Celebration on a Small Scale

When we were living in Chicago, I was going to a school right across the street from the apartment house we lived in at that time.  This convenience gave me time in the morning to get through my wash-up, dressing and breakfast without strain.

I was in either the third or fourth grade when a happening came about that was completely new to me and one I never experienced afterwards.  Dentists came to our classroom and everyone had his, or her, teeth checked.  I imagine this might have been something the Chicago Public Schools gave to the students on some kind of grant.  As they checked us, they gave us notes to take home so that our parents would be aware if their children needed a visit to their dentist.  They even made a game about it:  if there was no problem, there was a gold star placed after your name on a list posted on the bulletin board; if there were problems, and they were taken care of by your dentist, a note to that fact from your dentist was sent back to your teacher and a silver star was placed after your name.  The idea, I guess, was for the child and/or the parents to get you off the list of noncompliance.

As you might guess, I got a gold star.  But, the big, happy deal was that I was the only one in the class to get it.  The rest of the class had to be satisfied with the silver star.  Can you guess how I strutted  around?

When I passed to the next grades, I would first go to the bulletin boards of the new rooms that I was attending, to see how the class who had been there before mine fared with gold stars.  Much to my dismay, I found out that some rooms had many, many gold stars, and, though I was among a highly select group, I was not so very unique as I thought I was.  As there were no more examinations in the classrooms, I slowly forgot about my small occasion of fame.