This is Hope Thompson..one of my young gun writers. Watch for more great things from her.
I’ll probably never forget my first day of Pre K- 4. The moment I got on the bus the first time, all by myself. I remember that my neighborhood friends were scared, but I couldn’t wait. “Independent” was written all across my young face. I didn’t like to follow everyone else. We took the route to my school, Lloyd Elementary, I still remember that route.
We pulled up to the school and walked by the huge front entrance. There was a sign with large letters, there was a small bird’s nest in the backside of the “s.” My friends and I peered at it everyday while loading the bus to go home. I love this place, I thought to myself walking in that first day. I had no idea how much better it was going t o get.
I walked through those glass double doors with my mom by my side, she had followed the bus along with everyone else’s parents. My mom glanced down the sheet in the front of the lobby, “Mrs. Walker, 14a,” she said to me. Mrs. Walker was the woman I was so ready to meet. I had heard all about her and I was nervously excited about starting school. We walked to the left hallway, right off the front entrance. As we walked, I look for room 14a. Every class the left was in the “a” category, and the classrooms to the right were “b’s.” 1a, 2a, 3a…I looked at he flag-like signs hanging from the ceiling. Finally, we were there, room 14a. It was the last classroom on the left side of the hallway just before the double doors to the playground. My mom opened the classroom door. She carried my backpack and I followed close behind. This is where the nervous part of my excitement surfaced. I looked through the door at a huge room. It had a craft center, a reading center and even our own couch to sit on and read the books we could choose from our own personal library. In awe, I was then greeted by a woman. I knew who this woman must be. She stood before me with angelic blue eyes and deep red, almost brown hair. “Hello, I am Mrs. Walker,” she stared at me and said. I told her my name in exchange. I’ll never forget the smile she had on. It was so real and meaningful to me. She instructed my mom and I to find a place in the reading center. We didn’t get a spot on the couch, I remember that. We talked about the school year and excitement grew inside me. I knew I would love school.
As the year went on a girl named Nicole and I became best friends. Mrs. Walker would never admit it, but we knew we were her favorites. Field trips, recess and even our at desks, we were side by side. During center times we did crafts and had the best time. We even went on a field trip to and Indian Festival right outside of Columbus, Georgia, where we lived. That’s the last memory I have of Nicole and me…walking around laughing with each other about things which I will never remember. That’s my last memory.
I walked int school the next day, A day I will never forget. Tears filled the eyes of my beautiful teacher. I was confused. It seemed that she was waiting for me as we walked in. My mom was by my side. Mrs. Walker confronted her and my mom asked what was wrong. They talked over to the side and Mrs. Walker’s shaky voice explained something to my mom. I stood there clueless, not knowing what to expect, not a worry in my young, naive mind. Mrs. Walker handed a paper to my mom and then my mom headed over my way. My mother had the same tears Mrs. Walker had. Then, she explained the death of my dear friend, Nicole. My mom began to read the paper she had been handed, but I don’t remember a things that she said, only that it was bad news. My mom checked me out of school . That day was blurry. I was young and could not quite wrap my naive mind around the situation.
The look on Mrs. Walker’s face sticks with me. That was the first time that I can remember feeling deep, real pain. The pain that knocks you when you aren’t looking, rips out your gut and leaves you with emptiness.
Weeks went by and things went back to normal, slowly, but we were empty, Mrs. Walker as well. Easter rolled around and someone came up with a great idea to make a garden for Nicole. It would be in memory of her, not to look at and cry, but to look at and smile remember her for the good times; it was to be a celebration of her life.
May plants went into the garden, mostly bright colors, ones Nicole would have loved. The most important things were the butterfly bushes. She loved those things. The garden slowly came together, it was beautiful. I remember when it was finished we all hung decorated Easter Eggs on the tree for Nicole. The wind was blowing and everything was just simply beautiful. I remember Mrs. Walker standing there with the wind in her hair and smile on her face. A real smile. It was something I hadn’t seen on her face in a while.
I learned from Mrs. Walker that pain is real. People cope with it in many different ways. But, It can make you stronger. We all get blindsided and knocked down every now and then, but it’s important that we always get up. Be thankful for the little things that make you smile and touch you in ways that you can’t explain. They can stick in your heart forever. That’s what Mrs. Walker taught me, I could never dream of forgetting that.