Thursday, November 18, 2010

This Madness Gives Me Vertigo

When looking back and remembering my days of primary school, i have something distinct to remember that sets each year apart from another.


Kindergarten, brings buttons, goldfish and the varying shades of purple in an angry woman's face.

First grade: my first encounter with I Spy books, countless teddy bears and teddy bear figurines, as well as song after song about teddy bears.

Second grade, Magic Tree-house books, Jack Prelutsky, Shel Silverstein, and the wondrous Book Nook (which i tried to recreate in my bedroom... didn't work out).

Now Third grade is probably the most memorable and the one i remember the least about...

Due to a decline in the enrollment of third and fourth graders, a class that included both third and fourth graders was needed, and so was created The Third-Fourth Split.
 My teacher, Ms. Nevins was designated to teach this class. She was a new teacher at the school and had many creative innovations and ideas about how to make learning a more enjoyable experience for her students. But more than the Ice Cream Sundae Multiplications, Shaving -cream Spelling, The Price is Right math, and random episodes of Super Sleuth, i remember her obsession with Harry Potter.

I believe that it started out innocently.
During DEAR (drop everything and read) as a class, we would sit on the carpet in front of her chair and she would read to us from Harry Potter. First was The Sorcerer's Stone, then The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban, and finally, The Goblet of Fire. She read to us all of the books that had been released.

At that time there was an unholy hullabaloo being created about Harry Potter. It was a sudden sensation. There were J.K Rowling interviews that we watched and listened to, news stories about children all over the world going gaga over Harry Potter.

Now don't get me wrong, i had no problem with Harry Potter (and still don't). I liked the books just fine and i enjoyed reading them along with the rest of the class as well as on my own. But it seemed that this new found phenomenon was one that i was being trampled by. Soon all the talk at recess, and lunch, and practically any free time in the day was all about Harry Potter.

A new board game had hit the market and it was the talk in all the school. Ms. Nevins and Mr. Rencher, a sixth grade teacher, orchestrated a life-size version of the game to be played by the students. It would be a battle of sixth graders against Fourth/Third graders. We were all given assignments and told to come dressed in our best wizard apparel. It was planned for months and all anyone could talk about. It was to be a day fully devoted to Harry Potter. But when the day finally came, i had forgotten and came completely unprepared. To the utter dismay of my entire class i was the only student not dressed as a wizard. Of course Ms. Nevins came prepared for such a situation and she promptly called me to her desk, pinned a blanket around my neck, pulled out a tube of dark red lipstick and proceeded to defile my forehead. (a lightning bolt marking that did not make itself easy to remove...friends and neighbors gawked for days...)

I hardly remember playing the game, except that i was playing the part of a pawn and that we were playing on a giant laminated board on the ground in Mr. Rencher's darkened class room. Don't ask me how to play because i don't believe i ever knew. The important thing was that we won, much to the sixth graders consternation. It was only a few days later that as we ventured out to P.E. as a class we were ambushed with water balloons by sixth graders hiding on the roof. They demanded a rematch and all the insanity was set in play again.

Don't even get me started on Halloween. The entire thing was madness.

I read the Harry Potter books and enjoyed them, up until book 5, that is. I began to read it and intantly hated Harry. I've never tried to pick one up since. But now that the last movie(s) are coming out and everyone is going positively crazy over them, i begin to think back on that year. The Year of Harry Potter, and i wonder if there would have been anyone who i could have traded third grade years with...

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