a dream realized (part 1)

You may want to grab a drink, even a snack, ’cause this may take a while. :may5

For what it’s worth, I was a smart kid.  Not a genius; that would be my brother.  Literally—he tests at a genius level I.Q.  I honestly think that if he applied himself, he could be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or something. :may20   But I digress…

I may not have been a genius, but I was both smart & precocious.  I started reading very early (though math, I’m sorry to say, did & still does baffle me :may39 )…I started kindergarten at age 4, when all of the other kids were 5 or 6…I was categorized as Section 1, which was the first/smartest “section,” academically speaking…& though I didn’t come close to being Valedictorian of my class, I still tended to hit the Honor Roll more often than not.  (And the “nots” were always due to my massive mental blocks with math in all its many evil forms. :may8 )

I’m not saying this to brag, I swear, but simply to help explain this next part.  See, I not only started reading early, but I LOVED to read—which I’m sure doesn’t surprised you in the least. :mat27

But what do you expect when my mother was a librarian & one of the house rules was “If you’re reading, you’re busy.”  When Madame Mommy Dearest was a kid, she was never allowed to just sit & read; she always had to be doing something, & that something had to be work.  Dusting, cleaning, vacuuming, doing dishes, helping with meals…  So she swore that when she had kids, they would be allowed to simply SIT & READ.  (How lucky was I to be her kid, huh? :may22 )  And when I say that was a rule, I mean it…

“Heidi, clean your room.”
“I’m reading!”
“Oh, okay.”

“Heidi, it’s your turn to do the dishes.”
“I reading!”
“Okay, do them later then.”

Skip ahead a few years when I was in 3rd or 4th grade.  MMD, by the way, was a junior high librarian at that point.  And I was reading everything; my reading level was well beyond my grade level.  Unfortunately, the school I attended celebrated mediocrity. :may24

You know how grade school works/ed—each day of the week, you got to do something special & different from the norm.  There was art class, gym, music class, & a trip to the library.  Wanna guess which was my favorite? :may15   The problem was, I wanted to read “big books” & the librarian would only let us take out books from our grade’s section.  Seriously.  I wanted to read Nancy Drew, but she told me flat-out that those were 6th grade books, so I wasn’t allowed to read them yet.  Can you imagine such a thing? :may31

This did not sit well with me.  Or with MMD, either. :may25   And—being the precocious, smart(ass) child that I was—I didn’t let it stop me.  Instead, I told MMD which books I wanted to read & she brought them from her (junior high) library, then I would take them with me on Library Day & simply sit & read while the other kids looked for  books “at their level.”

Oh, boy, did that piss off my school librarian!  And she insisted I check out a book each week—one from my “grade level,” of course—even though she knew I wasn’t going to read it.  Had, in fact, probably read them all already.  So I did.  I’d sit at one of the tables & read my Nancy Drew book until it was almost time to leave, then I’d grab whatever from one of the shelves & check it out.  Take it back to the classroom, stick it in my desk, never open it, then return it the following week.  And lather, rinse, repeat. :may16

Okay, I’m going to end Part 1 of this story here & finish with Part 2 next week.  I’m sure you’re dying to hear the rest. :may17

But, really, there’s a great end to the story, so don’t miss it! :may35

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