I guess my mother had a hard time finding employment when she and my father divorced. She had a high school diploma and 13 years of marriage under her belt. What did that qualify her for? Absolutely nothing. She had a friend though. Someone she knew long ago, maybe from junior high or something. And her friend’s mother owned a daycare center. Had for years. She was a crazy old lady and really strict and strange, but she gave my mother a job. So we moved to Jonesboro to live near my mother’s friend and close enough for my mother’s new job in nearby Riverdale.
We lived in another apartment. I can’t remember when we moved there exactly, but we were already there when Christmas rolled around. At the beginning, my mother enrolled me in the elementary school (North Jonesboro Elementary) close to our apartment. I have no idea how long I went there, but it seems like it was only a month or so. I now I was already at the newer new school at Christmas. She transferred me to the elementary school two blocks from her job. So, three schools in third grade. loads of fun.
After school, I went on a little bus to the daycare center. Everyday I spent my afternoons there. My sister was there all day long. I remember the crazy old lady who ran the place and how we had to call her Granny even though she wasn’t our grandmother and didn’t seem to really like us. We played a lot with the kids of my mother’s friend, too. They didn’t really like us either, but we didn’t like them back, so there.
I celebrated my 9th birthday living here. My mother invited her sisters and people like that over. I didn’t have a “kid” party. My aunt’s friend brought me a bouquet of flowers. It was a unique experience for me. It was the first time I ever got flowers. I remember equating it with that Neil Diamond/ Barbra Streisand song.
I started acting up in school while we lived here. I can’t remember anything in particular that I did. I think most of it was at the third school, Riverdale Elementary. I guess I must have mouthed off to my teacher or something. I remember really really not liking her. Her name was Ms. Thornton. She had really long straight black hair and I believed she was a witch. To this day, I have only had bad experiences with women who have long straight black hair. I guess they are all witches. My parents had a really strict policy about being the only ones allowed to discipline their own children. I know my grandmothers got seriously chewed out if they spanked us. I spent a lot of time in time-outs at my grandparent’s houses. So, back then corporal punishment was all the rage in school. But the school knew they weren’t allowed to spank me. So at least one time they called my mother at work and had her come to the school and spank me herself in the Principal’s office. I really wish I remembered what I did to earn that one.
By summertime, my parents were “seeing each other”. I guess they were lonely and probably desperate. They didn’t either of them have a big social circle. Neither of them had an easy time making friends or meeting people. By the time school started again, we had moved back to Union City into our same old duplex.