Q is for Quetzocoatl.

Quetzocoatl went to elementary school with me for several years - I'm thinking maybe 1st through 3rd grade. We used to think it was hilarious that his whole name had more letters than the standardized test had bubbles to fill.

I am reminded of Quetzocoatl when I think about how fortunate I was to attend a small, Catholic school. We honestly had no idea that we were supposed to notice one another's differences. I didn't pay attention to the fact that Quetzocoatl was Mexican, I just knew he could run really fast. Megna, who was Hindu, had a two story house and a mom that wore a dot in the middle of her forehead. I never met Nicky's dad, but she had his African American hair.... I remember watching in amazement that she had to streeeeeetch a ponytail holder to get it to go around her hair more than once. (It took about 5 times to hold my fine, straight hair!) In retrospect, I'm pretty sure that Joey's family came from "the other side of the tracks," but he was the cutest boy in the class so nobody cared. I don't know if any of these kids paid tuition... If they did, it wasn't much. I wonder if anyone in the school paid the actual full price. I don't know where most of them are today, but I hope they remember elementary school as fondly as I do. I hope they remember that for a brief moment in time, we lived in a colorblind bubble.      

All I know is when I got to public school in the 7th grade and heard a kid use the "n" word, I was shocked. In theory, I knew what the word was, and what it meant, but I didn't know that people actually used it in a negative way to speak badly of others. It felt dirty and wrong when I heard it then, and it feels dirty and wrong when I hear it now. Nothing in particular inspired this post... There was no event that spurred my emotion. Sometimes I just wish that everyone could have been in my 2nd grade classroom, wearing a blue plaid shirt and learning to love one another. Seems like the world would be a much nicer place.


Knitrageous said...

There was a little boy named Cliffee in my first grade class. He didn't stand for the pledge of allegiance. He stuck his finger in the classroom hamster cage and the hamster bit him. It probably wasn't because he wouldn't stand for the pledge.

sarahsmile3 said...

I also remember Uma from Africa and Mai from Viet Nam. Some of my favorite memories are from those days at SJN.
We were multicultural before it was cool.

Pat said...

I can picture all those kids you named. Megna's mom was a doctor, but not practicing in the US, so she decorated cakes. Imagine--a surgeon decorating cakes! Fond memories of all.