Friday, October 10, 2014


an institution for educating children

When I was in first grade, I walked ten blocks to school.  Sometimes I would stop off at a friend's house on the way and beckon her to join me--I really mean beckon.   I would stand on the sidewalk outside her house and yell in a singsongy kind of way,  "Calling on Cindy."   I have no idea if this was a Pittsburgh thing or what.  That is how we invited our friends to come outside to play or to walk to school.  Why we did not just knock on the door, again, I have no idea.

Sometimes, on the way home for lunch--yes, we also walked home for lunch--my grandmother would have me stop off at the "baker" shop for some freshly made and sliced bread. And sometimes, I would just have to steal a few slices to eat along the way. 

Imagine a first grader walking ten city blocks to school and doing some grocery shopping on the way home.  

Times sure have changed.  
first grade (1963 or 1964)  sporting another incredible hairdo 
by my mother, the neighborhood beautician

I am participating in the Nester's 31 Days.


Sonya Tichenor said...

First day of first grade. Miss Willis. Pixie haircut (not at home or of course I would post a picture). The first thing I notice is that she has the exact same calendar at the front of the room as Miss Mary Ann on Romper Room. I already feel at home. First row. Sitting in front of Warren Brantley, who later in the year asks me to marry him. I turn him down. But we are still best friends and play Batman and Robin and Batgirl with Gary somebody. The batmobile is an old Coke cooler behind the backstop at the baseball field. Otherwise, I hate recess. We have to run to a tree and back. Sooooo far away. Pretty sure it was not that far in real life. But, still. Running. Choice of chocolate milk or ice cream sandwich for morning snack. First grade was the best.

Sabrina said...

I remember one morning in first grade, my dad took me to school early before anyone else was there. I got out to go inside, but the doors were locked. I remember turning around to head back toward the car, and a goat appeared out of no where, cornering me. I was scared to death, thinking about how I'd learned that goats like to charge. My dad ran it off just long enough for me to get back to the car. We sat there for a while, watching the goat walk around, before the school opened. I don't remember what happened to it after that.

Kimberly Hoyt said...

I loved school and would have probably been one of those obnoxious kids with a perfect attendance record had I not been "sickly". It was third grade before I finally had my tonsils out and stopped missing so much school.

I loved everything about school: the pristine textbooks, copying things down from the blackboard, sitting in orderly rows of desks, hearing the bell ring to signal recess, lining up and marching into the auditorium for daily assembly, reading out loud when it was my turn, learning new songs in music class (even though I can't carry a tune), the rare treat of going to the school library, making oatmeal paste to use in art projects, the many pull-down maps and science charts with their large graphics, getting gold stars on my homework...

Maybe because life at home was so chaotic, or just because I'm a creature who prefers to live by a schedule, I especially appreciated the orderliness and routine of school. It was a place where I could "shine"; the more effort I put into my work, the more praise I received. To my young mind, it was a win/win situation.

Becca Hill said...

School... Every year has it's own memory... Some good, some not so good! Let's see...
Kindergarten: I begged to go when I was only 4. My parents put me in a Christian school because they would let me try it! I was one of the two girls. Juli Martino and I were "thick as thieves!" But what choice did we have?!

First Grade: The ABC's were posted around the room and I spent a lot of time staring at them. I was bored, bored, bored!

Second Grade: I had my tonsils out and brought them to show & tell in a glass jar. It was so GROSS!

Third Grade: I changed schools and could walk everyday with my brother. I loved the walk but the school smelled old! I hated it. I got hit by a car that March, ending my public school career.

Fourth Grade: I had panic attacks. Without warning I would jump up, run out the classroom door and up two flights of stairs to find my brother in jr high. My parents & teachers asked me to stop. I didn't!

Fifth Grade: I had a male teacher. We loved him. He paddled me for talking... ( I can't imagine how exasperated I made him!)

Sixth Grade: I developed an addiction to Pepsi. My parents were told by a teacher that they thought I might be taking drugs (while pointing a finger at my brother)... My parents LAUGHED& assured them I was not using drugs. But they did ban me from drinking Pepsi!

Seventh Grade: favorite teacher ever... Mr. Jividen loved our entire class & adopted us as his own, planned parties, made us laugh, became our friend & therapist - unfortunately, he also knew sign language!

Eighth Grade: became a cheerleader - which resulted in my first kiss on the back of the bus AND years of a crush...

Ninth Grade: I left my small Christian school to swim -2 hours from home- and advanced academia... I LOVED it!

