I’m going on a dinosaur dig in Inner Mongolia and I can only wear the clothes on my back. I’m leaving first thing tomorrow morning. My outfit is going to have to be durable, practical all-occasions wear. I’m thinking blue jeans, a white cotton T-shirt, and a denim jacket. And yes, my red bandana, for wiping the sweat off my forehead as I toil. This is the exact outfit I set out for myself the night before Career Day, 1984.
I was nine years old and attending Lakewood K-12. I was in Ms. Dye’s third grade classroom, a late comer. My family had moved to St. Petersburg, FL shortly after the school year had started. The school was a confusing maze of hallways and a cacophony of bells and hall monitors. Florida school was so different from Vermont school—no story time for one thing. No recess, PE every day. There were no pencils or pads of paper. I was automatically enrolled in ESL without a language proficiency test. I was a bright kid, but not an exceptional or motivated student. The best parts of my day were lunch and racing home to turn on the TV. Continue reading