Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gen X Stories (Week 28 of Fireflies at Dusk: A 52-Week Project)

Throughout the Fireflies at Dusk project, I have asked Gen X friends to tell stories about their Gen X childhoods. Their stories have reminded me of Gen X memories long forgotten and have inspired me to come up with new ideas to write about. As they told me their stories, a story about my own childhood came to mind....

After 2nd grade I went to summer school at a local community college. They had all kinds of classes available for kids, so many of us took a half-day of an assortment of classes throughout the week. On the first day, me and about three other kids in my class were panicking because it said "You're On Your Own" on the print-out of our schedules that we had gotten from the administrative office. Our schedule of classes read something like this:

8:00 am Basics in Dance
9:00 am Fun with Art
10:00 am You're On Your Own
11:00 am Outdoor Sports

As it got closer to the time to be 'on my own,' I found myself getting pretty nervous - it made it hard to focus on the class I was in. I looked around and noticed at least a few other kids looking concerned, too. We were worried that soon we were going to be on our own at this big college campus to wander around aimlessly for an hour. We weren't sure what to do until a teacher finally told us that "You're on Your Own" was the name of a class, and pointed us in the direction of the building to find it.

You're on Your Own was actually a class for latchkey kids. Don't ask me why I remember this so well, but the syllabus was something like this:

1) Fire safety, followed by a film about why you shouldn't play with matches.
2) How to mend your own clothes.
3) How to call the police.
4) How to make simple meals on the stovetop (another review of fire safety here).
5) How to cook meals in the microwave if you are scared of the stove (per my request).
6) How to just make cereal for dinner if you don't want to use the microwave (per some other kid's request). We found out it's the same as making it at breakfast - you just eat it while watching prime time instead of morning cartoons.
7) Why you shouldn't get in someone's car if you are walking down the street and they pull up to you and say, "Hey, will you help me look for my lost dog?" (Another review of how to call the police here.)
8) How to make a magazine collage with scissors and a glue stick if you get bored.
9) How to make homemade play dough if you get bored.

The teacher was nice, the class was fun, and we all walked away a little less afraid of being on our own. Or maybe a little more. Either way, the class was fun.

(c) 2011 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved