For my next Memory Monday subject I have chosen teachers. While I may cover several teachers in some posts, in this post I am going to limit myself to my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Delgado. This was at Davidson Elementary School in San Bernardino, California.
My memories of kindergarten are fairly limited. After all, I was only 5-6 years old and, as is often the case for children when they first start school (we didn’t have preschool in those days), I caught every bug that came through and missed a lot of days. One of the big events of the school year was the Big Guppy Give-Away, which I described in my Memory Monday post on Pets.
Mrs. Delgado must have been a nice lady for the most part; at least, my mother liked her. Mom was especially happy when Mrs. Delgado made silhouettes of us to give our parents for Christmas. As I remember, I excelled at sitting still for that silhouette. Several of us had to go to speech class once or twice a week (I’m not sure, but I think in my case it was because my extreme shyness gave me a slight stutter and made it appear that my vocabulary was underdeveloped).
Naps rated low on the “like” list and finger-painting rated high. Painting with regular paints was somewhere in the middle range for popularity. It was soon to drop much lower than that in my estimation. Our class was split into groups and we rotated activities from day to day based on the group we were in. We were supposed to clean up after ourselves after each activity. One day, after cleaning up, we were getting ready to go outside when something suddenly seemed to be amiss. Mrs. Delgado was angry. What could be wrong? Apparently someone had knocked over a paint can in the trough by one of the easels and left a mess. Who had been painting at that easel? I had. But I knew that I had left it clean and hadn’t knocked anything over. If anything, I was overly fastidious about cleaning and believed that Mrs. Delgado knew this about me. She didn’t. She was heading my way. I made a quick scan of the room, trying to spot the guilty boy (in my 5-year-old girl mind, the culprit had to be a boy) who had turned the paint can over by accident (or possibly deliberately). Too late. Mrs. Delgado stopped in front of me, whipped out her accusatory finger, and started yelling at me. Her voice was shriller than I had ever heard it before and she seemed to loom over me; I felt very small. The other kids surrounded us, and the tongue-lashing seemed to last a long time. I do not remember what, if any, punishment followed; it was probably some sort of time-out.
My family moved to nearby Highland a couple of years later and I attended Warm Springs Elementary School there through sixth grade. When I was in sixth grade, some of us “big kids” were selected to help the kindergarten teachers wrangle the kindergartners during a school activity, possibly the May festival. The kindergarten classes were in a separate block of rooms and I had never paid attention to who the kindergarten teachers were. I was assigned to Mrs. Delgado’s class; she must have transferred to Warm Springs at some point. In sixth grade, at 5’3”, I was one of the tallest students in school. I walked into Mrs. Delgado’s class and noticed something I had never realized before: Mrs. Delgado was very short.