Ramona The Brave
The First Day of School
When the first day of school finally arrived, Ramond made her own bed so her mother would be liberated. She hid the lumps under stuffed animals.
"That's cheating," said Beezus, who was pulling up her own blankets smooth and tight.
"Pooh, who cares?" This morning Ramona did not care what her sister said. She was now in the first grade and eager to leave for school all by herself before old slowpoke Howie could catch up with her. She clattered down the hall in her stiff new sandals, grabbed her new blue lunch box from the kitchen counter, kissed her mother good-bye, and was on her way before her mother could tell her she must try to be a good girl now that she was in the first grade. She crunched through fallen leaves on the sidewalk and held her head hgh. She wanted people to think, How grown up Ramona Quimby is. Last year she was a little kindergartner in the temporary building and look at her now, a big girl on her way to school in the big brick building.
A neighbor who had come out to move her lawn sprinkler actually did say, "Hello, Ramona. My, aren't you a big girl!"
"Yes," said Ramona, but she spoke modestly. She did not want people to think that being in the first grade had gone to her head. She was tempted to try going to school a new way, by another street, but decided she wasn't quite that brave yet.
How little the new members of the morning kindergarten looked! Some of them were clinging to their mother's hands. One was actually crying. Babies! Ramona called out to her old kindergarten teacher crossing the playground, "Miss Binney! Miss Binney! It's me, Ramona!"
Miss Binney waved and smiled. "Ramona Q.! How nice to see you!" Miss Binney understood that Ramona used her last initial because she wanted to be different, and when Miss Binney printed Ramona's name, she always added ears and whiskers to the Q. That was the kind of teacher Miss Binney was.
Ramona saw Beezus and Mary Jane. "Hi, Beatrice," she called, to let her sister know she would remember not to call her Beezus at school. "How are you, Beatrice?"
Little Davy jumped at Ramona. "Ho-hah!" he shouted.
Ramona knew that first graders could not really use karate. "You mean, 'Hah-yah!' " she said. Davy never got anything right.
Ramona felt much smaller and less sure of herself as she made her way up the steps of the big brick building with the older boys and girls. She felt smaller still as they jostled her in the hall on her way to the room she had looked forward to for so long. Room One, at the foot of the stairs that led to the classrooms of the upper grades, was the classroom for Ramona and the other morning kindergarteners of last year. Last year's afternoon kindergarten was entering the first grade in Room Two.
Many of Ramona's old kindergarten class, taller now and with more teeth missing, were already in their seats behind desks neatly labeled with their names. Like place cards at a party, thought Ramona. Eric J. and Eric R., little Davy with the legs of his new jeans turned up farther than the legs of any other boy's jeans, Susan with her fat curls like springs touching her shoulders. Boing, thought Ramona as always, at the sight of those curls.This year she promised herself she would not pull those curls no matter how much they tempted her.
Mrs. Griggs was seated at her desk. "And what is your name?" she asked Ramona. Mrs. Griggs, older than Miss Binney, looked pleasant enough, but of course she was not Miss Binney. Her hair, which was no special color, was parted in the middle and help at the back of her neck with a plastic clasp.
"Ramona. Ramona Q."
If you notice any typos or spelling mistakes, or any errors at all, please e-mail me and let me know. I can't spot everything, and your help would be very appreaciated. Thank you!
All characters and stories are copyright © 1975 by Beverly Cleary.