Elementary school, called grade school in my day, is a training ground to rapidly developing little personalities in so many areas.
Think about a few of the many new situations :
1. Etiquette, or how to behave in different situations and circumstances, like playground, classroom, lunchroom, and RESTROOM!
2. Interaction with peers. You can't just sock 'em, or other uncouth behavior you might impose on your siblings when things are NOT going well. Darn!
3. Respect/courtesy to principals, teachers, and all-important upper classmates.
Having aced first and second grade, I was pretty cocky; I had this school thing aced. My report cards were perfect and I rarely had a paper with less than red-marked 100 grade which I proudly carried home daily to Mother.
But should I receive a small mark down, like a 98, I threw it away on the way home and told Mother, we didn't have a paper that day. That worked until Mother had a teacher visit her. In those days teachers made house calls, instead of the teacher-parent conference at school. Mother asked the teacher about the paperless days. However, Mother's confrontation was nice, other than my fibbing. She realized I had high expectations for myself and a desire to please her and Dad.
When I passed second grade I figured college was soon, but I had to go through the motions of 3rd grade...no big deal.
No big deal! until one of those uppity upper classmates described to me and several peers, the third grade teacher was a wicked witch, really mean, no shenanigans, never smiled, and rapped your little hand with a "huge" ruler...
I and my peers believed every word of the uppity upper classmates. After all we respected their advanced knowledge and they had already walked the walk. A teacher with a first name Zada!?? I never heard of a woman with a name like that. It must have some ominous meaning which enhanced her disreputation in my self-perceived college level mind.
All summer I tried to rationalize why the schoolyard gods imposed the fate of mean Ole Lady Snark (not her real name--she might come back to haunt me). All those 100s seem worthless. Why couldn't I just skip third grade and go to college.
There was talk of double promoting me. I thought that meant I went directly to college. I was pretty proud of that, until I learned it meant skip a grade or two. Further my math skills were not quite as advanced as everything else. So that idea was flushed down the toilet.
That summer was far too short as my fateful date with Ole Lady Snark was barreling down the highway head-on with my quaking little heart.
Besides dealing with a teacher of alleged despicable nature, I knew a disturbing student from the alternate second grade class would be integrated in the only third grade class along with about 15 other students.
This student, a girl named Susan, was adopted known by all my pears as crude, rude and mean. She and the teacher were on equal footing insofar as my little mind could reason. She was bigger than any other girl in the class.
If a girl could be a physical bully, Susan was. She pushed and shoved everybody. Her voice and laughter had only one volume, VERY LOUD. Her laughter was usually at someone's expense. I avoided her like the plague.
Part 2: Mean Ole Lady Snark, Susan and the Restroom