniffed through tearful sobs that Sister was mean and got mad just because I wanted to wear my white dress and she kept calling it a slip and she was totally unfair and now my arm hurt.
Mama came and picked me up and we went out to lunch, just us two. And I got ice cream. And she let me wear my pretty white dress and no one said a word.