Elementary School 1958
There she was, entering the classroom
her head barely clearing the doorway.
Over six feet tall with feet we called
boats - as she flopped one after another
beneath her desk.
Her shoulders wide like a man,
her fingers so long, as a witch on purpose
scratching chalk on a chalkboard.
Miss Dawson was wearing a flowered
dress on this memorable morning,
me, in the fourth grade, me who she told
to meet her in the cloakroom.
Well, a trip to the cloakroom, alone, would
mean we were scolded for something
we did during class, but the teacher
barely said a word as she whispered – I
knew I did nothing to be reprimanded.
But this trip to the cloakroom
in the fourth grade - was to tell me
I wasn't good enough for her choir.
Can you imagine all those children
in the classroom – waiting – staring
toward the door to the cloakroom,
can you imagine me with tears in my eyes –
a sad face, my head down, being afraid to
glance up, walking slowly back to my desk.
When I finally reached my desk, and sat,
a tear fell onto my cheek and I heard
children chanting, “She can’t sing…”
1958 - I started our school talent show.
Our principal was Miss Hagarson - she told me,
“When you left elementary school they never
had another talent show.”
Guess I had talent collecting all the children
Joey played the drums, and Cass sang…
Keith helped with the curtains and directing,
and the girls who could sing, carried on
like the other Nancy down the street, and Patty,
Donna, and Aggie.
I danced, and talked as if I were the
first commentator on stage, introducing
everyone and telling everyone how talented our
school was. When it came to the piano,
I even had the music teacher helping me, she knew
I wasn’t going to sing.
The big mouth kids, the trouble makers, I put
them to work too, everyone was in the show, not
one child left out…
You see – learning is a giant step – believing in
yourself is even bigger – so I turned it around
singing wasn’t the end of the world – it was the
beginning of mine.
Nancy Duci Denofio
(Note - this is a section of a memoir
which I changed to fit into a poetic memoir
for easy reading.)