I just had to get to that school …

I turned five in July 1953. All I could talk about was going to kindergarten in September. Two months was
forever. I kept asking my mother if it were time to leave for school. Every time I was in the car with my
parents, they would drive me by Regent Avenue School and point it out.

One day, I decided to venture there myself. It was quite a few blocks away, but I looked both ways and
then came upon this beautiful oasis, found an open door and walked in.  I looked around and saw a
bunch of kids about my size and sauntered in.

There was the hustle and bustle of boys and girls milling about. I was the only unchaperoned one there. That didn’t stop me. Talk about a precocious child.
There were enormous blackboards adorning the walls. On top were the letters of the alphabet in capital
and lower case.

There stood a petite lady with long shiny black hair and strange shaped eyes; chestnut brown with
amber sparks. She smiled, introduced herself as Miss Kumakowa, and asked my name.  “Mary
A finger-painting station with primary colors filled ginger jars. Brushes were lined up to paint on the
canvas. Next to it were boxes of Crayola crayons. Children’s chairs were placed in a semi-circle in
another corner, apparently for story time. Alphabet blocks were piled into a pyramid shaped triangle.
My eyes darted to a bunch of empty Quaker Oats boxes. It really piqued my curiosity and was told we
were going to make Tom Tom’s out of them.  My little tummy was doing somersaults.

I exited the school and walked home to get my mother. I will never forget this red-letter day.