I attended Senior Kindergarten in the 1989/1990 school year at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Elementary School in Woodbridge, Ontario. My teacher was Ms. Eager(r?) and it was half days in the afternoon. Most mornings I would be woken up early and dressed by my step-father, then fed and packed into the car with my siblings and Mom for the 1+ hour drive to Woodbridge where my Mom’s parents lived, where my school was located, and where my step-father ran his business.
Some mornings we would spend at my stepdad’s office before being driven to school. These mornings were not my favorite as my stepdad’s—Brad’s—office wasn’t very fun. The best mornings were the ones where he’d drop me at my grandparent’s house. We (my sister, Tanya…in JK) would have tea and cookies while watching TV—Sesame Street, The Umbrella Tree, Fred Penner’s Place, The Elephant Show, etc. My uncle was still living at home and not working so we’d play with him, or at least wake his ass up when we got there. At lunch my grandmother (Nonna, or ‘Nana’) would make fresh cut fries, deep frying them in a pan and Tanya and I would eat them while watching The Flintstones before my Nonno drove us to school.
Senior kindergarten was fun. I got along with everyone and had a crush on a girl named Nadia. There was a water-filled table to play at, and Ms. E would dissolve tissue paper in the water to make it change color. There was also sand-filled table and I loved playing in both of them. It was playing in these water and sand tables that I first played with Ninja Turtle action figures.
This was around the time that Dick Tracy came out in theatres with Warren Beatty and McDonald’s had a a scratch and win contest based on the movie. One time I had a scratch ticket from McD’s in that classroom.
I had a friend named Joseph who was absent one Monday and I was told that he had stuck a popcorn kernel in his ear and it had exploded. We were instructed not to do that. Next time I saw Joseph, I looked in his ear and swore I saw a bit of kernel shell.
Ms. E yelled at me one time for throwing a tantrum and screaming when someone else grabbed some item that I wanted at the water table. I was pretty shocked.
We had French and Italian classes every day and our own private outdoor play area away from the grade 1-8 kids.
My younger sister Tanya was next door in JK and my older (step-)brother Alex was in grade 2 a few doors down. After school was done, all three of us would get picked up by my uncle in his blue Camaro (the sickest car in the world I thought at the time) or my Nonno in his maroon Chrysler. We would watch cartoons and have snacks and my Nana would make dinner which we would all have together—my mother, Tess, and Brad would come form his office after work. Mom had given birth to Tarah in March of 89, so she didn’t often stay home over an hour away in the country with no vehicle and phone (phone lines were laid in late ’91).
At dinner we kids would be given a little of my grandfather’s wine mixed with ginger ale and I always sat next to my grandfather on his left side.
I was scared of the film, Batman. I saw my dad every other weekend or so and in that same year (’89) he got married to my stepmother, Anita.
I played around with words in my head—phonetically, as I wasn’t reading so much yet—and would swap consonants and letters around. Over time this became a compulsive game I’d play in my head which lasted years—the compulsion side of it that is.