Wednesday, September 14, 2011



I was really feeling the urgency so I screwed up the courage and tapped the girl on the shoulder in front of me to asked what one did when they had to go potty.

With a superior air she whispered," You raise your hand and ask the teacher if you can go to the basement. Then you can leave the classroom to go to the bathroom." Clearly a kindergarten graduate.

I was thrilled that "basement" replaced the word "tee-tee" so up shot my hand and I was given permission to leave the class room. Ah --except-- I didn't know where the basement was. I walked out into the hall way and I was all alone in the quiet. Up and down the many hall ways I walked but all I saw were half open doors to other class rooms.

She had said basement, so when I saw stairs leading down, I took them. Down into the bowels of the school I went. Some how I ended up in the boiler room with pipes, dust and huge machinery.
I was almost ready to squat behind a boiler but decided to keep looking. I did have a little couth though it was running out. A tall man in coveralls came into the room as I started to leave. He almost startled the pee out out me.

"What are you doing here?" he asked.

"Nothing. " I muttered into my chest. I wasn't about to tell a strange man of my problem so I scooted past him back up the stairs.

I had not cried when I first got to school but I was thinking seriously about it now. What was I to do? I had been gone quite a while when I finally found my way back to my room. I entered the only place I recognized and slid back into my seat with a severely stressed bladder. All of a sudden, it dawned on me, school stinks. This was torture.

"Ok children," the teacher announced," it is nap time."

With that, all the kids put their heads down on their desks and closed their eyes. The teacher then left the room, probably to go to that darned basement ,where ever it was.

I was in pain now and could wait no longer. I took advantage of the heads down. Carefully, I arranged my new dress around me so it over lapped the seat like a small flowered tent. Then I let it go. Fortunately or maybe not, the seats had indentations for our tiny butts, and I filled them up with warm pee. Nothing spilled over but I was miserable. The rest of the day I sat soaking in my own pee. Some how the glamor of learning tanked.

When the day finally ended and the rest of the kids had left the room, I slid carefully out of my seat to find, there was still a bit of a dampness left. I prayed it would dry by tomorrow.

My brother was waiting to walk me home and I let him prattle on about his day. I couldn't think of anything about my day I wanted anyone to know. I couldn't wait to get home and get out of my wet underwear.

Mother was confused by my quietness and sudden desire for a bath. I had the normal child aversion to water so that was extremely unusual. The most anyone could get out of me through out supper was an head down "OK." while my brothers carried the conversation ball with their adventures.
 Mother got me alone when it was time to tuck me and then the tear dam burst. It had almost the force of the pee hitting the chair. When I calmed down, she promised to go to school with me the next day and straighten out the bathroom situation. I was so relieved. school might not be a bad thing after all if I could just concentrate.

Then as my tears were drying, I traced my name on her arm to show how much I had learned. She was so impressed and I thought ---school might really be fun after all.

It was years later that my mother told me that she was actually thrilled that night to see my tears. She had been feeling so shut out by my eagerness for school and was just glad to be allowed to be a Mom again.

The next day I found out if I had just turned right going out the class room door instead of left, I would not have had a post today. Go figure.


So what did my first day teach me?  First off it taught me to locate the nearest bathroom no matter where I am.  A bit sadly, it erroneously  taught me that speed of accomplishing a task trumped care.  I carry that misconception today.  Then I learned something a lot of men have never learned, it doesn't belittle one to ask directions.  Lastly, I learned that those things you wish for that you are convinced will make your life all better, will need work when you get there. 


  1. So Erma Bombeck was right ~ everything you need to know in life you learn it in Kindergarten :) I only attended Kindergarten the last half of the year ... so that explains a LOT too! LOL ... great post!

  2. LOve the lessons you learnt ..and carried with you ...they really do translate into life today ...especially locating a loo

  3. That was a tender post. Lessons well learned.
    You have a good memory of early childhood. My whole grade school is a sketchy memory.
    Hope you are well now.

  4. Living in the backwoods southwest....we didn't have kindergarten. And I went to a school that starting from day one was like prison (poor Nuns). I love that you learned life lessons and that have held through the follow up years.
    You are just such a great story teller. I sure am glad you gave this super one a redux. Loved it. Oma Linda

  5. I had never heard the use of "Basement" for a bathroom until we moved to VT when I was nine and I was mightily confused as to why everyone seemed to want to go there.
    Some of the best learning is totally incidental to the classroom curriculum.

