The bright spot for me was when I started Kindergarten.
The first day was pretty scary, as it is for all children starting school. I recall two of the most wonderful, compassionate teachers in the world who made me feel at home right away. I looked forward to school! We even had a snack time with cookies and milk every day. For a successful school you need love, chocolate chip cookies, and milk. The rest are just extras.
I started Kindergarten in 1971. There were still pockets of discrimination despite the Supreme Courts’ Brown vs. Board of Education decision. I had a black friend who lived near me. I asked my mom why he didn’t go to the same Kindergarten as me, and she said it was because there were evil people in the world who discriminated against black people.
I simply could not fathom anyone doing that. I am thankful that I had a mom who taught me that discrimination is wrong.
In May of 1972, my last month of Kindergarten, we left for good. We moved to Italy, leaving everything behind, all our toys and clothes, and flew to Naples, Italy where mom is from.
I have many wonderful memories of this time in Italy. When you are just five years old, you don’t understand everything that is going on.
***James is a retired teacher turned performer and motivational speaker. Using music, humor, personal stories, and his 105 year old sax, James shares how although we may be dented, scratched, and abused – like his sax – a beautiful symphony can still come pouring out of our lives. Find out more about him at www.jamesdivine.net. This is an excerpt from his book (available on amazon), Sad Boy, Joyful Man: Your NOW Doesn’t Determine Your FUTURE.