We thought we were worthy, but being placed in the basement
of the elementary school, I guess we couldn’t be trusted to sell
big oatmeal cookies and chocolate and white milk sold
during recess time. We were placed in the basement
along with basement quality teachers. It was some kind of battle
between us and the upstairs kids. They were somehow better than
us. We came from Kramer Street, the hood, one block full of
goochie-boys and other bullies and a few wild parents that fought
on weekends we saw as entertainment. Mr. Stith would say on a
slow night, “Let’s go sit on the porch and go to the movies.” If you
couldn’t get 50 cents to get in the Atlas, you just went outside on a
hot Friday eve in summer and got all the action you needed. Selling
oatmeal cookies wasn’t nothing.
We had ourselves and we knew who we were. Especially when our
basement teachers told us how to stay out of jail and taught us to sing
at our graduation, “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder”. Oh yeah. We
were something then. We made all the teachers cry and hug us and
tell us how great we were.
It was ten times better than selling cookies made of oatmeal.
Tracy Ann Johnson is a wife, mother, grandmother and first generation Washingtonian. She resides in Upper Marlboro, Maryland and is a retired educator, currently teaching at a community college. Tracy loves reading, writing and teaching all types of literature as well as experimenting with poetry, micro-drama, short stories and flash fiction.
See more of her work in 7.3