I was in the backyard of this house I had never seen before when mom left me here this morning, now sitting at this long table with a bunch of other boys. Some were my age and some were a little younger. The girls were sitting at another long table next to ours, not because they had to, but that’s just where they wanted to sit I guess. The grownup women in charge had given us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut up pieces of apple, and milk in these small boxes for lunch for lunch. Those grownups said they were “teachers”, whatever those were, but they said things and did things like they were moms.
Mom said it was a “nursery school”, and before we got here this morning, I figured it would be some big building like that giant “school” down at the other end of our street from the park. Or like that “college” place where dad went which he also called a “school”. But instead it was just a regular house with a big sign in the front yard that I think had that “school” word on it.
I still wasn’t sure why I was here. I knew older kids like Danny and Ricky went to school, and my babysitter Margie went to that giant school down at the end of our street. When I asked Danny why he went to school, he said they taught you how to read, and how to write letters and words, and how to do numbers. Molly told me that Ricky said that if you didn’t go to school the special “school police” would come and put you in jail. And even though Ricky seemed to know everything, some of those things he “knew”, were wrong.
Mom hadn’t said anything about me HAVING to go. She said it would “give me a chance” to play with other kids and make new friends and it would get me “ready to go to regular school next year”. But I already had my friends, like Molly, Danny, Paul and Kenny. And I could already meet new friends in the park, like James. And this place wasn’t really big like the park. It was just a house and a backyard.
The house was different than our house. More like Molly’s because it had a top part that you had to go up the stairs to get to, but kids weren’t supposed to go up there. It had a kitchen, but you couldn’t go in there either. None of the rooms had beds. Some had tables and chairs where you could draw or paint or make things. And a couple rooms had just one of those “rug” things on the floor, like dad’s office in the basement or Molly’s house, where you could play with toys on the floor. They did have lots of toys. And the backyard had swings and a slide and this pretend fort around the big tree that was pretty neat. It also had this giant sidewalk that you could ride tricycles on. But the backyard also had a fence around it so you couldn’t go very far.
So inside the house or in the backyard, the grownup “teachers” were in charge, and it was hard to go anywhere where they weren’t watching you, listening to what you were saying, or even talking to you about what you were doing. In the basement at my house, I was often down there playing all by myself, or with Molly or one of my other friends. If dad was down there too, he was working in his office part of the basement. Or if mom was there she was washing clothes in the laundry part or doing chores and watching TV in the TV part of the basement. When I played in the backyard, sometimes mom would be working in the garden in the very back part of the yard, but usually I was there by myself or just with a friend. Mom or dad didn’t keep asking me what I was doing.
And in the park, either mom or dad would be sitting at a picnic table in the trees or mom would be lying on a blanket, where they could kind of see me but I was far away. In the park us kids were in charge, except maybe when those grownup “coaches” were in charge of a regular baseball game or giving kids balls to play with. The older kids would help you, or answer your questions, or tell you what you could and couldn’t do. Here there were no older kids to help you, only the grownups.
The kid sitting across from me was doing most of the talking. His name was Bobby.
“I don’t like peanut butter and jelly”, he said, while he kept chewing his sandwich.
“Then don’t eat it”, some other kid said.
Bobby shook his head. “Then I’ll starve. That girl over there got a sandwich with just peanut butter. It’s not fair!”
One of the grownups walked over behind Bobby. “Bobby”, she said, looking down at him, “The next time we do peanut butter and jelly for lunch I’ll make you a sandwich with just peanut butter.”
Bobby nodded. The grownup walked away to say something to a kid at the other end of our table.
Bobby looked at me and made a face that didn’t look like he was happy. Then he looked at the boy sitting next to him.
“Who’s this new kid”, he asked. I guessed he was asking about me.
“The teacher said his name was ‘Cooper’”, answered some other boy sitting on the other side of the boy who was sitting next to me.
“That’s not a regular name”, Bobby said to that other boy, then he glanced again at me.
“It’s my nickname”, I said to Bobby while he was still looking at me.
Bobby frowned. “Then what’s your real name?” he asked as he turned his head and looked me in the eyes.
“It’s Jonathan”, I said, answering his question, “But no one calls me that.”
A boy on the other side of me said, “My real name is William, but they call me Billy.”
Bobby stared at that boy for a minute, nodding. I could tell he was trying to figure something out.
