Chris Pecora

Grade 2 Stuff

Silk roads and war.

By Fred Stenson

My name is Ginnie. I am 6 years old. I’ll be 7 on October 10. That’s my birthday. I’m going to be in Grade 2 soon. My favourite part of school is recess. The next best thing in Grade 1 was that I learned about my family and also about my community, which is where I live with lots of families. Some families are like my family. Some are not. I learned to ask my grandparents if they had come from another country. Mom’s parents came from here. My dad’s dad came from Italy, which is a country across an ocean. Like where the wild things are.

Then Grade 1 stopped. We have summer now and then I will go back to school and be in Grade 2. I asked my mom what will happen in Grade 2. She said they were changing it and it would be new. New how, I asked, so she told me some of the things. Instead of my family and community, I will get to learn about a silk road! No kidding. One of my grandmas has a silk top. It’s really smooth and shines. So I really want to hear about a whole road made out of silk. That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard about. And there’s a thing called Demo. Demo Crossy. And there’s Polly Ticks. I know about ticks. When you go on a car ride and then walk in a lot of grass, your mom looks for ticks on your legs. So I think it will be a tick named Polly and I won’t like her. Mom says Demo Crossy and the Polly Ticks got here with the Greeks. I know a Greek. He’s my dad’s friend and his name is Gus. I think I’d rather go back to learning about my community.

All of school can’t be fun. You can’t just count to 10 really fast all the time. One day you get the plague. Another day you get the silk road. Dad says that’s life.

Mom told me too that we’d learn about religions and how they are different. I think this is churches. I’ve been to two. Both had a bad smell. My mother said it was a thing called wax. I suppose we’ll learn about the wax. I know churches are different. The two I saw, one was big and one was smaller. You couldn’t talk. One of the churches is called Is Lam, and that sounds like fun. I’ve seen a lamb. It was woolly and cute. It was on a farm we went to.

Mom told me there’s stuff about “Civil-Eyes-A-Shun.” That’s a hard word. We’ll learn about Jeng Just Con. He was a king. He got in big fights. Really big fights are called war. Lots of people get hurt. I hope we go to a farm and see the lamb instead.

But that’s not all there’ll be in Grade 2. Mom says there’ll be math, which is numbers. After Grade 1, I can count to 10 really fast. There’s also “time,” which is like when dad says, “It’s time to go.” So I know about that. But Mom says time is like a clock too. We have a clock. Mom says it moves, but she’s wrong. It’s always on the shelf in the kitchen. The clock is good for numbers because sometimes it will have a 2 and then when I come back it might be a 3 or a 7. So that’s time. That could be fun.

Mom says one of the things that’s new in Grade 2 is they will tell us lots of “dates.” Dates are made of numbers, just like the clock, and dates are about time. But you have to remember the dates and then they ask you to tell them what they were. I’m not sure I’m going to like that, even though I can count to 10 really fast.

I’ll still be happy if there’s lots about the silk road. I know that’s going to be the best part. Better than mean old Jeng Just Con having wars and hurting people. Mom says there’s a part too about “plague.” I asked her what plague is and she says COVID-19 is a plague. I’m really tired of Mom and Dad and teachers and everybody talking about COVID-19. I can’t believe that’s going to be in Grade 2. I don’t want to do that part.

Mom says, and Dad says too, that all of school can’t be fun. You can’t just count to 10 really fast all the time. You have to keep learning more and more. One day you get the plague. Another day you get the silk road. Dad says that’s life.

Oh! Am I ever mad now! I just went and asked Mom if she knew if we would talk about the silk road first when I go back to school. And she said there probably won’t even be a silk road! Everything she told me about Grade 2 is wrong! They’re going to change it “back” because nobody likes the new stuff. Everybody says it’s too hard for Grade 2. That makes me cry. It’s not too hard! I can close my eyes and see a silk road! It’s blue and it’s really shiny and it goes right up the hill and down and then up again and down again. It keeps right on going up and down until it’s just tiny and you can’t see it at all.

I wish my mom wouldn’t tell me things if they’re just
gonna change.

My best friend told me a scary thing. Way long ago, maybe even a year ago, whatever a year is, kids had to go to school and not come home! They had to stay a really long time. They had to sleep there, in one big room, and their parents couldn’t come see them. They got so sad they got sick. That made me cry, but I still want to hear more about it. Being mean to kids is bad and wrong. If everything is going to be different about Grade 2, maybe they will tell us about the bad schools that made kids sad and sick.

Fred Stenson’s novels include Who By Fire, The Trade, Lightning and The Great Karoo.

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