We moved next to Riverside, CA, where I was born and where all of my dad's family lived. I went to a church called the Grove, where my dad had returned to work as a pastor.
It was a church where everyone knew who I was, because my dad had grown up there, too. My Papa had been senior pastor, then. I had a friend from birth named Agatha, and she helped my shy self make friends at the gigantic church of the Grove.
But school followed the same pattern. I made friends, then lost them by the end of fifth grade. I was too shy to make new ones, so I started to read during recess.
Sixth grade was possibly the most turbulent year I had ever had. I went from Castle View, the school I had been attending...
To a charter school named River Springs, where some of my church friends went. Unfortunately, we only attended every Thursday, and every other day I spent learning alone while my parents worked to keep us supported in expensive Riverside.
I didn't finish that worksheet, I'll do it tomorrow...I don't want to work...when will I see my friends again?
After one day when I broke into tears about some small thing, it was decided. I was too lonely learning in a small preschool classroom with no one to talk to, so I would attend Benjamin Franklin Elementary School for the remainder of the year, before I left for middle school in 7th grade.
It was all right, though, because I had friends at church. Weekly Wednesday meetings, discipleship group we called Impact, Sunday school, and my rabble of loving friends sustained me through those hard last months before middle school.
By now I was used to the pattern. Make friends. Lose friends. Sit alone at recess.