As you may know from my previous drawings, I went to Special Ed because of my psychotic abusive dad steering me stupid, up until the sixth grade, whereupon I was rejected from school altogether.
` This one was apparently from the second or third grade, not sure which, when I had just started going to Garfield Elementary in Medina, Ohio. On the front of it is me and the 'retard kids' as we were known. Colorful descriptions below:
Yes, those were all the kids in my class whichever year that was. We were all separated from one another via wooden dividers around our desks, so it was much like going to school in office cubicles, only less cheery.
` I remember that Candace and Tim (who I called Tom for some reason) were particularly messed up, as was tiny little Alcid, who I remember was constantly taking Ritalin and coffee throughout the day, thus stunting his growth at night.
` There was Justin, which might have been the very well-behaved Justin Huffman, in contrast with Nick, the red-haired kid who was notorious for being even a little bit worse-behaved than me. One time he collaborated with me in escaping the classroom, although one time he also poured apple sauce with milk on my head.
` Jamie was a nice kid, but was cranky from sleep deprivation because of his seizures, one of which he actually had while the teacher was explaining this to the class. (It was Mr. Maglione, so that was in the fourth Special Ed Grade. I remember him saying, "See how Jamie is making those groaning sounds, that's because he's in pain from his muscles clenching up.")
` That got me thinking often about how terrible that must be, one's life randomly interrupted on a daily basis. One time in art class I remember talking to him and he didn't answer, and I looked up to see that he had gone all stiff, so I grabbed his arm as he fell off his chair so that his head didn't crash onto the floor.
` The wasp-like one was Sirrom Sturgis, who once punched me for having a crush on him (I was making kissing sounds at him). He was notorious for throwing chairs and things, and he once broke my friend Tiffini's nose near the City Pool one day. He had a brother named Ari, who ironically had a crush on me, as I found many years later after I had been rejected from school altogether.
` Then, there's Aaron, who was a good grade school 'boyfriend' until his parents changed his diet and he stopped becoming hyperactive at lunch as I did and instead retained his composure and gave me funny looks. Still, we played games on the playground as always... until he moved to Youngstown (or was it Ashland?), and I never saw him again.
` Later on, PJ (Preston James Cook), the video game-obsessed one, would later become my 'boyfriend', although thankfully that ended with the end of my Special Ed days. Wow, he turned out to be somewhat creepy, although his mom and sister were cool as ever.
In Special Ed, Us Retards had to contend with Those Evil Teachers, which I guess were actually aides for the most part. Mr Peterson, who was always hanging out with Nick, is in the center because he was Truly Evil. Really! He dragged me down the stairs in a laundry bag! HE'S EVIL!
` Not surprisingly, he was a volunteer from the Baptist Church... OF EVIL! I even called him and Nick "Mr. Penison and Nick the Dick," and understandably, the corresponding pictures were confiscated, many Xerox copies were made for all of them to see, and I was punished accordingly.
Mrs. Baton was small, with short black hair (looking kind of like Mrs. Teavee from that creepy Willy Wonka movie), while Mrs. Barlow had long black hair and a long face, somewhat like the picture, only not actually a beak. I seem to remember both of them putting their hands over my mouth until I couldn't breathe through the snot coming out of my nose.
` Mz. Mick was sometimes called the Hairy Egg, hence the depiction. I remember she was part of a poem I made up about her, Mrs. Groh, the Evil Misleading Counselor, and the fourth grade teacher Mr. Maglione, who I sometimes called Eee-ro-plane, for no apparent reason:
Mrs. Groh doesn't grow,
Hairy eggs are stupid,
Eee-ro-planes go 'round a pole
And are kissed by a cupid.
Hairy eggs are stupid,
Eee-ro-planes go 'round a pole
And are kissed by a cupid.
I didn't say it was a good poem, but bear in mind, it was fourth grade after all! Let's just say, it was much better than the one involving all of the swear words I knew.
This next drawing, done in fifth grade, was meant to be in the style of an Atari game called Food Fight, and I believe it was an accurate representation of the state of our classroom:
There was Justin, Tim and Sirrom, as before, as well as Chris Cepic, another kid I had gone to class with before. Ironically, so had Phil, the guy I lived with in 2005 when I had begun blogging. That was before Chris got 'Special' and started going to my class.
` Why was Chris 'Special'? It wasn't because he had the amazing ability to draw cartoon characters that looked exactly like the ones on TV (his favorite was Darkwing Duck). No, because that's a different kind of special.