“I saw you at the park”, he said. I nodded.
“Were you playing in the bushes with that girl?”
I froze. My eyes stayed looking at Bobby, but I felt the other boys around me looking at me. It wasn’t fair. Yeah I did play with Molly in the park in the bushes, or with other older girls sometimes playing “detective”, but I played a lot with boys in the park too. I had to say something or they might all think I had cooties. I was kind of scared of kids I didn’t know yet, especially boys. So I decided to pretend that I wasn’t playing with Molly.
“Nah”, I said, “She was just some strange girl that tries to play with boys.” I thought about what Molly would think if she heard me say that. She would be really mad.
Bobby shook his head and made a face like he had tasted something bad.
“I hate girls like that”, he said, giving a worried look at the tables where the girls were sitting and where the teacher was now. I nodded, still pretending that what I had just said was true.
“We should fight a war with the girls here”, he said, “A SECRET war so the girls and the teachers can’t figure it out.”
A couple of the boys around me said “yeah”, others nodded. Bobby looked at me again because I wasn’t saying anything, or even nodding anymore. I was just thinking that I didn’t want to be here, and hoping we were going to talk about something else other than girls and war.
The teacher who was in charge of lunch and had been talking to the girls at the other tables started to walk back over to our table.
“SHHH”, hissed Bobby, “Teacher coming… SECRET.” All the other boys got quiet and everybody, even Bobby, continued eating their sandwiches.
“Bobby”, the teacher said, coming up behind him and looking down at him with his mouthful and chewing, “We made you a sandwich with just peanut butter”. She was carrying a paper plate with a sandwich on it.
He looked at her with his mouth full of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
“You said you didn’t like the jelly”, the teacher said.
Not saying anything with his mouth still full, he turned his body and looked at her and opened his eyes wide and held his hands up in the air on either side of him and made a silly face.
“I guess it wasn’t the kind of jelly I hated”, he said with his mouth still full of food. The teacher did that laugh through her nose and shook her head. Bobby looked at all of us and rolled his eyes and made a different kind of silly face that the teacher couldn’t see, like he had really done it on purpose.
“So do you want it?” She held out the paper plate with the sandwich on it. He shook his head. She pushed her lips together.
“So what kind of jelly don’t you like?” she asked.
“I don’t know”, he said, wrinkling his nose, “The dark kind I guess.”
“You mean grape jelly?” she asked. He nodded.
“Okay”, said the teacher, “I will make a note of that.” She waved her finger in the air, “No grape jelly for Bobby!”
She held out the plate and looked at the rest of us. “Anybody want a second sandwich?” All of us shook our heads.
“Right”, said the teacher, and I could tell she was a little bit mad but trying not to look mad. She headed off to the other tables asking if anybody wanted it.
Bobby leaned in towards the table and turned his head to look to both sides of him and spoke quietly but fiercely. “Okay. The secret war starts NOW!”
“But what do we do?” one boy asked.
“We don’t talk to the girls or even look at them. And if they try to play with us we don’t let them” Bobby said, “And we tell all the other boys about the secret war but don’t let the teachers or the girls find out.”
All the boys around us were quiet. No one asked any more questions. I actually had never thought about a “secret war”, and thought it was a pretty interesting idea, though we shouldn’t fight it against the girls but against the grownups. We got up from the table and the teacher came around with a big brown “trash bag” and told us to put our plates and milk boxes in it. The main teacher came out and in a loud voice said it was “nap time”.
We all had to come inside and find a spot on the floor to lie down. The teachers had put these small rug things down everywhere for us to lie on. Those cover things were pulled down over all the windows so the rooms were kind of dark. At home I would usually take a nap sometime after lunch, but it was always when I wanted to and mom and dad never told me I had to, so I didn’t like the teachers telling us we had to do that. As all us kids crowded together back into the house, Bobby was behind me.
“Remember the secret war”, he said quietly but with a fierce voice, “Stay away from the girls”. I didn’t like him telling me what to do either. It’s not like he was some older kid who knew more and was telling you the best thing to do.
I watched the other kids quickly find spots to lie down, like maybe that was the spot where they always lay down. Bobby and a bunch of the other boys had filled up one of the rooms and there was just one spot left next to him, but I did not want to go in there. I didn’t want to be around Bobby. Even when he wasn’t talking it just didn’t feel good to be near him. A teacher was behind me.
