Monday, March 15, 2010

Journey to Kindergarten - Chapter 1

Point 1

Today I got to go to Cleveland City Hall. Because apparently you need to have a "certified" birth certificate (redundant?) to register your child for kindergarten, and apparently hospitals don't send those to you automatically when your kids are born, and apparently you have to pay for them.

City Hall is one of Cleveland's historic buildings in the classic Greek/Roman style with columns and marble and sandstone, etc. So the metal detector and plywood security "desk" fit right along with the architectural aesthetic. (Don't get me wrong. I'm pro-metal detectors. I certainly don't want to be gunned down while waiting to write my check to the "Vital Statistics" department.)

Worse than the metal detectors are the 246 pieces of paper taped to walls, ropes, windows, chairs and ceilings. All imploring the citizens to fill out an application at one table and then stand between the ropes until the next employee is available. The paper is in various colors to make it interesting, or perhaps to help those with color blindness. One can only guess the number of people that still walk up to the window without a completed application.

Other signage reminds us that they very conveniently take debit and charge cards, but neither of these can be Visa.

Box of Crayons - $2
Backpack - $15
First Day of School Outfit - $25
Having Valid Paperwork for Kindergarten Registration - Priceless

And for those of you that didn't know, there are only two "vital statistics". Your birth and your death. And you will most likely never stand in line for your own "certified" certificate of either of these things.

Point 2

Upon returning, I got to talking with a co-worker about all the paperwork involved in this process and we started reminiscing about our own school transportation history.

K - I have absolutely no idea how I got to school!
1-2 - Walker. Set off with other members of St. Paul Lutheran Church (Reinharts, Stiwalds, and Bolkens). In order to not have to wait in the "walker" line, that wasn't released until all the buses were gone, Lara and I would sneak out the breezeway as the class made their way to the front of the school. Sometimes having to crouch below windows until we could bolt across the playground in the hopes that we wouldn't be spotted.
3-6 - Have moved to "the country" and our bus driver was Mrs Bursley. As her name implies, she was the meanest old biddy you could possibly imagine. If we weren't at the very end of our quarter mile driveway, she flew past us. Even if you knew she saw you running as fast as you could across gravel wearing a back pack, flailing your arms and screaming for her to stop.
7-8 - I have absolutely no idea how I got to school!
9 - Older brother in the POS "Goose" to school. In the afternoon, because my brother was a jock and always had practice for something, I took the bus. For all of high school I had Mrs. Bonnette. Who if I didn't make special care to say hello to as I boarded, she forgot I was there, and I would end up running down the aisle, "Mrs. Boonnneetttee!" In contrast to Mrs. Bursley, Mrs Bonnette would slam on the brakes and back the bus up the state route to my driveway. She was awesome and had the best laugh.
10 - I had the choice of dad dropping me off super early on his way to work or ride the bus. I chose early, and hung out with Justin Solomon (science teacher's son) until the rest of the school got there and I could pretend I didn't know him. (Just kidding, he was okay.)
11-12 - Gerri got her Mustang convertible that actually had a running mustang airbrushed across the front hood. Classic! Gerri turned 16 in April, but waited until the summer to take Driver's Ed with me, cause she's awesome (Or maybe her parents just didn't let her until then, I don't know.) We were in the same car with Nina Nunez and she was a way worse driver than me, but the instructor only made me cry. I'm pretty sure Gerri's the only one that got her own car out of the deal, but I was allowed the pleasure of driving the used beige Tempo to school my senior year.

I think riding the bus will be hard on Morgan at first. She notices instantly if, say, I go a different way to school, because I'm so zoned out I miss the turn on Bradley. And she's been known to argue with the driver of a vehicle that does not take the path she is expecting. "You're going the wrong way!" I can picture her very plainly, yelling at the bus driver.


  1. Regarding Point 1: You also need a certified birth certificate for a passport. Luckily, both Martha and I knew where we were born, and the CBCs were returned with our new passports. I'm all set, then, to go back to kindergarten.

    Point 2: I went to school in Rochester, NY (up I-90 from you) in the 50s and early 60s before bussing, so I was always a walker. Sometimes, on crummy weather days, I took the city bus for a nickle so I didn't freeze or smell like a wet water buffalo once I got to school.

    I wish I remembered the bus driver's name on South Park--she's a monster.

  2. (Tina) the bus driver's name on South Park was Miss Crabtree, wasn't it? One of my favorite characters.

  3. Thanks Tina, for helping me to "remember."

  4. sorry I havn't posted comments so far--- I just read and enjoy