1/30/2008

A is for Alphabet

His name is Antwan and he knows the first letter of the alphabet is ‘A.’

The notepad he came with has paper like coloring books, rough, and lines both bold and dashed, like a road. He also came with a pencil twice the diameter of a regular pencil, with a chunky black smudged eraser and a rounded point. This is why I use mechanical.

I take up the baton of a pencil and draw two lines, joined at the top, and then a smaller one connecting them midway down. A

“Now you try”

He brought his nose within an inch of the page and copied my letter.

Well, he drew a lopsided triangle.

“That’s pretty good, Antwan” (I lied) “but the letter A is like a tipi and if the door is on the ground, how will the Indians get in?”

He doesn’t know yet that ‘Indian’ really refers to India. ‘Native American’ would be the more PC term. Also, most Native Americans didn’t use tipis.

I draw another ‘A’, the tipi door half way up so “Indians” can get in and out.

“Ok, ok. I got this on lock.” He’s in first grade, but he’s got this “on lock.”

He puts his head down again and gives it another go. Must be really concentrating. I look around at other kids on C and D, mastering their curves. One girl is working on the intricacies of E already. Nerd. A is for Antwan so it’s really important that he get the first letter down.

I look over again and he’s still hunched over his notebook. Baton swirling, flipping, erasing, flipping. There’s no way it takes this long to make three lines, unless he’s pulling a DiVinci and making sure his angles are right on, lines crisp (as crisp as you can make with such a bulky instrument).

“There.”

He drew an A alright- complete with hieroglyphics, a buffalo, and an Indian opening the door of his tipi.

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