My first memories of poetry come from my second-grade teacher. This woman was meaner than mean and yelled at students regularly because she probably should’ve retired five years earlier. (Case in point: She screamed at me in front of the class because I regrouped 108-9 incorrectly at the blackboard.) She wasn’t too perceptive since she never caught on to me fake reading all year long.
But, if there’s one thing she did right, it’s that she read aloud to us regularly. I don’t remember much of what she shared with us that year, but I do remember her reading poems aloud from Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic. I couldn’t rhyme like Shel Silverstein, but I LOVED it when my teacher read aloud to us from his books!
It’s been nearly 40 years since I finished second grade. I still have an appreciation for Shel Silverstein’s books. So when Ari and I decided to go for an after dinner walk tonight, we talked about going around the block. The sun was setting and we wanted to see more so we decided to walk to the end of our neighborhood. Finally, when I realized he had enough steam, I asked Ari, “Would you like to walk to where the sidewalk ends?”
“Yes! Let’s go to where the sidewalk ends!” (He doesn’t know Silverstein’s book yet. There are some things I try to save for his future elementary school teachers to introduce to him.)
It was the sweetest little response. And even though he doesn’t realize that he recited a book title, he knew exactly where to walk to — and where to stop — before turning around and heading home.