perils with writing and whatnot
When I was a kid, we were just starting to think about school in the middle of August; and it was usually because our parents were bringing up the subject. It was a time to start hitting the stores for new clothes, shoes and the every-year school supplies.
My great nieces and nephews (actually only one of the nephews) are getting up early during the workweek now to make it to the place where the school bus will pick them up. I have to admit that the thought of them already being in school is bothering me. When I was that age, school didn’t start until after Labor Day. (For those of you who don’t live in the U.S., this day is always the first Monday in September.) I don’t say anything because it isn’t my place. Besides, I want the children to be in a positive mood for school.
I wasn’t one of those normal kids who dreaded the thought of school at the end of summer. After the big celebration for my brother’s birthday, I was ready to go back to the classrooms. Although I’ve always loves the warmer months of the year, having all that free time got to be boring after a while. I craved brain-stimulating activities.
The only part of getting ready for the new school year that I didn’t particularly like was going to the doctor for the annual check-up. “Mom, why can’t I just get my shots at school like everyone else does?”
Mom’s reply would be, “You’re not like everyone else. Although you are fine now, when you were a baby, you had health problems. Your health needs to be checked every year. Right before school starts is a good time to do it. Besides, getting your booster shots at school sounds like you and the other kids are puppies instead of children.”
My normal response to that was, “I promise not to bark.” This always got a smile on her face. However, she wouldn’t back down and I wouldn’t press the matter further.
The pediatrician’s office was in a small house that had been converted to accommodate a medical practice. In the waiting room (living room), there were individual padded chairs along two walls. A toy chest sat along another wall, and a fish tank for tropical fish was in the middle of the room.
Most of the children, including me, would be hovering around the fish tank. All of us had our favorite fish swimming around amongst the plants and the plastic castle that decorated the inside of the tank. My favorite was the angelfish. The doctor had several in there because it was a popular one for the children.
It wasn’t until I was ten years old that I figured out why the doctor had the tank of tropical fish in his waiting room. Watching the fish swim around was calming and soothing. Although I wasn’t afraid of the doctor or any shot I would get, for some of the children, it was a terrifying experience. The tank of fish would keep them occupied and quiet until it was their turn to march into one of the examining rooms.
When I became a parent years later, I took my own son to the same doctor. He was just as fascinated by the fish as I had been.
Text+Sound by Wayne Mason
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