At Bud's school, new classroom placement is distributed to students in their report cards as they leave the building on the last day of school, so there is very little opportunity for kids or parents to compare notes and figure out who will be where in the coming year unless they run into each other during the summer. So, like the rest of the soon-to-be-second-grade families, we've been keeping our eyes out for Bud's first-grade friends when we're out and about in town to try to get the scoop on how his second-grade classroom has shaped up.
As I've written before, Bud's first grade classroom was magical. The other children were big fans of Bud, and he returned their affection wholeheartedly. If the whole gang of them could have moved together to a new classroom, I would have been downright delighted. What we've discovered as we've talked to friends around town, though, is that most of the other children from Bud's class have landed in one of the other three second grade classrooms. Parents are speculating that the mix is intentional, so that by the time our children have made it through to the regional middle school, they will know all of the other children from their own elementary school. And, honestly, I trust Bud's team implicitly and I know that they had a hand in pupil placement. I'm certain they have created a good nest for Bud, so, really, my worries are few.
But one child we haven't run into this summer is Bud's very best friend from first grade, Kelly. Kelly is the child who greeted Bud every morning when we entered the classroom. Each night, when I asked him who he played with at recess or ate with at snack, hers was always the first name I heard. So, naturally, I wondered where Kelly had landed in the second-grade shake-up.
My questions were answered recently when a letter arrived in the mail for Bud. On top of a full page drawing of a girl and her family enjoying a day at the beach were the following words in perfect seven-year-old scrawl:
Dear Bud I am
in Mrs. Connemara's
class Iam wudring
iF you are.
P.S. Iam having
Fun are you?
I have a
Bud played it cool when he read Kelly's letter, but I could tell he was happy to get it. I suggested several times that he write back, but each time he told me that he'd do it later. Tonight I pushed a little harder, and Bud sat down at the computer, put Kelly's letter next to the keyboard for reference, and wrote back:
I am in mrs connemarals class. I am wuodering if you
love Bud ps I am having fun are you? Call
193256906788216789 be your Bud
Buuuuup be be be dooooo wop buuuuuuup bee
qewvxsdooooo buuuup beee beee
I asked Bud for clarification on some of the finer points. Had he left out some words?, I wondered to myself.
"Bud, what are you wondering? 'I am wondering if you...'"
"I am wondering if you love Bud."
Okay. So clarified.
"And 'Call 193256906788216789 be your Bud'? What do you want Kelly to do?"
After a bit more clarification, I added notes in the margin to let Kelly know that the long string of digits is a pretend phone number and that the second paragraph is a song. But, the fact is, Kelly probably doesn't need the clarification the way I did. She might guess what each thing is on her own, but even if she didn't, it probably wouldn't matter to her. She'd probably just laugh with recognition of Bud's unique and quirky style.
Because that's just how it is with friends.