  6. Bless your little heart. First off the teacher should have explained to the entire class the first day, where the bathrooms were located. I remember ours were in the basement also, but so was our lunch room, everyone packed their lunches until about 5th. grade, then we were allowed to walk over to the other building and buy our lunch if we had the money. I usually packed. I remember how that lunch room smelled so bad of hard boiled eggs, but the oranges helped to make it smell a little better. I can't even remember what we drank if anything. Now a days, a lot of the elementary classes have a one person bathroom right off the class room, i guess for emergencies. I never went to Kindergarten, they didn't have it at my school, but I did have to take first grade two years, they started me at five, and my Mother being young and having another baby, never taught me my ABC's enough so I could even read a little. So my first year that's what I learned, more or less what most learn in Kindergarten today.

  7. Poor little tyke! I guess it really made an impression for you to be able to tell such a story so many years later. And I am on the other side of life where even a little sneeze can cause leakage, so I also locate bathrooms for the same reason!

  8. Oh, Patti. I can't believe that you somehow got away with nobody knowing that you peed in your chair; it could have doomed you. Love your analysis and life lessons summary. Your Mom is so nice.

    Kathy M.

  9. It took me a while to learn how to ask for directions. Now, David and I both check out the location of the toilets when we enter a new building. Times change us.

    Poor little girl with wet panties. I am sure she was not the first to have an accident. Dianne

  10. We didn't have kindergarten here, but when I was 5 we lived in Colorado for a couple of months and kindergarten was mandatory there. I'd never seen so much snow in my short life and was glad when we got back to Texas.

    I don't remember my first day in first grade at school for some reason. My husband doesn't remember his either. We were both only children and didn't have older siblings who were in school already. Mostly I was inconvienced by school. It got in the way of my time with my grandmother and playing dominoes. Later I liked school very much. I never understood fractions, but age 8 was a stressful year.

    School was close enough I could walk to and from school. I was reading a McMurtry book last night and he described a blue norther and a sand storm so vividly I could nearly feel the sand in the bed with me.

    We were in one of our famous droughts when I was in elementary school, so from time to time I had to deal with the elements on my walk home. I knew if there was a sandstorm my mother would be very upset and it always seemed to happen when she had washed and hung the laundry out or had just cleaned the windows. My mother wasn't a real warm fuzzy mom.

    Oh yes, I have never had a pop up problem coming to your page.

  11. be a child again.

    Wonderful post! I have few good memories of school. I have peed my pants (and worse), got caught in the halls repeatedly without one of those stupid passes, had my butt spanked and paddled, got Fs in conduct (it's true) and benefitted from what I would now regard as "social promotions". I hated school.

    Funny, isn't it, that I would love to be able to go back and do it all again (knowing what I know now, of course!)

    But I am happy about your peeing your pants because it gave you a great blog idea years later!

  12. I went back to read Part Ome, my dear Patti....School---This brings back memories of anxiety, fear, nausua and NOT eating Breakfast for twelve years.
    And I DID go to Kindergarten...(lol)

    How humiliating school can be---and if you are a sensitive person--It can be crushing! The Happiest Day of my young life was graduating High School....And then, I never had to go to school again, unless I really wanted to.

    I cannot imagine how horrendous that had to be to pee right there in your chair....That is a Trauma I'm not sure I would have ever gotten over....
    Wonderful Posts, Patti...!

  13. I didn't go to kindergarten, first grade was scary enough! I didn't pee my pants, but a fellow classmate did. We were a cruel bunch and laughed at the puddle on the floor. This was in a one room school I attended the first 6 years. So I'm sure it must have been more humiliating than ever for the older kids to be laughing too. Great post, Patti! I'm so glad that you were able to sit there without anyone knowing what had happened!

  14. mel,
    If I had gone to kindergarten, first grade would have been a breeze. At least you were half way there.

    That one is probably the one that has never left me for a minute.

    Doing pretty good thank you. I only remember the very good, the funny and the not so funny.

    Thank you. Wasn't sure about a redux but it had been posted so long ago when only a handful knew my name.

    Well I was from Florida and we didn't even have basements. Still not sure why schools put their bathrooms there.

    I guess she thought we were all kindergarten graduates and knew where everything was.
    Having a toilet in the class room is a great idea.

    If I didn't find it funny today, I would say that day scarred me. Fortunately none of the other kids knew of my puddle.

    Oregon gifts.
    Well when every one got up for various reasons, I just stewed in my own juice. Pretty sure that guy in overalls discovered the puddle when he swept up.

    Oh I am sure many others have done the deed, I am just one to put it on the Internet for all to see.

    Amber Star
    Eeeww, sand in the bed. You really got to experience really severe extremes. I do like McMurtry also.