“Cooper”, she said quietly, “Why don’t you take that spot there with the other boys.” She pointed at that spot next to Bobby. I didn’t know what to say but I could feel my head shaking and I just stood there. She put her hands on my shoulders and patted them, like that was supposed to make me do what she wanted.
“Sweetie”, she said, in that way that grownups did when they wanted to tell you what to do but didn’t want to sound fierce, “I know it’s your first day here and you’re just getting used to things, but every day after lunch all the children take a nap. You’ll be able to play again after just a little while.” She had her hands on my back and shoulder in a way that the only way I could move away from her was into that room with Bobby.
I heard the main teacher’s voice from somewhere behind me.
“Miss Karen”, she asked, “Does Cooper need some help finding a place for his nap?” I could hear her using her in charge voice. I wondered if I was going to be in trouble. I wondered if they might even spank me like dad had done that other day. Mom wasn’t around to tell them not to. I figured I better just go and lie down at that spot next to Bobby, so I did.
The teacher said to the main teacher, “It’s okay Mrs. Schumacher, we found a good spot.” A spot, but not a good one, I thought.
When the teacher, “Miss Karen”, had left the doorway, I could hear some of the boys whispering to each other, talking about the “war” with the girls. Bobby turned over on his rug and looked at me.
“Remember the war”, he said in a whisper. “That Cindy girl was trying to give me her cooties earlier. Yuck!” He made a fierce smile. “But we’ll fix her, and all the rest of them!”. He nodded at me like he knew I thought so too, though I didn’t. He turned back over away from me.
The in charge teacher appeared in the doorway. “Settle down boys. That’s good”, she said, then left. It got quieter, though I could hear a couple boys whispering still but could not figure out what they were saying.
What was this crazy place, I wondered. Why did mom and dad make me go here? Was it because I had been bad? Had Bobby and all these other kids here been bad too? Mom hadn’t said anything like that when she left me here this morning. She said that she thought I might like it, that she “hoped” I liked it. Maybe it was not that I had been bad, but that she wanted to spend more time with David. But mom didn’t have to spend MUCH time with me, except to tie my “damn” shoes or make me food I didn’t know how to make yet, like dinner. I could make my own cereal for breakfast, make a peanut butter or even a baloney sandwich for lunch, play by myself or with Molly or another friend. Mom and dad didn’t need to help me with that. Well dad had to go to the gravel pit place to get the dirt for my dirt pile. But that was only once.
As I was thinking all these things over and over in different ways as I lay on my little rug, I felt more and more like I wanted to cry. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt like crying. Mom said that it was okay to cry when you felt sad, that she did sometimes. Dad never cried, but I guess men weren’t supposed to, because they had to fight in wars. I guess it was okay for boys to cry, just sometimes, like if you fell down and scraped your knee or your elbow and it hurt bad, but only for a little bit until somebody told you you were okay. Molly never cried, at least I hadn’t seen her, even both times she jumped off the merry-go-round at the park and got blood on her knees and elbows.
Each time I felt like I wanted to cry I remembered that Bobby was lying next to me, and if he heard me cry, he would think I was some “sissy” kid with cooties. All the boys would go to war with me too.
I needed to figure out a way to get out of this place. To get mom and dad to just let me be at home like before. Maybe mom really thought this was a good place, but it really wasn’t.
It seemed like this “nap time” was never going to end, and I wondered if I could sneak out of the house somehow. I rolled off my little rug and got on my hands and knees. The boy next to me had his eyes closed and was quiet. Bobby on the other side of me had his back to me. I creeped forward on my hands and knees to the wall and then along the wall towards the door. I heard steps in the hallway outside the room and that “Miss Karen” teacher appeared in the doorway and looked down at me with a friendly face.
“Having trouble sleeping Cooper?” she asked, “It’s your first day so that’s to be expected, you’re not used to how we do things here.” The smile on her face turned into a frown. “Oh dear, what’s wrong? Do you miss your mom and dad?”
I looked up at her and I nodded. What I really missed was being in my own house and backyard where I could go wherever I wanted without grownups watching me all time. Or in the park, where if there was a boy like Bobby I could just go somewhere else where he wasn’t around to bother me. Maybe she would help me. She seemed like she wasn’t THAT old. She took my hand and I stood up and we walked down the hall and outside into the back yard.
