W didn’t remember all the details of first grade. It had been over fifty years ago when he walked into his own first grade class. All he could recall from those days was no air conditioning, walking over a mile to school and a rough teacher with a wooden ruler. So when he first met C he thought things were pretty good for him. He rode a great bus to an air-conditioned school and had a pretty, smiling and happy teacher. What could be so bad?
Soon W had an answer to his question. Life was hard. Home life was rough. Reading was a challenge and making friends was not a skill set C had been able to master.
W decided it was time to go back to school and do first grade all over again.
One morning a week they practiced sight words, handwriting, reading, and writing sentences. Soon addition and subtraction were added to the lessons. After a morning of diligent hard work they would eat lunch together. Lunch time conversation was fun. “What did you do over the weekend?” “What are you planning for this weekend?” Then off to recess they would go. W would sometimes watch and sometimes play. Just having W on the playground gave C the confidence he needed to stand up and play with others. Soon he was accepted and had a pack of friends.
First grade seemed to fly by. Each week W and C grew closer together. C smiled more. He was able to hold his head up and look adults in the eye. The end of year awards ceremony arrived. The school counselor suggested W attend.
“And the ‘Most Improved Student of the Year’ award goes to . . .” Guess who?
It has been four years since W went back to first grade. He and C have been together every step of the way. They have gone on field trips, shared school concerts, and celebrated birthdays 7, 8, 9 and 10. They hugged through the loss of a pet and embraced the joy of a new puppy. The biggest victory of all was triple digit multiplication and division of decimals.
“C is a fine young man,” W declares.
W will never forget his second go around of first grade.