The first day of Kindergarten was traumatic–not so much the going, as the coming home. My baby brother, diagnosed with spinal meningitis, was up at the hospital; my parents were by his side. So family and friends stepped in to care for me. The plan for that first day was for me to get off the bus at the long dirt drive that led to “Micken” Hawkins–Mrs. Hawkins being the elderly lady who lived down the street.
It’s all a blur from there, literally. I simply recall looking out the smudged window of that bus to see my house blur by. With that, I did the only thing for a shy, 5 year-old to do . . . I slid down in the seat, wishing for a cloak of invisibility.
It didn’t work.
The bus driver finished dropping off the elementary kids and promptly drove to his next stop–High School. Waiting for the release bell, he walked the aisle, looking for things left behind. Boy, did he find something–mainly, a small, strawberry blond. He had no choice but to take me along for the ride, dropping me off at my school, last.
Eyes wide, I reported the whole experience to my mom–they were all drunk!
What can I say? I didn’t hang much with teenagers. As a matter of fact, the only high school students I “knew” were those from Welcome Back, Kotter.
Naturally, with the death of Robert Hegyes, I’ve thought a lot of that show in the last few days. As with most things from that decade I remember only bits and pieces–Horshack’s whiny voice (and goofy laugh), Epstein’s notes, Barbarino’s dance, Washington’s swagger. Being a child, I had no idea the controversy surrounding the show; I didn’t know there was an uproar over delinquent kids, in a racially integrated classroom.
What I did know, however, was you could always count on the sweathogs for shenanigans–and they always made me laugh. Even if the subject matter wasn’t necessarily funny. How could we forget Gimme some drugs, gimme some drugs, gimme some drugs? Sure, it made us laugh at a very serious topic; but in doing so, it highlighted the ridiculousness of it all. And show that can pull that off, can’t be all bad . . . no matter how questionable the fashion.
So for those of you who remember, a trip down memory lane. For those of you who haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, this was the type of TV show we watched in the 70’s. It may explain a lot . . .