“I saw you playing with Tinker Toys earlier. Do you like making things with Tinker Toys?”
I nodded, and figured I should say something so she didn’t think I was afraid to talk. “I like making spaceships and space machines.”
Now she nodded. “Wow”, she said, “I’d love to see some of the things you make. We usually keep the Tinker Toys inside, but would you like to sit at this table out here and play with them while I set up the backyard for the afternoon?”
I nodded again. I sat down at the table and she went back inside and brought out a big round tube with the “Tinker Toy” words on it. It was just like the ones I had at home. I opened the lid and pulled pieces out and started building a spaceship. I watched her clean up the tables and put some of the chairs on top of each other in this small house thing in the backyard.
Finally, all the other kids started coming outside. A girl noticed what I was building with the Tinker Toys and came over and sat next to me.
“Are you making rockets?”, she asked.
I nodded. “I’m making a bunch of spaceships that can be hooked together to make a space station.”
“Like Tom Swift did”, she said, and smiled. “Can I build some too and then we can hook them all together in space?” she asked.
I nodded again, though I thought that most girls other than Molly only did Nancy Drew stuff. She didn’t say anything more and went to work. There weren’t enough of the long purple pieces, so we decided that we had to build some of the spaceships smaller with green or even blue pieces. And there also weren’t enough of those flat pieces to have each rocket have four tail fins, so we decided to give them each only two so we could make more rockets.
Some boy came up and stared at us. “You’re not supposed to play with Tinker Toys outside”, he said.
“Why not?” asked the girl, “You’re not in charge!” she said fiercely.
“You’re not supposed to” he said, “Teacher said. I don’t want you to get in trouble, that’s all.”
“Okay”, the girl said, her voice less fierce.
The main teacher, Mrs Schumacher, came up behind the boy and put her hands on his shoulders and patted them.
“You’re right Bradley”, she said, “We normally don’t take the Tinker Toys outdoors. But this is Cooper’s first day and Miss Karen said he had trouble taking a nap so she gave him something to play with until nap time was done. But the room inside where we play with the Tinker Toys had children sleeping so we let him play with them outside just until nap time was over.”
Bradley wrinkled his nose and nodded.
“So Marta and Cooper”, the main teacher said, picking up the pieces we had not used yet and putting them back in the tube, “Can you two take all these things you’ve made inside to the table in the Blue Room?”
Marta rolled her eyes and said “Okay”, but it didn’t sound like she really wanted to. The main teacher put the lid on the tube and took it inside. Marta took the two spaceships she had made and followed the teacher. I had gathered all three spaceships I had made into my hands and stood up when Bobby appeared right in front of me.
“What are you doing?” he said with an angry voice, “You’re not supposed to play with the girls. Remember the secret war?”
He looked over at Marta carrying her spaceships toward the house. She stopped, turned around, and gave Bobby a fierce look.
“And that Marta girl has the worst cooties of all”, he said, then turning back to me, “Are you going to fight the war or get cooties too?”
I didn’t know what to say so I looked at Marta.
Marta wrinkled her nose and chin and marched up to Bobby. “I do not have cooties”, she said, angrily, “You take that back!”
“I won’t”, said Bobby, the other two boys on either side of him staring at Marta, “You have cooties and they’re really BAD cooties too.”
“You take that back or else!” Marta said with a loud voice.
“Or else what?” said Bobby.
Marta hit him over the head with the bigger Tinker Toy spaceship she had made. It broke into pieces and scattered in the grass around him. I could see the fear and surprise in Bobby’s eyes and he started to cry.
“Marta”, said that Miss Karen teacher, coming running towards us, “What are you doing? We don’t hit people like that!”
The teacher kneeled down in front of Bobby and put her hands on his shoulders and looked at him closely. “Bobby, are you all right?”
“She hit me”, he said, still crying.
She looked at his head and ran her fingers through his hair. “Oh dear”, she said as she stood up and put her hand on her forehead. “Bobby and Marta, you need to both come inside with me right now!” She took each of their hands and led them back inside the house. Marta looked back at me as the teacher led her away.
