Jumping In

This reminds me of the day, many years ago, when I was a senior about to graduate from Brooklyn College. The only thing standing between me and my diploma was the swimming test. Yes, you had to be able to swim to graduate from the City University of New York in those days. These days, you don’t even have to be able to read!

So I’m standing on the edge, down at the far end of the pool, looking out over 8-foot deep water and calculating that at 5’4″, I’m surely going to die within about 60 seconds after I hit. But I had no choice, so I took the biggest breath I could, and said to myself “screw it” and jumped in the water.

And somehow, even though I had never learned to swim as a kid, and had only spent a few weeks splashing around in the shallow end during this required swimming course, I surfaced, I swam, I passed, and I graduated. And then I lived happily ever after — well, happily for the most part, and not forever yet, since I’m still here and have no idea what may be around the next corner, which is why I’m starting this blog. You’ve got to keep learning new things or you’ll sink to the bottom.

But today, I feel like I’m back at the edge of the pool, since I’ve never done a Blog before, and everybody else in the world seems to be so much better at computer stuff than I am. Anyway, SCREW IT! … here I go.

HAH! The water feels good, and if I just keep moving, it’s going to be fine.

So let us begin — there’s so much to talk about.

Back about as far as I can remember, I liked to write. Down in the basement of the house in Brooklyn where I grew up, on a bookshelf filled with stuff nobody ever looks at any more, I found my third grade notebook; one of those black and whites with the word COMPOSITIONS on the cover. I brought that notebook back home to California, and have kept it like a treasure. I guess it is, to me.

I was 8. Every day, we had to write something called Daily Report. It didn’t matter what it was — it could be a short story, a poem, commentary on something — but we had to write. Here are a couple of excerpts.

DAILY REPORT

Today is Mon. Mar. 8, 1954. Today was the first time in my life that my mother let me come to school all by myself. I brought my girl friend with me. I am not supposed to come to school myself until I am 9 years old.

My mommy bought me new crayons, and my aunt bought my sister and I coloring books. My sister is sick in bed with the measles. She does not have crayons so she uses mine. THE END

I guess “by myself” means without Mommy. The girlfriend didn’t count as a person. This report was followed by an illustration of a girl in a green robe with red spots all over her hands and face. Why I drew her with blond hair, when my sister’s hair is black, is beyond me.

DAILY REPORT

Today, May 21, 1954, is the very last day that any child is going to spoil our class and make us all be punished. The next time any child does spoil our class he or she will be sent to the office and have his or her mother come up to school. It is not fair for any one child to be so selfish.

How’s THAT for 8-year-old clarity?

Here is the last one (and then I will stop, because maybe it’s just ME that loves these.)

IF I WERE CINDERELLA

If I were Cinderella I’d be so sweet,
If I were Cinderella, a prince I’d meet.
If I were Cinderella, I’d hear a chime,
And that would mean, to go it was time.
They tried to wear the tiny shoe
But it didn’t fit them, and it won’t fit YOU.
Cinderella was married then,
Now she lives in a palace and has children ten.

Despite the little tantrum in the middle there, about how your feet are probably just as big as the two ugly stepsisters’, I got an “A” on that one.

Now that I think of it, my Daily Report book was a lot like Blogging. Imagine that!

So from these humble beginnings…

I’ll be back before you know it, sharing more stuff. Until then…

judyrose June 28, 2006

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Published in: on June 28, 2006 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment