The Passed Note Issue 6 February 2018 - Page 23

Samantha Paige Rosen

Applesauce Girl

He called me Applesauce Girl. I called him nothing at all. We met Monday through Friday before lunch for five years, at the Cynwyd Elementary School nurse’s office, in a suburb of Philadelphia. I came in to take Ritalin for ADHD; he needed Adderall. The nurse had my Ritalin waiting on the counter, crushed and hidden in a spoonful of applesauce. Next to my spoon was a blue pill inside a tiny paper cup. I took my medicine in one swift, sweet gulp. He swallowed his pill whole and chased it with water.

I didn’t know any other kids who took this kind of medication, except for him. I imagined my friends took Flintstones chewable vitamins after dinner or Tylenol when they had fevers. But I knew my medicine was different. Even in first grade, when other students asked where I went every day before lunch, I would say, “to the bathroom” or “to the office.”

During my childhood in the 1990s, there was no Googling articles about mental health or medication, and no social media to start a conversation for support. My mom bought me an oversized book called Hip-Hop the Hyperactive Hippo and my younger sister Jen a book in the same series about a mouse who wore hearing aids like she did. But these were fiction. Just because there was one hyperactive hippo didn’t mean I was normal.