I put my own Tinker Toy spaceships back down on the table and picked up all the pieces of Marta’s broken one and put it back together. Then I managed to take all the spaceships she and I had made, and carry everything in my arms into the house to the big table in the Blue room. I didn’t see Marta or Bobby in any of the rooms where kids were. I wondered if the teachers were going to spank Marta. I wondered if teachers did that kind of stuff when you were bad.
There were a few other boys playing at the table. They asked me if I wanted to play “Chutes and Ladders” with them but I shook my head. They looked like they were mad at me that I wouldn’t play. That was the game that Kenny got me for my birthday. I had played it a few times with Kenny, or with Molly or one of my other friends, but I didn’t like it very much. You really couldn’t decide what to do. You just spun the spinner and you hoped you got a number that got you to go up a ladder and not down a slide. You could pretend you were a better player if you won the game, but it was all that “luck” thing, and you didn’t do any thinking that really made you better.
As I looked at the rocket ship that that girl Marta had made that she had hit Bobby on the head with, I wondered again if this was a place they sent kids who were bad. Maybe Marta was bad because she hit people. Maybe Bobby was bad because he wanted to fight wars all the time. I wondered if I had been sent here because I was bad. Maybe the grownups figured out that I wanted to start a war with them even before I’d figured it out myself. Maybe I used to be good, but maybe I had gotten bad somehow. That was why dad had hit me on the bottom the other day, because I was starting to say bad words and just getting bad. Now maybe I was too bad to stay at home so I had to be here, like that “jail” place on that “Gunsmoke” show that dad liked to watch. Maybe I only had to be here during the day, because mom did say she would pick me up in the afternoon.
While I was hooking Marta’s and my rocket ships together to make a space station like Tom Swift, I was surprised to notice Bobby standing next to me again.
“They made that girl go home”, he said, “Her mom came and made her say she was sorry. She was crying like a girl.”
Some boys said stuff like that. That girls were “crybabies”, and boys were better because they weren’t. I felt angry at him and the words just came out of my mouth, though I kept looking at the Tinker Toy space station. “You were crying too when she hit you.”
He looked down at my Tinker Toy space station and shook his head. “I wasn’t really crying, it just hurt a lot.”
I didn’t think getting hit on the head with Tinker Toys would really hurt you.
“Did the teachers spank her?” I asked.
“I don’t know”, he said, “But it looked like her mom was going to spank her really hard.” He chuckled, “She deserved it!”
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t think she deserved it.
He looked around and leaned close to me and whispered in my ear, “That’s why we need to have a war against the girls. Her cooties were really bad, but all girls have them. You really don’t want to get them, it’ll wreck you forever.”
I was thinking about Molly. She wouldn’t just hit Bobby over the head with Tinker Toys, she’d probably punch him too.
Still whispering like he didn’t want others to hear he said, “My mom’s here to pick me up, but tomorrow morning we’ll all meet at the tree fort and make a plan for the war. You can help me be in charge!” I didn’t say anything or even look at him.
I heard a grownup’s voice off in the hallway say, “Bobby! Right now Bobby! Chop chop!”
“Jeez mom”, Bobby said and left the room.
“Language young man”, the grownup voice said, “You know what your father said!” I heard the front door of the house open and close. I was so glad Bobby was gone.
But he would be back tomorrow. I would be back tomorrow. Was this where I would go every day, now that grownups, maybe my parents even, thought I was a bad kid?
Tears filled the bottom of my eyes and I felt like I wanted to cry. I WASN’T a bad kid! Maybe I said that swear word to mom, but I thought it was okay because of what she had said about when it was okay to use those kind of words. I needed another chance to show them that I was really good. I needed to get out of this place and talk to my mom and show her and dad I wasn’t bad. I couldn’t tell the teachers because they were the ones in charge of making me stay here.
I ran out into the backyard, past the tables where kids were sitting, past the tree fort where other kids were playing, to the metal fence at the very back of the yard. Through the fence I saw a boy younger than me running around flying a small toy airplane he was holding in his hand. He wasn’t one of the kids in the school because he was on the other side of the fence. He was just playing in the backyard of his own house. I thought of that song my dad always liked to sing, “Don’t fence me in”. I gripped the fence with my hands and pressed my face against it, and the metal felt cold and hard. The boy noticed me.
I tried to talk without crying but couldn’t. “Please help me get out of here”, I said sobbing, “Tell my mom I won’t swear again and I’ll always be good!”
