The day Tony got smart

I have said this many times, over the years: It is funny where one gets one’s blog fodder.  Sometimes it’s the radio, sometimes a conversation at work and sometimes it’s its our old pal Facebook.

For this post, it was FB. One of my friends posted: Tell us something about you we would be surprised to know.

My answer?  There was a time I was the dumbest kid in class.

Yes, yes I know.  In this day and age, calling a kid dumb is NOT acceptable. However, I am calling myself such.  And (since I KNOW mom is reading) please stick to the end to see what ended up happening.

Let me start way back at the beginning.  Legend has it, that when we moved to Pennsylvania (I was an army brat), my age and birthday fell in such a way that my folks could choose to have me in Kindergarten or 1st grade.  My dad said, (this may be part of the myth by the way) “Shoot, all you do in Kindergarten is fingerpaint!  We are taking 1st grade!”

With that decision, I have always been the youngest of all my classmates.  Now, first through third grade is kind of blur for me. (Hell it was a LONG time ago!) I know my handwriting was bad (still is, good thing I can type blogs!) but other than that, I don’t remember any issues. I wasn’t the best reader though.

However, in the 4th grade, it came to a head.

Tony School 1

And for those who know me in person, they will be surprised to hear that my biggest struggle was math.  I just did NOT get it.  Each day, we’d be put in groups for math, and I was essentially on my own trying to understand what the others had already finished.  Hard as I might try, it just didn’t sink in.

While the rest of the class was dividing fractions and moving onto the mystery of decimals, I had barely passed the adding and subtracting test.  Not the best for a 10 year olds self-esteem.

Then, out of the blue, we learned we were moving to Germany.  My dad flew out first to get things set up, and we started east later (braving blizzards, the flu and tornados) in a red and white Volkswagen bus.  (Someday I will have to invite my mom to tell some stories about this cross-country trip!)

But I digress…..

So there I was, the new kid in class, and fresh out of a place where I was NOT smart.  I don’t remember much at all about the first day, but I do remember the feeling of dread when I heard “Take out you math books!”

YEP, day one and already I was gonna be the dumb kid….

But, then, the math gods took pity on our young hero.  Back in Tyee Park Elementary school, they were blazing into decimals.  Here in  the American Army School in Nuremberg, this day just happened to be day one of ADDING FRACTIONS!!!

BOOM BABY!! I GOT THIS!!  Suddenly dumb as a stump was catapulted to the smartest kid in class! Better yet, I liked it!  I was able to answer questions and help other kids! I am not sure if it was the boost in confidence, or a better teachers, but from that point on in my scholastic career I NEVER looked back.

From there on I excelled in math and science, I couldn’t get enough. My handwriting never got better, but I became a voracious reader, leaping from, at best, a 4th grade level, to adult in less than a year.

I share this story for a couple of reasons.

1) Because it is one than very few know,

2) and most importantly, because one never knows just when a major change in one’s life will occur.

I can look back at all that has happened to me, and pin point certain times in my school life that led me to where I am today.  This may have been, of all others, the number one best thing that happened to our young hero.  Who knows what woulda happened had we stayed here, and I was never the smart kid. Shoot, y’all may never met mountainstroh.

Thanks for visiting folks, hope it was too sappy or too boring!

One thought on “The day Tony got smart

  1. What a great story! And what a cute kid you were! 🙂

    Yes, yes! Have your mom be a guest blogger! Would love to hear about your travels in your VW bus.

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