For the life of me, I could not figure out why the proctor walked by my desk and tap, tap, tapped on the edge with his pencil.
Then he did it again.
As early as high school, it would sometimes amaze me how I made it through the day.
We had just been instructed to open the blue booklet for one of my four — or was it five? — regent exams. Regents were and still are required of all graduating high school seniors in New York who hoped to pursue a higher education.
Regent exams are nothing to joke about or laugh at. Each exam covers the four years you spent cramming in high school. Each covers four years of one major topic: science, foreign language, math and so on.
The assumption (and we all know what this means) made by the Board of Regents is students not only learned, but also maintained what we learned.
This board also assumed that the information being eagerly disseminated by our teachers took hold in our brains. Brains that were still in their developmental, sometimes fluctuating, always hormonal stages.
The brains’ changes were so quick that whiplash was a real concern.
I can happily share a few memories my brain did absorb:
- Gang wars between the Fordham Baldies and anyone else.
- Seeing and holding my first zip gun (remember those?).
- Cheering my heart out for our basketball team.
- Basketball players trying to open the locked door to our changing room.
- Waiting for an even number of nuns or an odd number of fathers to pass by while we studied on the Fordham University campus. Wonder why this was important? For good luck, of course.
- Receiving accolades and flowers for our theater performances.
- Gathering after school with friends to talk about other friends. What else does a teenager talk about?
Well, boys of course; however, this could also cause angst. We were looking for giggles.
I had a wonderful group of friends, with names like Miriam, Diane (z”l), Jana, Janet, Judy (OMG, I hope I did not forget anyone — my rememberings are not what they used to be).
I Grew Up in the Bronx is a fun Facebook group I’ve joined. Members ask questions that challenge the memory. Like tracks for the trolley car, radio alarm clocks, the vegetable peeler, schoolyard, Lowe’s Paradise, Yankee Stadium, and Jahn’s, where I just happened to get engaged, so of course I remember it well.
So how do I get through a day?
Well, I hope you are dying to know, given that this entire missive leads to this burning question.
It takes a village!
I have my peeps tapping on my desk (virtually) to keep me straight. My hubby, my girls, my son-in-loves, my grandbabies, my two adored sisters, 37 years of patient colleagues, devoted friends (you surely know who you are) and Post-It notes.
Oh, lest we forget, the proctor who, by the mere tapping of his pencil, made it possible for me to pursue higher education.
One of the rules of the regent exams: READ CAREFULLY. All information on the first page of the booklet MUST BE CORRECT. You may not put your first name where your last name is required. This would lead to automatic failure.
Need I say more?
To this very day, I can hear the tap-tap-tapping, and it usually arrives in the nick of time.
To this very day, if I see a blue exam booklet, I do not walk, but run home to inhale my Paxil.