The Year I Became “The Clever Kid”

My Real Memoir

I’d officially moved to the Big Kid’s Side of the campus. La Pluma School had an invisible barrier, a Ye-Shall-Not-Pass line separating K-through-2nd (the Little Kids Side) and 3rd-through-6th (the Big Kids Side). When we were second-graders, we’d sometimes test the line by putting our foot over to see if we were instantly vaporized, or worse, “pounded” by a Big Kid.

Mostly, we just got menacing looks, but those were enough to keep us in our ghetto–which had all the fun stuff anyway: Monkey Bars, Jungle Gyms, and massive Swing Sets that could launch you into orbit if you pumped hard enough! (Confession: My buddies Jeff and Rory and I would often sneak over there after school and devolve back into Little Kids. After all, nothing will ever beat “bailing out” of a super-high swing!)

But being a Big Kid meant abandoning “Play” in favor of “Sports” (which, confusingly, was something you “played”). We now did Four Square, Tetherball, Basketball, and Kickball (aka soccer-baseball or football rounder). Kickball was the only sport I ever really loved and excelled at—until they replaced it with softball and finally baseball, both of which I suckcelled at (I had virtually no hand-eye coordination). Not fair! I could have been a World Kickball Cup champion!

But, alas, it was not meant to be.

So instead, I became The Clever Kid, the one whose artwork was perpetually praised by Mrs. Gibbons. Which should have made me a loathsome teacher’s pet. Except for one thing: I’d also developed a flair for storytelling, probably as a result of being a ravenous reader. Plus, I could do Funny Voices. But the real hook was that Mrs. Gibbons also liked my storytelling. And so, whenever the class behaved well during Quiet Time, she would reward them by having me tell a story! I was particularly good at doing Uncle Remus characters (anathema nowadays). Heck, I was up there with Oreos and milk!

Looking back, it seems somewhere between eight and nine-years-old my personality began to gel into the Mesozoic version of what I’d eventually become. Yes, the proverbial “roar of the greasepaint and smell of the crowd” got to me. A little too much, actually—I later learned to live for something more significant. But for a time, the only thing I loved more than becoming a Big Kid, was becoming…

The Clever Kid.

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to The Year I Became “The Clever Kid”

  1. Pingback: I Was a Daredevil Paperboy! | Mitch Teemley

  2. murisopsis says:

    We had a clever kid in my class – but it wasn’t me. I was the “smart one” as in “She’s the smart one” so I always got paired to help someone who just didn’t get it. I only was paired with the clever kid once and we had to be separated because we were laughing so hard! He always wanted to make people laugh and I think I was the only one who made him laugh! We were friends until junior high when our paths went in different directions.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Your artwork did trump your spelling that year! Love your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. robertcday says:

    Mrs. Gibbons was right – you are a pretty good story-teller. 😇

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mic says:

    👌👌👌✒ perfect

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ejstoo says:

    I don’t think I ever got to be the clever kid…but I did get dubbed the ‘smart kid’ a few times when my aunt and my mother decided to use names that were given to them as kids (the smart one, the pretty one, the handsome one…). I also was told not to have a ‘smart mouth’ by my parents 😀 Not exactly the same thing 🙂 Nice story. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I never made it past Class Clown.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Swing Sets that could launch you into orbit if you pumped hard enough!” Wow, Mitch, what a memorable, wonder years, moment you’ve recreated in that one sentence; my classmates and I tried that, too. Overall, a very enjoyable read!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Matilda Novak says:

    You were So Cute!!
    and Clever of course….
    i love reading the story of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mrs. Gibbons had a great plan for letting you be “teacher’s pet” without the other kids’ resenting you. Way to go, Mrs. G.!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jennie says:

    I hope you have tried to find Mrs. Gibbons to thank her. Great story, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

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