Thursday, September 4, 2014

School Days

Yesterday and today have been first days of school for our grandchildren, and they have brought back memories of my early school days.  Gather round, my children, and listen to stories of the good old days.

When I was a young 'un, we lived just under a mile from school, so we had to walk. Kindergarten was private, so most children started school in first grade.  This was Massachusetts, where the winters were long, cold, and snowy.  And yes, we walked through snowstorms to get to and from school, almost a mile, uphill both ways! (I do love to say that, because it was true. We lived on a hill, and we went into a valley then uphill to get to school.)  it was a lot of walking for a five year old, but we were fit!

I do remember my first day of first grade.  I had been so excited to go to school like my big sister, Gail, and Mom brought me to the classroom.  When I got there, though, it was very scary.  We actually had a substitute teacher on the very first day, which confused me because when I went up to the teacher's desk and said, "Mrs. Hill,  I really want to go home," she snapped at me, "I'm not Mrs. Hill and no, you can't go home.  Sit down!"  Somehow I made it through the first day.

On day two, I walked with Gail, but when the bell rang and it was time to go in I refused to go.  Poor Gail had a dilemma! She went to the office and got the assistant principal, who was very kind and managed to talk me into entering the building.  I still remember his shoes; I never looked up at his face.

Weeks went by, and one day my Dad came into my room to have a talk with me.  He gently said that he had gotten word from my teacher (who finally showed up on day four of school) that I cried every day while standing in line for lunch.  I remember that line.  The lunchroom was scary and loud, and we had to rush to eat everything before we were told to head back to the classroom.  As I recall, lunch time was about 10 minutes long.  So I would stand in line and miss being home and tears would silently run down my cheeks.  I never made a sound, so I assumed that no one knew I was crying.

I told Dad I was just sad at school.  He thought for a moment, and said that if I stopped crying in school he would take me for a pony ride.  Now that was something worth being happy about! I loved horses, and from that time on, I would stand in line and think about riding a pony.  I was able to stop crying, and a few weeks later I did get my pony ride.  I was so happy!

Mom fixed up a little basket with a tiny teddy bear in it, and I was able to take it to school.  Throughout the day I would just reach down to the basket by my feet and touch my teddy--it gave me great comfort.  No one else in class had one, and I suspect my parents had made special arrangements with the teacher to allow a toy in class, but it really helped transition me to school.

It was not until I went to college that I really enjoyed school.

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