Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Look Back: The Life of Daniel F. Ford
Chapter 4: My Early School Years

I combed through my personal archives to get a sense of the person I was in order to understand the person I am. I unearthed an autobiography I was assigned to write in the 8th grade. For the next several weeks, I’ll be publishing each chapter of the book

As I started school, I found out that life was not always easy.

As I told you in the last chapter , it was hard to leave the home I hadn’t left for any extended period of time since I was born. 

Entering the age of five, times had changed. My Mémère had died and her house sold. I myself moved into a house and started my second year of nursery school. But not all the times were bad. The best times were when we went to Frenchville, Maine. The car ride there is 12 hours, but it’s worth it. 

Kindergarten yearbook picture
There were of course obstacles that life threw out, but I somehow conquered them all. After first and second grade, I entered into third grade hoping that my life would settle down. I had had a girlfriend, but we broke up because of a misunderstanding and still to this day I don’t know the reason (editorial note: good grief). 

About halfway through the school year, I started to go out with a girl—we weren’t really going out, but you know what I mean. One day, she approached me and asked if I would marry her. I thought it was a joke, so I played along. The next day, someone made fake invitations. I started to think the joke was going to far, but I still played along. In art class the next day, the art teacher asked the girl who her bridesmaids were going to be. I spun around and asked, “How do you know about all this?” My third grade teacher walked in the room and said, “We all know.” So needless to say, I was humiliated. 

Ivy Drive School
This was my elementary school from kindergarten through third grade.
That was just the beginning. Toward the end of the year, I made another obstacle seem harder than it seemed. We had to write birthday cards to people on their birthday. On this occasion, it was Kevin Gesner’s birthday. I wrote him a card that had an insult in it (editorial note: I learned how to swear in third grade. I called him an asshole). His mother found out and told the principal. He came down to my classroom and gave me a lecture on how to write a proper birthday card. 

It wasn’t until around this time that my younger brother Patrick could play Wiffle ball with me, and I found out baseball was the meaning of life. The first year playing with him, I won the World Series but hit only one homerun. In fourth grade, I pounded out 120 homeruns to double Babe Ruth’s record. The next year I hit 125 homeruns to break my old record. This year, I won the World Series and blasted 200 homeruns during the season (editorial note: these numbers are actually entirely accurate). My brother is a great player, but takes losing kind of hard.

The boys in 1990
Tom, 14; Daniel, 7; Patrick 2
It was in second grade that I decided I wanted to be a writer. We were writing short stories and I got caught up in the thrill of books. I had written one before about a boy who found this magical make-believe land, but I never thought anything of it. I had an idea to write a story about a guy taking over the world, but I didn’t like the plot. I ended up doing a story about a lost bunny rabbit that saves his family. I have written so many more, but have not finished one. 

There has never been a time that I can recall when I have been really sick. I did have my share of colds and stomachaches, but never was really sick enough to be hospitalized. I guess I’m lucky (editorial note: depressing that my memory was crappy even back then. I was hospitalized when I was around one because of the flu and dehydration). 

I never had many secret spots or secrets. There is one thing though. One summer, my cousin Judy had a brilliant idea to create a time capsule. Judy, Patrick, and I—along with Judy’s next door neighbor Stacy (editorial note: who I naturally was in love with)—put things that were popular in 1994. We planned to bury the capsule in Stacy’s backyard and leave a map in my cousin’s house, so the next person who lived there would be able to find it. We also started a secret club that I could tell you about, but then I’d have to kill you! 

Badass (read: nerd-tastic) photo from fifth grade.
I was deathly afraid of anything loud. If a truck—or a fire truck in a parade—went by, I would cover my ears. My favorite comic book hero will always be Superman. I had a cape and used to pretend I was Superman. My favorite television shows were all the shows on Disney Afternoon (editorial note: Duck Tales, Talespin, and Rescue Rangers, bitches). My favorite book is still Where the Red Fern Grows, which was recommended to me by a close friend. 

Up next, my family.

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