School Memories – Part 1

29 Aug

As some of you know, I work for the local school district as my “day job.” The last few weeks have been super crazy busy with the usual start of the new school year routines. Each year we have what I fondly refer to as “Rah-rah” day. This year’s Rah-rah day featured several student speakers – one of which struck a nerve with me. And obviously lots of other people as there weren’t many dry eyes in the house. This young lady spoke about the memories you have of your time in school. She recently graduated out of our district and is now in high school. She told a story about pulling out her box of memories and looking them over, one by one. And as she was speaking I have to admit my mind started wandering backwards as well.

I am a firm believer in putting things in boxes. Much to the dismay of some who know me, since my boxed existence proves to be quite limited at times. But boxing things up in neat tidy rows is comforting to me. Everything in its place. Even the memories. Anyway, I wanted to take a little written stroll down memory lane myself, in commemoration of the beginning of another school year. I’d love to hear your stories about school too!

When I was growing up we lived in a suburb of Detroit. My former sister-in-law used to call me Wonder Bread. Because they grew up in Detroit. And we were in the suburbs. This was in the late 60’s to early 70’s. Times were turbulent back then. I remember going to the local grade school for Kindergarten. I don’t remember too much about it, but what I do remember I think is kind of funny. I remember pinching my finger in the big metal door and it really hurting, but I didn’t want to tell anyone. I remember falling at recess and skinning my knee and my teacher putting that iodine stuff on it that burned like crazy. I remember I loved to color the pictures on my worksheets. My teacher held up one of my papers one time, to show my coloring, but hid the rest of the paper because I didn’t do very well on the actual school work. Just the coloring part. lol. Kindergarten is also what started me off on my quest for antique toys…we had the Fisher Price Milk Carton set and I just LOVED those milk cartons and the little carrier. Seriously. I had one of those subconscious yearnings that didn’t get satisfied until adulthood. Yes, I bought myself a set off ebay.



For first grade we were shipped off to private school. Busing became an issue in Detroit and the suburbs and my parents didn’t want us spending an hour on the bus into the city, so we (my sister and I) attended a Lutheran School in a neighboring town. My memories of first grade are mostly of learning my left hand from my right hand. Left hand is the door, right hand is the window. At least that’s what was to my right and left as I sat in class. There was a cemetery out the window. It fascinated me as a child. There was a pond with lily pads and frogs and a big wrought iron fence. What’s not to love there?! Also, I was bit by a dog in first grade (on the face, mind you) thus ending my quest for Miss America (that’s another story entirely) and I remember getting a vocabulary word that you had to demonstrate for the class one day. My word was “SMILE” except I couldn’t demonstrate it as I had a band-aid over part of my mouth due to the dog bite and stitches. I remember everyone staring at me.


For second grade we moved to Illinois. We moved twice that year. My mother didn’t like our first house so we moved in the summer and again the next Spring. With just a few weeks left of second grade. In my first school that year I had a teacher who didn’t like girls. But I remember her making great use of the opaque projector and doing fantastic drawings. I also remember having a science packet of bird anatomy. I thought that was pretty rocking awesome. Plus I got to color the birds. My second second grade class I remember the teacher reading us “James and the Giant Peach” while we sat on the linoleum floor. I remember loving that story, even though I came in towards the end of it. And I remember picking chunks of wax off the floor.

In third grade I remember taking a toaster apart and thinking that was the best thing ever. Getting to see the insides of stuff. And one time our teacher yelled at our class on my birthday because the class wasn’t listening. I, of course, took it totally personally and cried my eyes out. She had to take me out to the hallway and explain that I didn’t do anything wrong, but the scolding was for the people who did do something wrong. That should have been a pretty clear indicator that my self esteem wasn’t the strongest.


In fourth grade I had the coolest teacher ever! Mrs. Peterson was her name and she had us do all sorts of arts and crafts projects. I excelled that year! I remember nailing nails into a piece of wood and painting the nail heads. I remember making papier mache puppets, and tie dyeing shirts, and drawing lots and lots of maps. I was an expert map-maker. By this time I had also been playing guitar for 5 years already and used to play in school quite a bit for assemblies and just for entertainment in art class.

Fifth grade I remember making bulletin board displays and categorizing diseases instead of going out for recess. I was already pretty much a loaner girl and didn’t really like sitting outside by myself for recess, so I’d con my teacher into letting me stay inside and do other stuff. Fifth grade was really the precursor to my downward spiral of junior high.





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