For Halloween, I am Pippi Longstocking – of the South Seas variety. My mother and I dye an old pair of pink pants black and cut them off at jagged angles like pirate pants. We braid my hair over pipe cleaners so the pigtails will stick out from my head. To represent Mr Nilsson, I borrow a stuffed monkey from my cousin and cry when I have to give it back.
My teacher, Ms. Salter, does something special for every kid’s birthday. During the day, she sneaks up behind the birthday-kid and dumps confetti on his or her head from a Dixie cup. I wait excitedly for April 10, but she forgets. When I remind her at the end of the day, she tells me that we can do confetti on the 11th if I want. I tell her never mind.
I befriend Kristen and begin to boss her around. I make her tie my shoes whenever they come untied.
I’m obsessed with Magic Nursery dolls. So is Kristen. We take them to school with us and Ms. Salter lets them sleep under her desk during the day.
For Christmas, Santa brings me a stuffed gorilla to relieve some of my post-Halloween primate-related sadness. Santa brings Kristen a Magic Nursery doll carrier. Santa has unwittingly shifted the balance of power with these gifts.
Kristen and I smash both our dolls into her doll carrier and use it for transport to and from White Oaks Elementary. Now, when I have orders for Kristen, she tells me she will make my doll sleep on the floor. She never ties my shoes again.
(Read the rest of my school memories here)