As I weaved through pathways created by the spaces between the little and big buildings, I cringed over the sight of myself in black patent leather shoes, navy blue knee high socks, a plaid blue and white jumper covering my crisp collared white shirt encasing my ridiculous plaid snap together tie. As my uncle would later point out, I was “the only kid in the projects with a Catholic school uniform”. My private school education prior to attending St. Paul’s often makes people believe I grew up in a brownstone with parents who went to college and older siblings who are textbook older, wiser, and more successful than I could ever be. And when I slowly reveal that none of those things are true I get questions like, “So, how are you you?” I still do not have an answer to that except maybe it’s because the sky is blue and the sun rises in the morning.
So every night I ironed a white shirt and every morning I loaded up my backpack just enough to arch my back when I carried it. For first grade a neighbor who worked at the school walked me to class. I switched schools in second grade for more of a challenge (the need determined by my mother) and again in seventh grade for the same reason. My endless hours of homework resulted in my becoming an Oliver Scholar and ultimately lead to my acceptance to St. Paul’s. I had the option of attending a private day school in NYC but I chose boarding school. The appeal of getting away from my parents and Van Dyke was hard to walk away from. But all of my desires and dreams came into question the moment the plane set down in Manchester and I was off to my admissions interview.