In the spring of this year I tried downhill skiing for the first time. Our dad had a position fairly high up in ranks at his workplace, and enjoyed the benefit of a company-owned condo in Colorado. This condo would be shared among the executives a week at a time. My family would go to Colorado every year that they could. In years previous to this one, I would drive with the family to Council Bluffs, IA where my grandparents lived, and they would drop me off to stay with them for a week while they continued to Colorado. But THIS year I got to go with, and it was amaaaazing! First, let’s describe this condo. It was pretty much a mansion. It was a house tucked into a gorgeous neighborhood not more than a 10 minute bus ride from Vail. The house had at leastseven bedrooms and eight bathrooms. Because it could house so many, my parents often extended the invitation to other family members and close friends. The dining room had this massively long, mahogany table. Like the kind you see in movies with kings, feasting or throwing a party. The kind of table that is so long you can’t really talk to the person sitting at the other end of it. The condo of course was outfitted with a full-size, black grand piano. There was a sauna in the basement. There was a hot tub outside (although that was installed much later, toward the end of our time in Colorado) My room was always the one at the very tippy top of the house, on the third floor, and was accessed by a spiral staircase. Playing hide and seek here was pretty epic.
My parents put me in ski school the first couple of years. Ski school is basically skiing daycare for kids. My parents put me there to be with other kids at my same skill level and learn the basics. It was so fun. I had a total crush on my ski school instructor.
Starting 3rd Grade
I started 3rd grade. This school building used to be the town’s senior high, so we felt pretty sophisticated and grown-up going to school where all the big kids used to go.
My teacher was Mr. H. Mr. H was in his 40s I guess. I think he had glasses and he was balding. He was a really fun teacher.
We did a dental hygiene unit this year. Mr. H had a little play for all of us to act out for our parents. My mom was super generous and made a bunch of costumes for the play. They were simple costumes. I was “Pinky Red” and I was supposed to be playing like a red candy-type thing that you chew up after brushing to highlight any potential spots you might have missed on your teeth after you finish brushing. So my costume was naturally a red cape. One of the kids in the class was the “dirty tooth”, and they had like a speckled grey outfit to wear. My part was to take my cape off and lay it on the dirty tooth as a metaphor for what this chew tablet does. Clever. I also remember we had this really funny kid in class who played “Frank Fluoride”. He’d bound into the room like a superhero. He had a light-blue cape with a HUGE green letter “F” on it, and yell “There’s no need to fear! Frank Flouride is here!”
I had this huge eraser that I think I got as a souvenir or something. It was stupidly big. Like I think 6 inches L x 2.5 inches W and .5 inch T. One day I couldn’t find my eraser and discovered that one my classmates had taken it and cut it up into little pieces. I was so mad. I threw this huge fit, pushing desks around and just being a brat.
I used to get teased a lot because I was still sucking my thumb at this age. It’s something I would do unconsciously when I was thinking really hard, or not thinking at all (like while watching TV). This is the year I finally broke the habit.
We were still doing show and tell for class, at this age. I also remember doing a demonstration on condensation. I’m pretty sure it was my dad’s idea. I brought in a thermos of water that we boiled that morning, put it in a metal bowl and over it I held another bowl full of ice. You can see the little droplets start to form on the outside of the cold bowl. This is of course how rain is formed in the clouds.
My mom enrolled me in an after school care program for kids of working parents, which is where I met this super cool lady, Megan. She became a good friend of the family, because she’d baby sit for us quite a bit, and for multiple days at a time if my parents wanted to take off for a weekend or something. I remember that particular year Alanis Morrisette was really popular, and Megan and I would BLARE “Isn’t it ironic?” and “Hand in my Pocket” on her car stereo.
My Good Childhood Friends
My four best friends about this time were Amanda, Erica, Jenna and Samantha.
Amanda was cool, stylish and brazen. She did and said whatever she wanted, and I always admired that about her. I remember one year she was in this really bad accident where she was climbing a tree and she fell out of it. She was by herself and had to walk up to some random stranger’s house to call 911. She broke her arm bad, and she told me the bone had punctured her skin, and she was bleeding a lot. I visited her in the hospital afterward. She recovered just fine, but I remember for a while she had this crazy metal plate on the outside of her arm! After everything healed up, they took it off.
Erica was a shy and sweet person. She was the only other student my age with a hearing loss, so we saw each other a lot at our meetings with the hearing specialist. We also attended a few weekend camps that were tailored for other deaf and hard of hearing kids together.
Jenna was a year or two younger than me, and lived next door. We played a lot! We’d play dress up, with makeup, barbies, climb trees, pretend to be moms with our baby dolls, pretend to be indians, paint rocks, whatever.
Samantha was also shy and sweet. She had an identical twin sister, which I thought was fascinating. I remember one year I invited her to come along for my birthday trip to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. I had always wanted to go. It was magical.
Image Source: Massmo Relsig