` Apparently, he was known in Phil's class as Chris Septic, because he had a spastic colon. That makes sense because I do recall that Chris bathed only once a week and also had particularly bad and uncontrollable gas, which explained the smell on his side of the room -- I remember Michael Miner complaining in his high, nasal voice, "Oh, the sbell!"
` Thus, Chris was more Special because of his intestines, not his head. Ironic twist, isn't it?
Kara Higgins was the only other girl in fifth grade, and she was nicer to me than I was to her. Together, we were shunned by the teacher Ms. Kauffman, for being not only girls but retarded girls. She didn't care whether we did schoolwork, but she did have us clean the rabbit cage.
` Yes, Kauffman was bizarrely chauvinistic against girls. She didn't like when I drew pictures, but I remember her saying of one of Chris' pictures of Darkwing Duck, "I really like the expression" and she made an enlarged copy! I wonder if she taught her daughter, who she had with Mr. Porter (who had his classroom moved next to hers), to be dependent on men, or was it just us retarded girls?
` Derrick Goggins was the skinny diabetic kid, black with huge glasses, who won the spelling bee many times, and who also often cleaned the rabbit cage as well. (Maybe because he wasn't as manly as the other boys?)
` Betrias (which was how we pronounced 'Beatrice') was the rabbit of the class. PJ and I would sometimes stab her with the pencil and she would growl, and we would say, "Sharp enough for you Betrias?" We even came up with a song, celebrating what we thought to be aberrant behavior:
Where'd you get those peebols?
Lay 'em, spray 'em,
Then eat 'em all up!
Where'd you get those peebols?
Lay 'em, spray 'em,
Then eat 'em all up!
We didn't know back then that rabbits normally eat everything two times in a row, so we just thought that Beatrice was one really messed-up rabbit.
` Oh, and I can't forget about Jason. Except that I almost have. I had to think really hard... Jason who? Oh yes, it was Jason Brasty! He was a muscly sort of kid with light hair, as I recall. I remember one day, his face was white as a sheet, and he was holding his wrist because he had hurt it falling off a swing -- and it was actually broken, so he had to go home.
The next year, I walked into the same classroom and the now-Mrs. Kauffman said to me with a scowl, "What are you doing here again?"
` Apparently I had been rejected from Garfield Elementary, at last, and so I eventually was registered at C-FIT (Child-Family Intervention Team) at 3076 A Remsen Road, where us kids had to put up with these abusive assholes:
So, who are they? The teacher, Roger Galbraith was sometimes reasonable, but his assistant Mike Swanson was really into playing head games -- as well as wearing the same 'Kent' sweatshirt every day.
` I remember I wasn't allowed to have more than one pencil, so he took all but one of my matching set of pencils. I remember somehow I got them back and put them in my bra, thinking that getting them back would be some sort of molestation, but I was wrong -- Galbraith fearlessly snatched them out again!
` Me, being obsessive-compulsive and needing my entire set or otherwise I would have an anxiety attack, could NOT stand this and so threw my remaining pencil across the room. He retrieved it, held it out to me above his desk drawer, dropped it into the drawer and opened his hand to reveal a small 'stub' of wood, with a little pencil lead at one end and a chewed-up piece of metal at the other.
` When the principal Anne Vaner came into the room, I told her about what Mike was doing, and he said, "Oh, I'll give you your pencil back," and then he pulled exactly the same stunt, right in front of her!
` Her response? "Wull, now, Sara, there's nothing I can do about it."
` I protested, "But you're the principal!"
` But, she just told me that I was in control of everything here, so if something bad happened to me, it was because I chose it to be that way. She even told me that this was the case whenever anyone sat on me! You know, they sat on us kids? They got shut down for that, but not until after my year was over.
` Anyway, not able to write with the stub, I eventually chewed it up beyond recognition and demanded my pencils back. Of course, Mike Swanson had other plans and gave me one of those giant rectangular multi-colored crayons and asked me to write an essay with it.
` Not only was writing very difficult on lined paper, nor could I erase, but now my writing changed color every couple of letters! What a bitch!
This kind of behavior is why I depicted him as being part swan and part doughnut, which was a bad word in my class, thanks to Bill "Master Disruptor of" Bliss. ("I don't want your cheap education, you Doughnut!")
` As for Mr. Galbraith's being a mushroom, that had something to do with this horrible, scary cartoon movie where these mushroom people wanted to turn this human into a mushroom person. I had a distinctly nauseated feeling for some time, and subsequent nightmares, so that image of mushroom people really stuck with me.
There were only two rooms in this end of the school -- one was our class and one was 'the other class', taught by Mrs. Hetzal. Her students were larger and more powerful, and frequently, she had to call the police on them. On the other end of the school, we were told, were much younger kids.
