School days

For some reason, though we were Swedish, my parents got me started in an American school, The Ahlman Academy.

Well, I guess there was not any Swedish schools around but on the other hand in Sweden, kids do not start in school before they are at least six years old. So to be sent of, on my own, aboard the school bus, at the age of four, was somewhat an unorthodox thing to do.
A faint memory of the bus stopping outside our gates and my dad sending me of, comes to mind, but it could also be a construct, based on some photos I have seen.

I do remember sitting in the class room having lunch though. The desks were placed in a U-shape around the walls facing the center of the room. In front of the blackboard sat the teacher at her desk and I think she was reading a book to us. I had sandwiches wrapped in tin foil that I fooled around with. I rolled a small ball with a piece and stuck it in my nose and then I couldn’t get it out. It went further and further in the more I tried to pick it out, and the sharp edges made my nose bleed. I don’t remember how it all got solved, but I remember the commotion sitting in my bench bleeding from my nose and catching everyone’s attention.

Sometimes we had lunch outside too, because I have a recollection of sitting on the low wall surrounding the playground, trading the contents of my Dick Tracy lunchbox with a fellow girl. She had a lunchbox shaped like a barn with a handle on the roof. The roof tipped open and then she could open up the front as well.
Lunch boxes seemed a lot more fun and creative back then. And isn’t it strange how traded sandwiches always tastes better than the ones you got from home?

In the schoolyard there where slides and swings as usual but there were also some bright coloured wooden crates to play with. Red, blue, green, yellow and much too big and heavy for us small kindergarten kids to move. One day however, when we entered the yard, the older kids had stacked them up in a big pile like a hut in several floors and we were all happily climbing around in and out of it. I surely remember the excitement, but I think that play was stopped shortly after. I can understand why, if that stack collapsed and one of us toddlers would happen to be under it, there might have been some serious injuries.

There is a funny story about my school time.
A Finnish boy started and could not speak any English and his parents were a bit worried about how he would manage the school day. When they came to pick him up after school they asked the teacher about how it went. They got the answer that it worked very well because I had helped him all day translating.
To some maybe Finnish and Swedish might sound the same but in reality it is two completely different languages. Swedish probably has more in common with English, than it does with Finnish. So how this was even possible is a mystery. Either I was a language genius, which in that case never showed itself again, or I managed to understand him in some other way. Anyway it was the beginning of a close friendship as we became buddies and he did learn english eventually. Adding to it may have been that he was the same age and lived only a couple of houses down on the same road as me.

I think his name was Juha, but I do not recall the surname and sadly he is not in the yearbook so I could look him up. We used to walk over to one and other to play when it was not school days.
One day when Juha came over to me he was told that I could not come out and play, because I had got chickenpox. He then ran home an cried out to his parents the outrageous injustice, that he also wanted to have chicken in a box.

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