# 25. First day of school blues. “Get through it,” say Mimi and Pop. I’ve got a Way-Back Seat memory of other situations where I used to get through hard stuff.
School started today, sad to say. We registered last week and got a tour. The principal showed our two families around. Mimi, Pop, Zia (we’re all calling her that now), Oliver, me, Clyde and Sam. The principal walks backwards while she faces us and talks, like a college kid giving a tour. She carries a walkie-talkie; I don’t know why we didn’t laugh about this, but, well, we weren’t seeing the silly side of things. She wore a shoulder pad suit and high high heels; I have never had an authority figure who wears such.
This is a K-12 school. I’m worried. The twins will be out of my sight in the Lower School wing; how will they find me if there’s trouble? I’m in the Middle School. Oliver is part-time in the Upper School and part-time down the street at the vocational-agriculture school. I’m not sure why he’s so far ahead of me when he’s not that much older.
The new school is the one Dad went to, so that’s good. It’s had a few addition, solar panels, and community garden plots since then but it’s still has one of each grade except for the two small kindergarten.
My teacher must have told my classmates about Mom and Dad; everyone’s quiet and acting careful like they’re tiptoeing on glass, even though they’re not. Kids go silent when I come near.
Mimi and Pop told me this new-school startup is something I just have to Get Through.
It’s like the time I hiked with Mom and Dad to the meadow side of the Rock River Spillway. (We wanted to see the stone fish ladder–another story; later, though). To get there, we walk through woods loaded with pricker bushes. When a thorny tangle blocks the way, Dad or Mom hold the branches up one at a time with as few fingers as possible. Clyde and Sam scoot underneath; we three big people bend over and follow. No one gets snagged, it just takes a looooong time to get to the fun part of the hike where the water rushes over sparkly rocks and the meadow is full of flowers. (And the fish ladder and little pools full of little fish who bypassed the mill!! But, like I said, later for this.)
We expected pricker bushes or obstacles of some sort on our hikes, and I guess Mimi and Pop think I should expect thorny stuff at school, too.
The comparison isn’t exactly the same.
I’m alone at school; no big Dad or Mom to protect me from the thorns.
I read that Paul Revere used the thorny Hawthorn tree branch as a back scratcher. I DOUBT this is true though, because, as you describe, just walking amidst thorny bushes and trees is perilous. (I use heavy gloves and goggles when I prune my Hawthorn tree!! And I’m not a whimp.)
Perilous: Like life can be. Right?
I can picture your Mom and Dad easing the way on your hike to the stone fish ladder. Do you you think, though, that Mimi and Pop KNOW you can handle the new school without help? I have the feeling that “they’ve got your back” as they say in the movies. I’ll learn more about them as you write more entries, but so far they seem pretty nice; terrific in fact. Stay brave, dear Isabel Scheherazade! (You ARE living up to your middle name, BTW)
We DID walk through Hawthorn trees, and it was weird. Beautiful blossoms and scary-looking thorns. Leaves and flowers that Mom said could be made into medicines, but thorn-scratches that are dangerous. Dad cut a small branch that was very pretty and he had us take a sniff of the cut part. It smelled like rotting meat. So good and bad in the same tree. “Hawthorns are contradictory, Isabel,” says Mom. “Like life.” I get that the TREE is contradictory, but I don’t get the “like life” part. Yet.
PS Just had a thought about the “like life” thing. (It’s the writing that’s bringing this idea up for me.) Maybe I’m like the Hawthorn tree? I mean, I want revenge and at the same time I CAN be nice, like to Clyde or Sam or Mimi and Pop? I’ll think on this some more.