Tenth Grade: gave up swimming, moved to a boarding school 8 hours from home. Found my first true love and developed lifelong friendships.

Eleventh Grade: I skipped!

Twelfth Grade: Chapel was a favorite time each week because it gave us all the most opportunity to play pranks & generally goof off!

There it is. School- year by year. I actually did 6 more years after that... But maybe I'll save those stories for later!

Jen said...

Earliest school memory? Having to nap at preschool and hating it. Met my kindergarten teacher before school started and asked if we had to take naps. The answer: NO. Happiest day of my short little 5-year-old life.

Lisa Biery said...

School. I remember my teachers very well. Each one. I have to say the for the most part I really liked them all, even the one I prank called, our relationship evolved. In third grade I had Mrs. Prater. While on the playground I was hanging upside down on the parallel bars, remember those? Anyway, my legs slipped off and I fell with a pretty hard hit to the ground. So much so, that it knocked the wind out of me. All I could think was "get to Mrs. Prater". She was standing in the playground teacher huddle which seemed so very far away for me at the moment. Mrs. Sloan, who was pregnant at the time, was in the huddle as well. I made it to her first and as I did I was ready to pass out, so I fell into her stomach. She thought I was giving her a hug, which prompted her to pat me on the back. And that's all it took. My breath was back. I will never forget that moment.

Lisa Balough said...

In sixth grade I attended Prince Edward Public School in Windsor, Ontario and we had a huge influx of refugees, boat people they were called. This was 1979, I think, and we had children from Cambodia, Laos, & Vietnam that spoke little to no English. The school was unprepared for so many non-English speaking students and so some of the students from the upper grades, 6-8, were asked to help teach them. My classroom, 6A, had about six of the boys. I remember sitting in the hallway, pointing out objects and having the boys repeat after me. I felt very important and thrilled to be helping. There was one boy in class named Ahoy and we all saluted him as if he were a sailor. He always laughed and smiled. The story floating around about him was that his family had hid in the jungle, living in trees for four years before escaping. Maybe that’s why he always tried to take his shirt off? We weren’t sure if he was used to wearing so much clothing or not, you know, because he lived in the jungle! Who knows if the story about him was true or not because our eleven year old imaginations very easily ran wild. All-in-all, working with those boys was the highlight of my school year.

Kathy Wiedemann said...

Day 11 School
Wow. I could write an entire book just about all the different schools I was in over the years! Being an Army brat had lots and lots of positive things about it, much of which one does not come to grasp until AFTER it’s all said and done, though. I will not bore you with the many dozens of anecdotes I could tell here. I will say, however, that I have come to realize how truly lucky we were to have travelled so much, to have had the influence of so many teachers from so many diverse backgrounds, to have been so completely immersed in so many “local” cultures, and to have made lifelong friends with some of the greatest, kookiest people you’d ever care to meet. None of this would have been possible if we had just stayed right where we were expected to stay and lived our little lives according to the tradition of generations past.
I can say that I had an unbelievably full “school experience”. Sure, there were times when we hated being the “new kid” in class…seems like that happened every year for a while…but we always adapted. Adapted well. And thrived in our new surroundings.
I can say, without a doubt, I had the absolute BEST Junior High experience of anyone I know! (and yes, it was still called jr. high then!) We only had 5 classrooms and everybody knew everybody. Ms. Ryan taught History and Social Studies, Mr. Murray taught English, Mr. Campbell was Math, Mr. Hohensee was Science, and Mr. Esack was Science and Math for the 8th graders. There were about 30 students per class just like any other school. The teachers were all close friends, two of them actually dated for a while… which was great fun for us kids teasing them about “catching them smooching” in the teacher’s lounge! It wasn’t unusual for one of our faculty to be invited to dinner at a student’s home. We were all very close, like a family, and I honestly don’t remember any kids “falling behind” or acting out in class. It was during those couple years I learned the perks of being teacher’s pet (my best friend and I always had the highest GPAs in the school, most of the time he and I were an exact tie with our grades) so that’s probably part of why I have such fond memories of that time in particular. (wink)
To this day I am still friends with my high school Home Economics teacher. She was my matron-of-honor at my wedding 30 years ago and I can do nothing but smile every time I think of her! My mother is best friends with my 2nd grade teacher…they have lunch together weekly so she can catch her up on what’s going on in MY life. I am still close to my BFF from 4th grade, even though we have both lived in far too many places to count since we first met in 1975 and have not actually seen each other since 1993. My best friend from high school is still one of my dearest friends even though our last day together actually happened in 1987.