As a little girl I dreamed of two main things - being a mommy and being independent. I was thrilled when my parents let me go away to school when I was just 12, boarding with a family who didn't really care that much, where I could get away with being as independent as I wanted to be. On weekends, I sometimes chose not to come home, preferring to spend time with friends. I walked to a synagogue that was far away, alone, because I liked it better than the one that was nearby. I liked the quiet time with my thoughts and I'd often make up stories in my head, as if I were planning a book. Being in Atlanta brought opportunities that I never had before - volunteer work to organize things for a charity event, participating in youth group activities, skipping school to go to the library (maybe I only started doing that in 9th grade, I'm not sure). I loved being able to do things for myself and not having to depend on anyone else.
I graduated from high school just after I turned 16. I skipped kindergarten because I read well, loved math, and begged my teacher to let me stay the whole day - I was in a combination K-1 class and the little kids went home before lunch, while the first graders stayed the whole day. I sort of remember her challenging me to ask the principal, but it's such a distant memory that I'm not really sure what happened. I got my full day and my mom bought me a lunchbox. About 5 moves later, when we moved to Oklahoma, I was in 11th grade. At the counselor's office, when I was choosing my courses, I realized that at the end of the year I would have enough credits to graduate, so I had them move me to 12th grade. It could have been a bad choice had I been in a place where I could have had some sort of positive social interaction, but being that it was Lawton, Oklahoma where I felt so different from everyone else (after having just moved from Brookline, Massachusetts), it was really much better.
At 15, I sent out college applications and my mom drove me down to Dallas to interview for Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in Israel. Now, that would be far. Very, very far.
6 years ago