Friday, April 11, 2008


Most people remember the first time they were attracted to someone of the opposite sex. For me it happened in kindergarten class.

I started school at Vista Heights Public School. The year was 1978. We had this gigantic kindergarten class. The class was divided into two groups in one room, with roughly the same number of kids in each group. The school was introducing a French Immersion program that year beginning with our class. The kids learning English were on the one side of the class, while the kids taking French Immersion were on the other side. I was in the French Immersion program.

The following year the school added grade 1 French Immersion, then the next year they added grade 2. They kept adding grade levels as our class progressed, so that we had roughly the same group of students year after year.

Each student did not have a desk of their own in kindergarten. We sat cross legged on a section of the class with carpeting when the teacher wanted to teach us things or read us stories.

In the middle of the room were two sets of desks that formed the boundary between the French side and the English side. Instead of chairs, there were bar stools at those desks we would sit on whenever we wanted to paint.

Painting meant we had to wear smocks so we wouldn’t get paint on our clothes. The smocks we had were a lot like hospital gowns made with plastic. They had sleeves in the front and tie-up strings in the back.

I remember there was this girl in my kindergarten class that was so cute. She had big cheeks that you just wanted to pinch. One day we had tied each other up in those smocks and we were painting together. She was sitting on my left. I had trouble tying things at that age and her smock kept coming undone.

As we were painting together she wanted to change colors so she needed a new paint brush. The paint brushes were in a tin can that had the lid cut off in a way that left no sharp edges. The can was sitting in the middle of the table.

Instead of reaching out, picking up the can and pulling it in close so she could pick out a brush, this little vixen had stood up out of her bar stool and was leaning over the table. She had this incredibly serious look on her face as she picked through the can of paint brushes. She was determined to find exactly the right one.

As she stood there, the ties at the back of her smock came undone, so that only the tie around the back of her neck was holding it on. I just sat on my stool watching. I was all out staring at her.

That serious look on her face really got my attention. What got my attention even more was just how straight her back was. If you had taken two ends of a ruler, put one on the small of her back, the other on the back of her shoulder, they would have lined up perfectly.

I sat there trembling, because I had this urge to reach out with my left hand and start rubbing her back. She picked through that can of paint brushes for a very long time. I kept hoping she would sit down before I acted on impulse. She just kept leaning over the table with that serious look.

When she finally did take a brush and sit down, I was relieved. She started to fumble with her smock so I got up off my stool and retied it for her. I often wondered after that what she would have done if I had started to rub her back.

After that thing with the paint brushes, all I ever wanted to do was find that girl and play house. On our side of the room there was a play area. The play area had these wooden blocks and some oversized cardboard bricks with a red interlocking brick design painted on them. The two of us would make a square outline on the floor with those blocks and those bricks and we would sit in the middle and play house.

Eventually the teacher would come and say, “Okay class, it’s time to learn the alphabet.”

I would just sit there on the floor pouting. “Alphabet? I don’t wanna learn alphabet. I want to pay house!”

I never wanted to learn anything in school. I just wanted to find that girl and play house.

Back Row from Left to Right: 1. Phil Barrett, 2. not sure, 3. Robert Dykeman, 4. Richard Caddoo, 5. myself, 6. Steven Pearson, 7. Jason Ashton, 8. Remi Kaiserman, 9. Chris Cummins, 10. Larry
Front Row from Left to Right: 1. Chris Stopa, 2. Chris Geisler, 3. Holly Presley, 4. Neve Campbell, 5. Amanda Knaggs, 6. Mary Heisler, 7. Suzy Merk, 8. Sammy Maltby, 9. Jillian Scudamore, 10. Cassandra Raponant, 11. David Miller