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The thick pad of coarse pulp sheets of writing paper, each sheet marked with wide-spaced, horizontal lines, had a red cover. In sharp contrast, a thick, sparkling white pencil, freshly sharpened, large red rubber eraser standing in unscuffed splendor on the opposite end, lay beside each pad. Kindergarten being a foreign concept in our area, first grade was my introduction to formal education, and I was charged up. My very own pad of unused writing paper. And my very own pencil, fat, quite childish in appearance, but still all mine.