This fond memory from my childhood is embedded in the scent of tar.
I started school in New York City at the age of 5.
It was an experiment.
To get children out from under the feet of their harried mothers in their small apartments and into school.
Before the days of kindergarten and pre-school.
I was unwilling to go to school.
I’d heard nothing from my older sister, Janet, about the regimentation of school that in any way appealed to me.
More to the point, I do everything I can possibly do to impede my mother’s progress up East 82nd Street, across 1st Avenue and up the stairs to PS 190 at 311 East 82nd Street, New York City.
I grab every iron railing along the way and hold on as tightly as I can – while my mother does everything she can to pry my fingers loose.
She has to drag me across 1st Avenue, much to the bemusement of the New York City traffic policeman on duty during school hours.
When we get to PS 190, she lets go of my hand.
For just a second.
As quick as a fox, with both hands, I grab the iron railing at the bottom of the stairs and hold on as if my life depends on it.
Which it does.
I do not want to go to school for any reason.
She calls in the militia to pry me loose.
It takes two teachers to disentangle my fingers from the railing.
When I refuse to walk up the stairs, my mother picks me up by the waist and carries me up the stairs like a sack of potatoes.
And dumps me at the feet of the two teachers who help her.
Who stare at me in horror.
. . . in their eyes, the pupil from hell has just arrived.
Left with no choice but to adjust, I do just that.
And to my own amazement, I find myself enjoying school.
The school year starts in early September in New York City.
Right after Labour Day.
The air is crisp, with Indian Summer afternoons and mornings and evenings with a slight bite to them.
It’s the beginning of Autumn and is my favourite time of year.
School’s been in for just a couple of weeks.
And I’m no longer the pupil from hell.
My first grade class is going out for the morning.
We’re on our way to the children’s book readings held monthly at the public library a few blocks away.
It’s my first excursion with my class.
This excursion is walking right past my apartment building. On the opposite, shady side of the street.
And the street is closed because it’s undergoing maintenance.
It’s being re-tarred.
I can smell the tar as soon as we leave the school, two blocks away.
The closer we come to my street, and to my apartment building, the stronger the scent of tar. Because the tar truck is working right outside my building.
As we approach my building, I look across the street to my apartment window.
Just at that moment, my mother opens the window.
And as only my mother can do without fear, four stories above ground, she hangs her upper body from the waist up, at full stretch, outside the window.
And with that beautiful face of hers glistening in the morning sun . . .
. . . she smiles her full 200 megawatt smile . . .
. . . calls out ‘Carol’ in her melodic voice . . .
. . . waves with both hands . . .
And blows me several kisses.
She is the only mother on the street to greet her child.
This act of love and adoration is noticed and commented on by everyone in my class, including my teacher.
And each one of us waves back to her.
Me much more furiously than anyone else.
And I can’t help but blow her a kiss back.
And jump up and down with glee.
She absolutely makes my day.
The scent of tar is always accompanied by this glorious memory.
Sometimes we’re just lucky with our choice of parents.
~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤
PS. This Ironing Diva loves taking trips down memory lane. Thank you for accompanying me.
PPS. I am not only an Ironing Diva. But as one friend says, I am ‘The Queen’ when it comes to ironing.
I Am The Purveyor Of The Tantrum Free Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover And Other Goodies
Made with love and care in RURAL Australia by men and women who have a disability.
It’s not for everyone.
But it’s definitely for you if you’re fussy about the cover you iron on.
And if you love to support Australian made.
And want to put something back into the community when you make a purchase.
The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover cover has more than 350,000 customers in 29 countries. Because it lives up to its name. It ‘Fitz Like A Glove™’ every time you iron.
And these are the ‘Other Goodies’
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Or phone me, Carol Jones, in rural Australia on 02 63 588 511.
Photos of my rural property are courtesy of me, Ironing Diva – who is also known as Paddock Paparazzi – and taken at sunrise every morning.
Kangaroo In A Sunrise Sun Trap
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A Mob Of Kangaroo At Sunrise On My Rural Property