I went to first grade at Menger Elementary School in Corpus Christi, Texas. It was my first exposure to life outside the home, by myself, with no parents or siblings there to keep me from harm.
There’s very little I remember about that first year of school, but I have vague recollections of getting into a fight with a sixth-grader who, if memory serves me, was much smaller than most other sixth-graders. What gave rise to the fight I don’t know, but I suspect it had something to do with whose turn it was to use playground equipment, becauwse the fight took place outside, on the playground. My guess is that the kid was too small to stand his ground with kids his own age, so he picked someone smaller. And I was the one.
Or I may have instigated the battle; it may have been me who decided I could take on an older kid who was smaller than the other ones; I may have decided to assert my alpha malehood against an easy target.
Whatever it was, a fight broke out between us and I got the upper hand. My teacher, Mrs. Corbett, intervened and dragged me away from the turmoil. She told my mother I had been beating up another kid, a much older kid. I was chastised about the event, I think, but I have very dim memories of pride, both within myself and from others, that I stood up to an older kid. It’s a bit troubling, the sense that there was pride in the mix, with regard to me getting into a fight.
I wish I remembered more about this one little episode in my first year of school. The fact that I remember it at all must mean it had a lifelong impact on my psyche, but lacking a proper memory of the details of the event, I don’t know just what the impact has been.
If the impactful moments of one’s life are indelibly etched in one’s memories, it would be so incredibly interesting to dredge up those memories and experience them, analyze them, and attempt to understand how the events of one’s life shaped future perceptions and experiences.