Friday, August 1, 2008

Sorry 'Bout That! - Cowboys to Girls

I'll end the week with another "apology" post, a double header back from my 36th Street Elementary School days.

It was summer school. I don't remember the grade; I think it was between 1st and 2nd. In the class were two Asians, Marsha Oh and me. Marsha was a cute little girl who didn't talk much.

We were having art time, painting with tempera on big sheets of paper fastened to an easel. I always wondered what paint had to do with tempura and why didn't they just call it paint. These were big light-brown pieces of paper with little specks of wood scattered about. Do you remember the writing paper you used? Our "everyday" paper was the same material as our art paper, light brown with wood specks with the addition of light green ruler lines that we all hated because pencil marks didn't show up very well and it tore easily. The good stuff, reserved for "final" copies and special occasions, was white and took very nicely to pencil or pen.

Anyway, we were painting. My easel was next to Marsha's. I don't recall the details but basically, she didn't want to share something with me. I was being polite but she wasn't cooperative so I smeared paint on her picture. She smeared some back. Then I smeared some paint, er, tempera on her face. Then she started crying.

Then the teacher came over.

Well, I hadn't expected her to start crying because I hadn't dealt much with girls up to that point but boys didn't cry over something like that. I was expecting her to try and smear my face and I'd be ready for her.

The teacher looked at Marsha's paint-smeared face and that was that. I got in big, big trouble.

It was then I learned girls don't play fair, haha. But regardless, the first of this doubleheader apology is to Marsha because I should have been more gracious. Even though your mama should have taught you how to share..

Moving up a few grades, now there was another sole Asian girl in my class, Leslie Higaki. Marsha was long gone, having only attended that summer session. Or maybe her parents took her out of the school after being subjected to that traumatic incident with me. Whatever, good bye and good riddance.

The fad at that time was for the guys to go around thumping or flicking each other's backsides. You know, like how you flick away a bug or some other annoyance with your middle finger and thumb? We used to sneak up behind someone, raise our arm in the air and then forcefully fling our arm down and flick that person's butt.

Most people took it good naturedly since we all did this to one another and it was one of those "gotcha" things that made everyone laugh. Sometimes it backfired, like if you didn't aim very well and accidentally hit their belt, which could be painful.

One of the more expert persons at doing this was a kid named Edgar Kemp, aka "Skipper." Edgar and I were good buddies in that class. He had impeccable timing when it came to doing the flick.

Well, one day he told me to sneak up behind Leslie and do that to her. And I took his suggestion. She was totally unsuspecting. I did the standard flick and whoa, this was like jello! Totally unlike doing that to one of the boys in our class. She turned around and chased me all over the room (don't ask me where the teacher was because I have no idea).

Meanwhile, Edgar was standing there cracking up. "Man, Rickie, what's wrong with you anyway?" he managed to sputter out as he was laughing.

"You told me to do it!" I shouted back at him. "She's like jello," I said, which made him laugh even more. Leslie stood across the room scowling at me. Thing is, the boys all had on pants but the girls had to wear dresses or skirts so their clothing wasn't as thick as ours.

Edgar kept teasing me about that all day. I was embarrassed. From then on I saved that maneuver for the boys.

So the bottom half of this doubleheader is an apology to Leslie, wherever you are.


donna said...

Can you believe I know who Marsha Oh is? My friend Mona used to work with her. You made wrong choices there buddy.

Rickie Miyake said...

That's funny! Good thing Marsha wasn't like the women in those Korean Dramas - she would have knocked me down and whacked me with the easel multiple times!

donna said...

I imagined the two frying pan scenario you discussed earlier.