4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

I Wanted to Crawl into My Mittens

The soft cotton kept me from getting a grip on the slide.

I don't remember much from my childhood. Why this is, I don't know. I was happy; I remember that much. I came from an intact, loving, financially stable home. But when I go poking around my childhood memories, I usually get little more than puzzle pieces. My husband teases me about my drawn blanks, says I must have taken a lot of drugs in my misspent youth.

When I push hard, the first memory that comes to me, the one that's completely mine and not inspired by black-and-white photos in my mother's family album, is the first time I wore my Minnie Mouse mittens. They were a birthday gift from my grandmother. Minnie's face adorned the top half of the mitten; her cheeks were round, her face flesh-toned. Her pointed nose rose up from the mitten, held on by stitching. Her round black ears, decorated with polka-dotted red bows, jutted out from the top. A matching dress covered the palm.

It was not quite cold enough for mittens, but I was desperate to slide my paws into them. Mom was sending me off to the first day of preschool, and I was going to wear my mittens. The ground was damp and muddy -- we'd had several days of rain -- and the sky was gray and drizzly. But the weathermen said there would be sun in the afternoon. Mom told me this in an effort to dissuade me from wearing my Minnies, but I was determined, and Mom relented. She slipped me into a pink jacket, and I slipped into my red mittens.

As we drove to the school -- five blocks away -- I wasn't nervous at all. I was concentrating on the mittens, stroking the bows, lost in Minnie's vast white eyes and oval black pupils. The preschool was attached to a starkly white Presbyterian church. I stared up at the angular steeple; it seemed a mile high. I turned my eyes back to Minnie's eyes. I touched the soft cotton fibers and ran one mittened finger in a circular motion around one eye. Mom escorted me into the school, found a seat for me in a squat, orange plastic chair, took my jacket and mittens, and hung them on a wooden peg next to about 12 other jackets. My jacket hung at the end of the row; I was glad I could see my mittens, dangling from a black cotton string slung over the jacket. My mother kissed me and left.

I don't remember what we did that first morning. I do remember that I wanted to crawl into my mittens and be cuddly and cozy. When the teacher announced outside playtime at recess, I was thrilled. We were told to get our jackets and line up. The sun was shining, but I was already twiddling Minnie's nose with my thumb as we waited in line. I was anxious to leave the room and its warm, salty smell.

The air smelled sweet and cool when we got outside. I pondered the playground. The monkey bars -- no good. My mittens would make me slip. The swing would be fine though. I wouldn't have to worry about my fingers getting pinched in the chains; Minnie would protect me.

After a while, I considered the slide: metal, massive, hulking, its top half covered by a shiny, dented metal dome. I wasn't scared; I liked heights. Climbing was exciting for me. The slide dared me. I dared back. I decided to slide headfirst, hands extended. Before I reached the end, I would slow myself by grabbing the sides of the slide. At the bottom, a ditch had been carved out by hundreds of tiny feet as they flew off the slide; the rain had slid into the ditch and left it gooey with mud.

As I neared the bottom, Minnie betrayed me. The soft cotton of the mittens kept me from getting a grip; I couldn't stop. I sailed headfirst off the end of the slide and plunged Minnie's face into the muck. The fibers sucked cold wetness onto my hands. I untoppled myself and stared at the mittens, at Minnie's eyes, now brown and gritty. Tears poured from my own eyes; I couldn't stop crying. The teacher took me inside.

She pulled the mittens off and told me to wash my hands. She rinsed the mittens in a large metal sink and hung them over the center divide to drip dry. Minnie's eyes were still a dingy brown, and her ears drooped. The bows were crooked. The water dripped from the mittens; tears kept flowing from my eyes. I wanted to go home. I hoped my mother would come to get me soon.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Flowers and Views at Carmel Mountain Preserve, Warwick’s Author Livestream: Amy Jo Burns

Events May 22-May 26, 2021

I don't remember much from my childhood. Why this is, I don't know. I was happy; I remember that much. I came from an intact, loving, financially stable home. But when I go poking around my childhood memories, I usually get little more than puzzle pieces. My husband teases me about my drawn blanks, says I must have taken a lot of drugs in my misspent youth.

When I push hard, the first memory that comes to me, the one that's completely mine and not inspired by black-and-white photos in my mother's family album, is the first time I wore my Minnie Mouse mittens. They were a birthday gift from my grandmother. Minnie's face adorned the top half of the mitten; her cheeks were round, her face flesh-toned. Her pointed nose rose up from the mitten, held on by stitching. Her round black ears, decorated with polka-dotted red bows, jutted out from the top. A matching dress covered the palm.

It was not quite cold enough for mittens, but I was desperate to slide my paws into them. Mom was sending me off to the first day of preschool, and I was going to wear my mittens. The ground was damp and muddy -- we'd had several days of rain -- and the sky was gray and drizzly. But the weathermen said there would be sun in the afternoon. Mom told me this in an effort to dissuade me from wearing my Minnies, but I was determined, and Mom relented. She slipped me into a pink jacket, and I slipped into my red mittens.

As we drove to the school -- five blocks away -- I wasn't nervous at all. I was concentrating on the mittens, stroking the bows, lost in Minnie's vast white eyes and oval black pupils. The preschool was attached to a starkly white Presbyterian church. I stared up at the angular steeple; it seemed a mile high. I turned my eyes back to Minnie's eyes. I touched the soft cotton fibers and ran one mittened finger in a circular motion around one eye. Mom escorted me into the school, found a seat for me in a squat, orange plastic chair, took my jacket and mittens, and hung them on a wooden peg next to about 12 other jackets. My jacket hung at the end of the row; I was glad I could see my mittens, dangling from a black cotton string slung over the jacket. My mother kissed me and left.

I don't remember what we did that first morning. I do remember that I wanted to crawl into my mittens and be cuddly and cozy. When the teacher announced outside playtime at recess, I was thrilled. We were told to get our jackets and line up. The sun was shining, but I was already twiddling Minnie's nose with my thumb as we waited in line. I was anxious to leave the room and its warm, salty smell.

The air smelled sweet and cool when we got outside. I pondered the playground. The monkey bars -- no good. My mittens would make me slip. The swing would be fine though. I wouldn't have to worry about my fingers getting pinched in the chains; Minnie would protect me.

After a while, I considered the slide: metal, massive, hulking, its top half covered by a shiny, dented metal dome. I wasn't scared; I liked heights. Climbing was exciting for me. The slide dared me. I dared back. I decided to slide headfirst, hands extended. Before I reached the end, I would slow myself by grabbing the sides of the slide. At the bottom, a ditch had been carved out by hundreds of tiny feet as they flew off the slide; the rain had slid into the ditch and left it gooey with mud.

As I neared the bottom, Minnie betrayed me. The soft cotton of the mittens kept me from getting a grip; I couldn't stop. I sailed headfirst off the end of the slide and plunged Minnie's face into the muck. The fibers sucked cold wetness onto my hands. I untoppled myself and stared at the mittens, at Minnie's eyes, now brown and gritty. Tears poured from my own eyes; I couldn't stop crying. The teacher took me inside.

She pulled the mittens off and told me to wash my hands. She rinsed the mittens in a large metal sink and hung them over the center divide to drip dry. Minnie's eyes were still a dingy brown, and her ears drooped. The bows were crooked. The water dripped from the mittens; tears kept flowing from my eyes. I wanted to go home. I hoped my mother would come to get me soon.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Biden dispatches Antifa and other protesters to crisis zone

Border Order
Next Article

Coffee shop sermon

I’ve had some in-depth conversations about theology, culture and scripture.
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close