In sixth grade, we studied ancient Egypt for a long session. I had a crush on my red-headed teacher. She had fair skin and big glasses. She wove and mashed slices of broccoli stems together to demonstrate what the papyrus-making process looked like.
I started running because of her–she started a running club after school. One day, she patted my head and with amused surprise said “crunch crunch!” I used to wear a lot of mousse in my hair. It was the ’90s, and I was a sucker for those TRESemmé commercials, and yes, I loved watching the mousse expand in my hand. I distinctly remember wearing a pink, oversized flannel shirt to go running one day, around the baseball diamond and soccerfield, within the parameters of the school’s chain-link fencing.
The earliest all-nighter I can remember pulling was also for Ms. Red-head. In our Egypt class, we also studied weaving. We pounded nails into three-by-three-foot wooden frames and turned them into looms. We had cardboard shuttles wrapped with yarn. Of course, I tried to have the most multi-colored, ridiculously ambitious design ever. A big heart with a multi-colored border. The night before the project was due, I stayed up, half-sobs in my throat as I realized it was only humanly possible to make it to only seven or eight inches before morning came. The end result was, admittedly, sort of hideous and obviously only partially finished. Even then, I dreamed bigger than my hands were capable of making. But it’s always worth a try.
Feels like everything I am now, I already was when I was eleven. Execution still needs improvement. Should be better at that by now.