Back in the 1960s, it was pretty much a parental decision in terms of when one’s child would start school. I’ve heard they have strict rules now, but if your parents were sick of you driving them nuts around the house, they could sign you up for school at the drop of a hat. That’s pretty much what happened to me when my parents enrolled me in kindergarten at Oriole Lane School back in 1966.
I lived in an idyllic place called Mequon, Wisconsin which was about an even mixture of honest, hard-working farmers, blue-collar folks, and college graduates who wanted to live in a place where they could raise their kids right. It was so idyllic in fact that my kindergarten teacher’s name was Mrs. Apple. Seriously. If my memory serves (sort of), Mrs. Apple was a really sweet 20-something woman who had all the business in the world teaching kindergarten. She was kind, relaxed, had a very chill demeanor in general and could totally relate to young children.
I really liked Mrs. Apple a lot (as did all the kids), but there was a problem in my head when she would declare that it was “naptime” around 11am. I was a very energetic young boy (some things never change!), and I was very perplexed by a “naptime” so early in the day. It didn’t register in my young mind that it could possibly be “naptime” if I weren’t even tired. However, it did register that someone else could not assume the power to make me take a nap against my will. Apparently, the hard wiring in my brain was different than that of the other kids. Although I didn’t have a word for it yet, I realized I was a libertarian at that moment.
Mrs. Apple and I went back and forth about the absurdity of taking a nap if you weren’t tired for a week or so, and she (and my Mom!) eventually convinced me that it would be best for the class (now known to me as “the collective” or “society”) if I would lay down quietly on my mat like a good little chimpanzee and pretend to nap so none of the rest of the chimps would get any ideas about questioning authority. And 52 years later, only I decide when I’m going to ‘take a nap” or wake everyone else the fuck up!!!