Walking hand in hand through the woods to Sherwood Elementary – just Mom and me – I stay in the playground, hanging by my knees against the cool, metal monkey bars; looking upside down at the grey, September sky, wondering what I’ve done to make Mrs. Paschua, my first grade teacher, want a meeting.
On our way home, Mom explains that they talked about the way I speak and why I might have troubles with certain sounds. Mrs. P. thought Mom might be the reason – perhaps a foreigner (with that foreign-sounding name). I giggle when Mom tells me how surprised my teacher was to discover that Mom – that we – are as alien as apple pie.
But I love the thought of someone thinking I’m different. It makes me feel special – a little exotic.
Sherwood Elementary thinks I’m special too. Enough to take me out of class each week to send me to speech therapy, where they work the entire year to make me sound just like everyone else.