The boy stopped flying his toy plane and looked at me. I could tell by his face that he didn’t know what to do. He just stared at me.
“Cooper”, it was the teacher’s voice behind me, “What’s happening back here?” That Miss Karen teacher came up next to me and put her hand on my shoulder.
She looked at my face. “Dear, have you been crying?” she asked.
I didn’t want her to know I was crying, because she might figure out that I was trying to get away. I shook my head but my eyes were still wet with tears and I rubbed my shirt sleeve on them.
“Oh dear”, she said, in that voice that grownups use when they think a kid is sad and they want you to tell them why, “Here, sit with me and let’s talk about it.” She did that other thing that grownups do, and put her hands on my shoulders and turned me away from the back fence and kind of made me walk back towards the other kids in the backyard. But before we got to the tree fort she had me sit down in the grass next to her.
“It looks like something is making you sad”, she said, looking at my eyes, “What’s wrong dear? Please tell me and maybe I can help make it better.”
I looked at her face and she had a sad look but her eyes seemed friendly. But sometimes grownups tried to look that way to get kids to say things that the kid didn’t want to say. I just looked at her trying to decide what to do.
“Was it what happened with Marta and Bobby?” she asked.
I nodded my head. I wanted to tell her that Bobby had told Marta that she had really bad cooties, but unlike my friend Kenny, I never told on kids to grownups.
Then I saw the main teacher standing above us and mom was standing next to her.
“What’s going on here Miss Karen?” the main teacher asked.
The Miss Karen teacher looked up at her, “Cooper was just feeling really sad about that thing earlier with Marta and Bobby.”
I looked up at mom and she suddenly had a very worried look on her face. She got down on her knees in front of me.
“Coolie”, she said, “Are you okay?”
I shook my head.
“You want to go home?” mom asked.
Mom’s face got fierce. She stood up and turned to the main teacher.
“Betty”, she said, “I don’t know that this is working out!”
The main teacher looked worried and blew air out of her mouth. “Mrs. Zale… uh Jane”, she said, “There was an incident earlier between two other children that may have upset Cooper. Your son is sensitive and it may just take him a day or two to adjust. Parents tend to jump the gun on these decisions.”
Mom nodded, but her face was still fierce. “Betty, thanks for the heads up and assessment. Despite what the ‘parenting’ experts might say, I believe very strongly that bright kids will tell you what they need! I’ll take Cooper home and discuss it with him. I’ll let him decide if he wants to come back. I’ll pay you for today at least.”
The main teacher shook her head. “If you decide not to come back, that won’t be necessary. And I’ll refund your deposit. I believe in my program, but if you feel it’s not the right place for your son, that is of course your decision.”
“Thank you Betty”, mom said, her face now more friendly, “Money is tight right now, so I appreciate the refund offer.”
The main teacher nodded and looked up at the sky, thinking.
Mom turned to Miss Karen. “Karen. We only briefly met this morning, but I saw you just now sitting with Cooper. Thanks for helping him out!”
“Of course Mrs. Zale”, she said, “Cooper is such a nice young man!”
Mom chuckled and said, “I don’t disagree with that”. She looked at me with her big smile and big round twinkly eyes and her eyebrows raised up.
Then Miss Karen looked at me. “It was a pleasure to meet you Cooper! I hope you do decide to come back.”
I nodded but didn’t say anything. But I was happy that mom thought I was nice and not bad. That changed everything.
On the way home in the car mom asked me what happened to make me upset. I said that the teachers made everybody take a nap after lunch. I also told her this boy wanted to fight a war with the girls, and wanted me to help even though I didn’t want to. I didn’t say which boy it was because that would be telling. Even though I didn’t like Bobby, he was still a kid like me.
“So you want to give it another try tomorrow?” she asked. I shook my head.
“So no then!” she said. I nodded.
I was so happy inside that I wasn’t going back there and that she didn’t think I was a bad kid. But I knew I had to be more careful to never do anything that might make mom and dad, or any other grownups, think I was bad. Or do anything like that around Kenny, because he would probably tell.
She blew air out of her mouth. “Oh coolie, I’m sorry you had such a bad day. I’m just trying to help you get ready to go to school, to kindergarten, next fall.”
She stopped talking and just drove the car and looked out the front window. She did shake her head a couple times. I could tell she was thinking and worrying.