` Only once did I see any small children -- there were two of them rollerblading in the gym during some special event involving Mike pitching tennis balls and us kids lining up to hit them with a racket. I sent one ball hurtling up to the ceiling and it came down right on the girl's head -- whoops! That wasn't funny, but it was funny when me and Bill hit Mike in the head!
As for the others in the picture, they helped out with managing us retard kids. I remember Allison Rafter had us cooking our breakfast, and afterward we would be forced to watch some video from the other end of the school, such as Sesame Street or The Bedrock Flintstone Kids.
` They'd turn the lights off and play the tape, whereupon I would ask to go to the bathroom and then just stay there, because I wasn't allowed to go anywhere else. This caused a lot of physical fights and me getting pinned to the bathroom floor and sat upon, all because, as a twelve-year-old, I couldn't stand Big Bird or Little Fred.
` Genetta and Genine were mother and daughter, I think, and I called them "Flower-Faces", which I thought was a big insult since flowers are sex organs, and thus something like vaginas.
` Then, there was Steph, who I remember believing she had leprosy during a wrestling match with her, which really freaked me out. I don't remember who Lori (or Laura?) the Loris was, but I recall that Colleen was the counselor and I called her 'Colleen Chevrolet Used Horses' after the cheesy commercial for Halleen Chevrolet Used Cars.
You might ask, what did I do to all these adults that they were so cruel to me? Well, I would sleep in the bean bag chair all morning since I was so sleep-deprived, and amazingly nobody would stop me, and sometimes, just to get away, I would also go crawl through an empty window pane next to a door and hang from the door so that nobody could see my legs and just hide there.
` I would also get into all sorts of physical scraps with the 'teachers', and in one such scrap, I actually ran out a side door of the school, and whoever was chasing me actually fell over as I hung onto the door and then shut it and the door locked them out!
` It was so exciting to me that I wrote lists of things I could do, like this one:
Most of us kids were unruly, so we all had our own lists of things to 'get' the teachers. Bill Bliss was notorious for his antics, and there was Big Dave ('David Dovid Salad Pizza Face'), who was a real idiot, but not worth picking on because of his size. I ran into Dave many years later, though, who was the one who told me that the school had been shut down after I had been kicked out because of the abuse.
` There was also Little Robert, who was usually well-behaved; another unruly red-haired Nick; Amar, who was from the Middle East or somewhere; Jason, who could barely read, but who I wrote simply-worded books starring a bobcat cartoon character similar to the one above; Anthony, whom I called Anch; and I think another one called Luke, and maybe more.
` All of them were boys, and besides a couple of girls in 'the other class' for a short time, I was the only girl on that end of the school! Presumably in order to make me feel better the 'teachers' told me that the previous year most of the students had been girls, but seeing as this is very unlikely, I didn't believe them. I still don't.
` Assholes. Just look at them:
Again, there's Mike and his Kent sweatshirt, the Scary and Evil Mr. G, Anne (a real 'bitch' this time), the Flower Faces, Colleen (a used car-a-pillar?), Allison Rafter (so ducking silly!) and this other lady, Sue, who for some reason I portrayed as part crustacean, part construction crane, and part French bread.
` I remember once that Mike and Mr. G were laughing about how I had behaved in front of a hidden camera (which was so badly that I don't even want to tell anyone!), and also that Mr. G once crumpled up my Best Composition Ever and threw it away and wouldn't let me get it out of the garbage before I missed my van! The same thing also happened to one of my best pictures of 'them' -- better than that one, probably!
` I also remember someone leading me into the office next to the classroom and trying to get me to drink some medication. I think it was Mike who said that my mother wanted me to take it. In recent years, I told her about this and she was shocked -- in real life, she said, they had suggested medicating me and she had laughed and said, "I don't think so, and she wouldn't take it anyway!"
My mom also told me that they had said I was a "really bad kid" and could never amount to anything, and my mom told them, "I'll let you know when Sara graduates from college."
` You know what's funny, I'm 29 and still haven't graduated from college, but it's only because of all the abuse, torture and other unbearable experiences I've had to pull myself through -- no thanks to other people who were supposed to be helping me -- not to mention I didn't start college until I was 24 and had to put up with a lot of abuse during my schooling. So, I've had a lot of things slowing me down, but as it is, I only need five more credits before I can get my transfer degree!
` I'm so close to graduating from community college, and I'm going to see an adviser about transferring to a four-year college, where I can then Fully Graduate From College! Maybe then I can look up ol' Mr. G and Mike and gloat at them. Bitchez!