“Leaving the big four” live on masticadoresindia

A Photograph of PS 104 in Brooklyn from the Brooklyn Public Library Collection

Leaving the Big Four

During the third year of school and living on the big four, I was divided into pieces by a swift sword, perching on my safety edge.  My brown eyes must have turned black as I heard mom’s words, but I was sure I was suffocating.  “Joy, honey, we are moving to Brooklyn, New York.

Your father has gotten us an apartment, and we are leaving at the end of the week.  Say goodbye to all your friends today at school.  I will need you to help me to clean, pack and get ready,” said my mom with a blank face. 

The apartment faced the Brooklyn Bridge, and my bed was a cot in the tiny living room.  There was a back bedroom, a kitchen, and a small bathroom.  None of that mattered to me, but something was different this morning.  Mom woke me very early, and my dad looked at me sternly and said, “young lady, it is time you went to school.” 

I went from a small school, living on a road that was not paved, and a candy store at the end of the road that sold gas.  That was the only part of town I knew.  Now I found myself in a six-foot story building surrounded by skyscrapers.  My mom picked out some clothes, fed me a small breakfast, and walked with me down to the creepy basement, a smelly room full of washers and dryers.  “Why are we here?” I said, frightened half to death.

“Well, in a few minutes, a school bus will pick you up.  It will take you to a tall school called P.S. 104.  The first adult you see, give them this piece of paper, and they will know to take you to the third-grade classroom.  Here is your bag for lunch, and be a good girl.”  As I started to cry, she gave me that intimidating look that I knew meant to shut up.  So, I did.

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