Couple of weeks ago, I wrote about finding a memory that seems to have sown the seeds of depression in me. Finding out that I was so much more advanced than other children my age made me feel like a freak.
In an even earlier memory about reading, I had a much different reaction to being ahead of my class.
It was early in kindergarten, within the first week or so, I guess. The teacher separated us into two groups. That part is hazy. What I remember clearly happened after we were dismissed for the day.
As we filed out, one of the other children taunted us in the “non-selected” group. “You don’t get to learn to read, but we do.” His tone was provocative, sneering. He was trying to mark himself and his group as better than we who had been coloring or playing with trucks or whatever the heck we were doing.
I wouldn’t have it. “I already know how to read,” I said. It baffled me that he couldn’t. I was happy about knowing how to read. I felt superior. What changed so that three years later, I would be embarrassed by my skill?