Kindergarten Hooligan

I must have been an independent rebellious child. My first real experience outside the home with an authority figure was Miss D. a middle aged lady who ran a private kindergarten in Havre, Montana. I can remember her as a very prim, neat, and organized teacher of young children. The setting for the school was a small house made into a classroom with one large room and a bathroom in the back. I can’t really remember any other rooms as it was a rather small house. It seems to me the house was a lime green color with dark green trim. I could be mistaken about the color.

I think the most vivid memory I had was one day I suppose I’d behaved badly about something or other. Anyway I was in deep trouble with Miss D. I remember being marched to a chair or a desk and told to sit there and think about my transgressions. I of course did not like being told to do anything when I was that age. Rather independent or ornery which ever the case may be.. Choice whichever fits your ideal of the writer. I recall I did not want to sit and that I was being pushed down into the seat. I was on the fight(an expression about a barnyard animal that was mad and being not a nice barnyard animal) and as I was being shoved down I grabbed at the large costume jewelry necklace she wore. It broke in half as I yanked on it. Needless to say I was now in the deepest hole you can imagine with Miss D.

Russ Crites, pre-kindergarten

I maybe was plotting something here before I went to Kindergarten..


When my ma came I knew I was in more trouble and when I got home I believe the paddling stick came out. I really can’t say that for sure as most of my memory is blanked out. Anyway I had to apologize the next day and promise all the figures of authority to be a good citizen and never, ever be a rebellious child again. Well you can figure how that worked out.

Russ Crites 1958-59 yearbook picture

Here I am a couple years after the incident.. all cleaned up and not a rebellious bone in my body…

Years later when my mother was in the Retirement home in Havre, Montana I ran into Miss D. who was living at the same facility. She was easily recognizable only older. She walked downtown every day and had all her wits about her. I approached her one day and introduced myself, telling her I’d been in her Kindergarten class in I thought 1956. I went into the tale of the broken necklace and said I was truly sorry for being a pain in her rear. The dear old Miss D. looked at me and said, “It must not have been too bad an incident as I have no recollection of it.” Bless her heart, if she did remember she had forgiven me a long time ago and if she truly couldn’t remember the incident there must have been a worse Hooligan than me.. Halleluiah…. I thank God for small favors…

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