After the disaster that was 4th grade public school, my parents thought “Hey! Let’s roll the dice on Christian school next year.” Or at least it must have been something along those lines, because there I was on the first day of fifth grade in Miss Taylor’s class, wearing a long, itchy dress and socks with lace.
The list of required school supplies each kid needed for class included an art smock. My mother took one of my father’s big white button down shirts, and we painted little horses on the collar to spruce it up. When I got out my “smock” in class, everyone stared. Everyone else had some kind of actual apron type smock. Miss Taylor definitely turned up her nose. I felt dumb, but at least my paint shirt had pretty drawings on it while everyone else’s smocks were plain.
In the classroom, there were acronyms decorating the bulletin boards. For the uninitiated, Christians love a good acronym. They use them in Sunday school a lot, and sometimes you get Smarties if you commit them to memory. In school you get nothing.
or FROG! Get it?
or TGIF! Do you still get it?
or GAP! Do these make you want to grind your teeth to nubs yet? Just me?
No, “TMMWTS” is not a word. I bet you checked and hoped it would be. Were you expecting me to come up with one? That would mean I enjoy acronyms. Which I don’t. You get the point.
I would like to take a moment to share that when I looked for a good image to use here, all I found were more Christian acronyms. It’s like the internet slapped my across the face and said, you fool! You’ve brought this upon yourself!
I remember having to memorize and recite the Preamble. I’ve always done well with vocal repetition, and I was confident about that assignment. When it came down to the actual moment, I froze because I was so afraid of talking in front of the entire class. Frustrated, I gave up and sat back down. Miss Taylor scolded me for giving up and told me eventually I would have to do it, and I remember fighting back tears at my desk. A real winner, that Miss Taylor.
The straw that broke the Christian school’s proverbial back was when I brought my copy of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe as my free time reading book. Miss Taylor, who is by now clearly my favorite person, confiscated my beloved Aslan, because for some reason they didn’t allow C.S. Lewis. NO C.S. LEWIS. This made no sense to Fifth Grade Anna and even less sense to me now. Are you kidding with this shit, Miss Taylor? You can take that and S, H, O, V, E it. I guess we all know whose face good ol Clive and I might not be seeing amongst the group when we all get whisked away at the end of the world to Aslan’s Country AKA Heaven. Too harsh? Good thing Aslan gets to judge, not me, Miss Taylor! Get wrecked! And if you ARE there, I’m not sharing my All You Can Eat Heaven Smarties with you. And I feel like Aslan will be okay with that.
I’m not sure if the book incident was ultimately what made my parents pull me back out of school, but they were definitely upset. If it was more complicated than that, they didn’t tell me. Back to homeschooling we went, and it stayed that way until I was 18.