They called all of the first, second and third graders into the hall and made us stand in lines. Outside, it was black as night and the storm winds buffeted the cheap plastic panes in the windows. The teachers were using their very quiet, very stern voices, the ones that scared us even more than their yelling voices.
When we were all arranged and heads had been counted, we marched down the hall, out through a breezeway that was a cacophony from my nightmares, and into the old red brick and tile middle school.
Safely inside, we lined up again. This time against lockers taller than we were. I was at one end of my line. Being both the tallest and having a last name that started with a W, I was used to this sort of thing.
But, as they told us to kneel down, with our hands crossed over the back of our heads, facing the lockers, I wasn’t used to the eighth graders that lined up next to me.
Or the teenage girl, bigger than I in every way, crying and sweating. The liquid pooling on the floor under her head. This was all new to me.
This one is straight biographical. The school in question is Holy Rosary, where I attended for first through eighth grade. For a while, I was petrified of storms. I’m fine with them now, even enjoy them. Especially the wind beforehand.