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Entry 9 -- Cabbage Rolls

Aunt Aliza celebrated the first day of school by making cabbage rolls for dinner. I guess she somehow knew we needed to celebrate. Back in Duluth, which is where I come from, my real mother made sweet and sour meatballs, but Aunt Aliza makes real cabbage rolls.

I smelled the cabbage rolls cooking as I sat in my room conjugating verbs for French and later doing little mini geometry questions with axioms. By the end of the week we might be building our first proofs. Proofs are like towers of logic made with words and drawings. I like towers even when they are just on paper. I even like building with Legos and sometimes I'll play legos with my brother if it's just the two of us. Don't tell anybody.

Dad knocked on my door asking me to come to dinner. He always did that. "Did you wash your hands, Oisin?" Aunt Aliza asked me. I hadn't, so I had to wash them at the kitchen sink. So too did Stasch. There were not just cabbage rolls, but also extra rice and salad with Thousand Island dressing (my favorite dressing) with dinner. There were even roast peppers for the salad. This would have been great but...

"So how was school today?" dad asked me.

Now how can I answer that? First, I could tell my parents about the assholes, but there is nothing any one can do about assholes. They are a fact of life so they are boring.

More sadly though I could not tell my parents that I had learned to conjugate a new class of French verbs. My parents had either two or three years of Spanish and have forgotten everything. How can I tell my parents that I need an economics book that uses algebra, when they had algebra and maybe geometry and were miserable in it. I'm going to be taking intermediate algebra and trigonometry, precalculus and either AB or BC calculus some day. Joshua Goldfarb explained to me alla bout AP courses. Joshua is a very good influence. He is the king of social studies and history.

"I'm making an organizer for my room in shop," I told dad and Aunt Aliza.

"And what about your other subjects?" it was Aunt Aliza's turn to probe.

"French is good. Josh and I want to get a room where we can practice at lunch. The cafeteria is too noisey."

Aunt Aliza raised her eyebrows. "Who's idea was that?" she asked.

"Josh'," I replied. "But I'm doing the asking."

"Oysin," asked Aunt Aliza. "Do you think you'd like to take French 4 some day."

"The computer program doesn't offer any French after third year," I replied. Unless the school hired a teacher or even a part time teacher, all the French kids were screwed.

"Would you take French 4 if there was a way for you to take it?" my stepmother continued to drill me.

"Sure," I said. "French is a good subject."

My father and stepmother exchanged looks. "I'll need you to babysit for Stasch then Saturday night. We've been invited to the Goldfarbs to discuss getting a bond issue on the ballot to hire a French teacher and a physics teacher for the high school."

"Wow!" I replied.

My dad laughed. "This is the first kid I've seen who's excited about school," he chuckled.

"I knew some girls like that," answered Aunt Aliza who smiled at me. I could tell she was just a little bit proud. "Some day Stasch," I said. "You're going to take five years of a language and physics and AP subjects too."

Stasch blinked. He didn't like the food and had left half of it on his plate, but he was not running all over the kitchen and making a disturbance. "You're just in first grade so it's a long way off, but we'll have things all settled for you by the time you reach high school."

"This will be some family then," sighed my dad and I was not sure what he meant. Then he said: "I don't mind paying taxes if there is something in it for my own son."

"Don't leave Stasch out," I reminded dad.

"OK, for Stasch too. I just wish I knew where you got this academic bug from," dad said.

He fortunately did not say it was the kids I hung out with. Yes, Joshua Goldfarb had educated parents, but Atalaya Grimsley's parents weren't academics and Koli Marshall came from Myrtle Hollow. Her mother had her at age seventeen. Then Lenny's father owned a shoe store in town and the other kids were from all over the place. We were good because we stuck together and had friendly competition with each other like some kids do at open gym or intermural basketball. It's a pity that grownups never understand something that is so simple.

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