But by sixth grade, I was an old-timer at the school, had lots of friends, black and white, and got pretty good grades. I was also president of the Student Council, which didn't really mean anything, but got me out of going to recess when it was cold outside to help teachers put up bulletin boards or correct papers.
That Spring the school had a talent show. I didn't participate; my shyness and lack of any discernible talent kept me from trying out. But I did get to help out backstage, which was fun. One of the coolest acts was by a girl named Kim - she brought in her dog, a little Dachshund, that she had trained in all sorts of cool ways. A dog in school! The whole school was excited about it.
Another act was the girls who were in gymnastics classes - they showed off their flips and cartwheels while I wished I could do a somersault without getting a headache.
But the funnest act to watch was the group of dancers who boogied down, "Soul Train Line" style, to Marvin Gaye's song "Got to Give it Up." To this day, whenever I hear that song, I can still see the two lines of girls, each girl grooving down the middle when it was her turn.
Check it out - I think this is a performance from "Soul Train:"