I spent two different first grades in two different schools. As mentioned, Brenmar Elemtary and Ravenworth.
The reason was because I got held back after the first year after the first grade. Don’t remember much about Kindergarden or pre-school. I have some very strange memories of rainy days, girls, me clutching a Federal Express styrofoam airliner model that my Dad gave me. Have no idea from where or how but I think it had something to do with his work. He was a Word Processor early on, (yep!) and then later a Real Estate agent. I eventually crushed it I think, the airplane, after taking it with me to school too many times. I always hated the sound of crushing styrofoam. Always made me sad.
In terms of school, I had probably what was dyslexia, or something akin to it, but I was diagnosed ‘Reading Disabled,’ and therefore (I believe) LD, or ‘Learning Disabled.’ Ironically enough, I would later be put into GT, or Gifted and Talented (6th grade) and learn the difference between what boiled down to smart people and the rest. Yes, I can say that with a good bit of confidence. That’s later.
Mrs. Arola was my first grade teacher at Brennmar, Mrs. Shermetzler my second and first grade teacher at Ravensworth. All I remember from Shermetzler was that she didn’t like me standing out too much. One day I wore a white glove to class and even stretched it out in front of the kids one morning upon receiving a paper. When it met my white soft velvet gloved hand, Shermetzler said: “What’s with the glove?” I have no idea what I said back. Probably nothing. Felt ashamed. I always took everything WAY too seriously. Columbine shooter kind of geek kid in his infancy I suppose. Eh, those stupid Columbine kids are nothing, fuck em, I grew up on Hitler movies.
My father, interestingly enough, for bettwe or for worse (though we all know it’s for the better 😉 had a very interesting and dichotomous infatuation with ‘The Fuhrer.’
Well, our Fuhrer, Der Fuhrer. Okay. Well, anyway, we weren’t anti-semitic, at all. And I am not one to this day. Some of the most influential people in my life were Jews, and I have no problem with this. Tops Christians anyday.
Despite this, right along with it was my Dad’s big World War II interests coming out of the 1960’s Nuremburg trials. They are quite interesting indeed. My Dad’s Dad was a Colonel in the U.S. Army coming out of WW2 himself. So I can definitely see where the interest path lies to Hitler and the War. My Dad’s most notorious Hitler story from his youth was the time he decided to hang a swastika flag outside his room in his house I beleive on Long Pine Drive, Virginia. It was discovered by The Colenel’s boss I beleive when THE GENERAL came to dinner one night. Great. Must have made em wonder. Eh, oh well, nothing was said I don’t think until after the meal I bet.
Hitler, like the Columbine kids, was confused, creative, and angry at a depression filled country where you could never pay for coffee upon ordering coffee, but only upon leaving the shop cause inflation was so rapid that even 15 minutes not only could change the price, but did, basically every time I think. In those days. 30’s.
It wasn’t just Hitler. My parents, both of them, good ol’ liberals. I didn’t end up that way, but hey, they can’t be perfect right? Heh. Anyway, funny enough, Hitler was my introduction aside from my Dad into the life and mind of the Artist in terms of what I consider now to be genetics. Think Hannibal and his cell of fine cutlured items, his paintings, his wish to peer out a window. I can hear Anthony Hopkins doing Lector now…
“I want a view with water…” Chilling voice. So calm, so rational, yet, underneath…
My Dad yelled. A lot. Spontaneously in terms of our point of view. Perhaps that made for a metaphysics of constant alertness for me. I would later read this was similar for the Vienna based artist as well. 😉
The Themes were this: The relationship of, the fine lines between civility and barbarism, dark genius and altruism. Dynamism vs. Statis identity. As McLuhan says, “The Nazi is tribal.”
I grew up thinking of life on epic terms in the way that an Artist faces the world, and namely the Beurocrat. “Yes, the beaurocrat with his nice tidy desk, doesn’t know what to make of the Artist and his vivi-sectional (living section) view of life…” -Marshall McLuhan
The story of the Artist is something I began to consider myself with reluctance and at every turn learned that ignoring this would be to my detriment. That’s why I was never pretentious in reality, an Artist is what I figured out who I was.
My mom played into this. I think Ruth Coombs (maiden name) thought I was some sort of Pariah. I swear. That woman treated me like a Price. Spoiled me, oh yeah. It’s a confidence that never goes away. Steve Jobs, I am learning recently was similar that way with, I forget, but I think it was his mom.
Tangent to this: Two of my closest friends would be El Salvadorian and I would learn that there were other mothers like mine, who made their sons into what was beyond ‘momma’s boys.’ I think it might have been the Jewish influence in my family. From my mom. Maybe somewhere down the line the value of knowledge was passed on.