Sawdust, waxy crayons, and sweaty boys with Brylcreemed hair
A dank cloak room full of cubbies and hooks, battered metal lunch boxes all in a line
Sturdy clunky saddle shoes protect busy feet, sagging thin socks rimmed in lace
Legs cross Indian style on sleek waxed linoleum, hands fold, eyes straight, lips purse
Squeaky bottoms slip on polished wood chairs, teddy bear name plates taped to each desk
Peppermint paste sticks to chubby fingers
Cinnamon graham crackers dunk in miniature cartons of warm milk
Thick graphite pencils scribble on dittoed worksheets, the odor fading as they pass down the rows, pages still damp with a chemical smell
Slight whiff of teacher’s floral-scented perfume as she bends down to correct “borrows” and “carries”
Fat clumsy hands clutch stubby dull scissors jaggedly cutting stiff bright paper
Dusty chalk on an old green board, piles of yellow flakes billow out
Freshly mixed paint drips, powder and water bubbling thick in used cottage cheese containers
Flimsy pastel paper clipped to a towering easel awaits the first stroke from a clean brush
Stale chlorine rises as water leaks out of a rusted faucet, white powdered baking soda soap wet, hardens as it dries in lumps
Rough brown paper towels like compressed bark stick and tear as they wipe wet hands
Rainbow colors swirl into brown as they suck down the moldy drain
Smooth pages of glossy books, the plastic odor of a new doll
Dick, Jane and little Sally, baffling book people with their stilted dialogue and perfect mommy
George Washington Elementary School, a universe of possibilities

- Carol Schnaubelt