Me, 4rd grade 1983 Private school Class Pic ( I am Front Row Center), Emanuel Lutheran School (my sister Liz, also went there 3 yrs ahead of me), Mrs. Flamminn - my warmest and most caring teacher I think. She really was kind to me and everyone.
That was a good year in my mind. I went to this school from Kindergarten thru 6th grade with almost the same kids throughout the time. I remember 75% of their full names. I remember the look and smell of each of the 7 classrooms I was in over those years, my desk position in the class, and my general feelings, emotions, and thoughts during each year. Dwayne Thompson (3rd from left back row) was my 1st school friend 1st day of school at 5 yrs old. Of Note in this pic: I was probably pretty thrilled to be seated in front right next to my 1st crush Heather Blum (directly on the left of me), was chasing her the first day of Kindergarten all the way until 6th grade ended. Of course we dated for a very very short period, but most of the 7 yers was chasing HAHAHAA. But then that year, there was a new girl (2nd Row far right) forget her name now, Amy Schroeder,…. She was sophisticated and spunky but only was there only that one year which wasn’t long enough for her to fully realize my charms, in other words she wasn't fully feeling the romance with me:). I had a little hand holding event with Karen Rhodie 5th from left 2nd row, but Heather was the one and unfortunately I wasn't the only one who felt that way.
I remember my school principle, Mr. Albert, thought I was a trouble maker as I had been to sent to his office for each of these fights. Mrs. Flammann went on maternity leave, so we had the Mr. Albert as sub teacher for a while and he was very strict. What was interesting was he quickly realized that I was smart and I became his favorite student. That would help me later on as I would get in some trouble later in 5th and 6th grade too:)
Do I regret these childhood fights? I regret having to have them! I honestly didn't and don't have regret about having those fights, as they weren't really a choice in my mind, In each instance, I was angry and it wasn't really even a decision about fighting, it was going to happen then and there. I was called “Chinaman” and “Chink”, my whole life, even by people who later became my close friends. That was the landscape I was living in in middle class Coram, NY. The perhaps perplexing and strange thing is looking back now, it was meant to be that way and I was meant to be the only or one of the few asian people everyone I met in my life growing up would have encountered.
Back row 1st on left Aimee Bianca, who was the smartest I think and she had skipped up a grade too. Her brother Jeff was a year ahead of us and her great mom was a music teacher there. Aimee and Dwayne both went to the same public school after Emmanuel Lutheran. She eventually graduated from NYU and I still follow her and her lovely young son Instagram. Dwayne I am not sure where he went to school after, but I am sure he did, as he was a state champion wrestler and a strong athlete in high school. I saw Aimee and her brother Jeff in a NY bar during Thanksgiving one college year and she told me She and her family always tell several stories about my childhood days during Holiday diners! I have no doubt there are several families that still discuss and find universal humor in the follies of my young life. One other family would be the Castros. Nancy Castro (2nd row 4th from the left) was in my class for those 7 years and our parents were friends and over the years we would go on vacations together and I even would fill in at their restaurant when they needed help. I am pretty sure they bring up a story or several of my elementary school life as a family every once and again. Of course, I am glad I can entertain! Good times and for sure I was a FREE SPIRIT and a Peace Warrior!