I was always a year younger than any of my classmates. I hadn’t skipped a grade, but I had started school at age four in Buffalo, New York because that school system had a grade between kindergarten and first grade. A month after school began, my family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and my mother asked the school department to let me join the kindergarten class at the local elementary school. She pleaded with them, saying that since I had started school in Buffalo four weeks earlier, I should be able to go to school in Cincinnati.
The Cincinnati Board of Education said I could be tested to see if I was kindergarten-ready, and I passed. I’d like to say that I passed with flying colors, but the only thing I remember is the picture of two baby shoes and the question was “What’s missing from one of them?” Answer “a shoelace.” I got that and probably some others right and became the youngest person in my class.
I had no problem academically, but when I turned fifteen and all my friends started to drive, I was pretty miserable. What seemed like eons later, when I turned sixteen, I passed my driver’s test in three weeks—probably the most motivated studying I’ve ever done.
Age-wise, all went well until all my friends turned twenty-one. Pretty obvious why that was a problem for me.
My attitude toward being too young has changed of late. In February, one of my friends whom I have known since I was four is turning seventy-five.
I can wait for that, thank you very much.