    It was good enough to remember 66 years later.

    Finally, another peeier. Thanks for making me not feel so alone.
    Actually, you sounded a lot like a lot of the guys I went to school with.
    It sure didn't harm you at all.

    Actually, my mom and the teacher when she found out, made it not so traumatic. I adored school after that first day. So sorry your years weren't much fun.

    Linda Myers,
    Ha ha Now that would have been an interesting twist and a better if more embarassing story.

    Oh that poor kid. I wonder if he is blogging today. The old saying, "if it doesn't kill you it will make you stronger". He must be a tough fellow today.

  15. Oh, Patti, this reminded me of a first grade experience of peeing my pants walking home from school. I just stood on the corner and had to release my bladder - no way I was going to make it home. I remember that it ran down my legs and soaked into my socks and saturated my tennis shoes. I made little wet footprints the rest of the way home. That memory has stayed strong for 61 years!

  16. This is a great story. I like to think that teachers are more sensitive today and make sure children know where the bathrooms are located on day one.

  17. Another wonderful remembrance. I, too, had a 'wet panties' episode in first grade; unforgettable, but I fear I didn't learn the same life lessons until I was much, much older.

  18. I remember my fear at school was not knowing where everything was, like the loos, and the classroom I was meant to be in, and where I would sit etc. etc.

    Strange thing is when I go to set up to dj in a new place I have all the same fears. Where will they want my equipment to go, what if I can't find a power supply etc.

    Seems I never really grew up!

  19. wonder you remember that so clearly. It would have devestated me at that age. That's one of those experiences that either make or break you... and it's obvious that you did number one (no pun intended !)

  20. Barb,
    Well bless your heart. You just don't forget those things do you.

    Retired English Teacher,
    Had my second grade teacher taught first grade, I wouldn't have had a post. I still remember her name and what a fine person she was. First grade, not so much.

    THANK YOU. Now I don't feel so alone. You and Clint make me feel better. You don't forget those things.

    LLCool Joe,
    Well your location anxeity seems was born in school like my urge to do things quickly if not correctly. Think we both did OK however.

    Just think how awful had it been
    #2. Not sure I could have hidden that under my dress. Things can always be worse.

  21. Patti, I think you just HAVE to write a book!!

  22. Sorry you had such a rough first day but you certainly know how now to tell a great story.
    I too had problems in school with the bathrooms. They were always so far from our room. hahaha

  23. Good morning, I don't have an e-mail address for you, so am answering you here about the casserole on my blog.

    Patti, our one daughter is vegetarian, sh does use eggs, milk, cheese and butter, but she gets some kind of soy meat (fake meat) and uses in place of the ground beef.

  24. I loved this post, Patti! It's such a vivid look back on an exciting and scary day in your life. And the lessons learned are treasures for a lifetime!

  25. kenju,
    Aw thanks Judy. Wish I could but know I don't have it in me.

    Grandmayellow hair
    Ha, were yours in the basement also.

    Thanks, I use those scrambles and they are rather good. I will try it.

    Dr. Kathy McCoy,
    Thanks so much. Those early lessons really do leave an impression.

  26. What a scary day. . . ! To find yourself in the boiler room, run into a strange man, and the pain and terror of a full bladder. Oh, Patti. . . ! It must have taken real courage to go back the next day!

  27. What a first day! Now how is it that you got to skip kindergarten? Was it an option?
    My first day happened in Germany and to make the day sweet each child enters the classroom with a large Zuckertute (google it) filled with goodies. On our backs we carried the school supplies. Parents paid for everything back then.

  28. Amazing the lessons we learn in our youth!

  29. Hi Patty!

    That was an absolute delight to read. Although you talked about "heavy" stuff i really really enjoyed it!

    Thank you

  30. marylee,
    Perhaps if I had been discovered it might have been bad but I flew under the radar though I am pretty sure the janitor(man in coveralls) found my wet seat.

    It was optional in my county. I did google Zuckertute. I'll bet that made kids really want to go to school.

    NC mountainwoman,
    I think a lot of our lessons come in a small window.

    Thanks so much. I was going for light and amusing,I just didn't quite pull it off.

  31. I never went to kindergarten, but you did well under the circumstances and you told a really good story!

  32. Once again Patti! You really should write down your stories in a book!

  33. Reader Wil,
    Thank you so much Wil. I am so flattered by your confidence in me. Wish I had the same.

  34. Kindergarten the days of few worries, other than were the bathroom is located. Ha. I went to kindergarten in Virginia about all I can remember about it. Nice to know it translates well into your life now.