This was taken after lunch and recess. Miami, Florida is hot in September and we had been running all over the playground. You can see my skin is flushed and my uniform a little wilted from the humidity.
I used to use bobby pins to hold the sides of my hair back. Two on either side of my head in a criss-cross. This way, I was pretty sure they would stay put. My teacher had combed my hair and put my banges to the side because it was so warm.
Our teacher, was young, slender and sexy. I remember she always had different colored shoes that perfectly matched her outfits. She was a wonderful teacher.
Sometimes if we had been naughty, the fourth grade Sister would spank the knuckles on the tops of our hands using her ruler. Ouch… That smarts! We did try to behave.
I recall no air conditioners. But we did have two doors. And windows, usually kept open for a breeze that often made it’s appearance. We were about ten miles from the Atlantic Ocean.
The school and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church is located in Hialeah, FL. The church is considered one of the most beautiful churches in the entire state. If you search the city and state, you can see a map of it’s location.
Some of my readers might ask why in the heck did I post my third grade photograph? It’s like this.
Eleven years ago, I received a letter with a return address of Best Friends. It was white with light blue bordering the outer edges. It did not appear to be junk mail. Curiosity got the better of me so I opened the letter. I was a bit shocked by the contents. The reuniting friends company were forwarding a letter from someone wishing to make contact. Who in the world, I wondered.
Inside was a letter from Carlos. Who’s Carlos, you might ask. Carlos was one of my happiest playmates from third grade. Wow…I couldn’t believe he had tracked me down, with the help of Best Friends, plus he wanted to see what had become of his playground friend. He wrote that he remembered how we were forever chasing one another around the playground. He asked if I would send him a third grade photo.
A wave of memories flooded my brain. Released is more like it. I stared off into the distant past to see a foggy parking lot with markings on the ground to indicate different games and children running, shouting, laughing…running and playing. I was transported back to the days of my delightful youth. Oh my.
At the same time as the arrival of that letter, a friend of mine was dying. So I placed the letter in a safe cupboard to get back to Carlos a little later.
This was a difficult time for my friend Machere, who was in hospital suffering with lung cancer. She once told me she smoked one pack of cigarettes in college but never smoked again. Really strange, but back then we were just really starting to hear about the true effects of second hand smoke. She was a lovely lady.
Needless to say, I didn’t get back to Carlos, my third grade buddy, but every now and again, I would think about the fun we had and wonder how he was doing. That letter was never answered. Except I did respond that it was fine for him to contact me.
About nineteen months later, around Christmas time, I received a card with a photograph inside. It slipped out of the card and into my hand. It was a photo of a wedding couple at their reception. As I studied their pose, next to their wedding cake, I searched their gorgeous faces and wondered who they were. When I turned it over, I saw that Carlos and Debbie had gotten married about six months beforehand. Fantastic!
Carlos and Debbie. Oh boy. I remember him writing in his letter that he had seen Debbie, also from our third grade class. They ended up married and what a striking couple. My third grade friends. I was grinning from ear to ear.
Their photo is housed inside a gold picture frame, which I placed on my desk, next to my computer. They have held this position for almost a decade. They made such a favorable impression on me that I call them my Guardian Angels. Why not? One should be able to choose one’s very own Guardian Angels…they are my number one choice.
Although we have spoken over the years and send the occasional E-mails, I never sent him the photograph of me in the third grade. I located it a few years ago and like one of those things you say you’re going to do, but don’t, I failed to keep my word. I apologize. Procrastination is alive and well in my little world.
So to make it up to you, Carlos…Here I am in my eight year old glory. My eighth birthday was my favorite, but that is another story.
After posting this I will write to Carlos and tell him to come and take a look. At least my front teeth had already presented themselves.
One more thing. A very heartfelt and Belated Happy Birthday To You Carlos. I know it was two weeks ago…but better late than never.