Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Do You Remember Your First Day of School?

For some of us, it's been longer ago than for others:) No matter how old we are, I think this is one of those experiences of which we have burned in our memory.

Was it some scared feeling you had as your parents left you with all of those strange children and hopefully a very nice teacher?

Did you spill your lunch or fall down at recess or rip your new dress? Maybe you spilled your new Crayola's?

I remembered getting to ride the school bus for the first time. I could go to school with my brother! Mr. Ragan was our bus driver.

This is a familiar type of photo in my mom's albums --a total of seven children that eventually got on that school bus and headed off to a new world outside our loving home.
This is my first day of school. That is my older brother (by two years), Loyd, at my side to protect me. Notice the position of his right hand as he signals our dog Belle not to come any closer to the bus.

I remember that dress...and I remember that Dad usually took off work on those first mornings of school. And he would be the one to take the old Brownie camera out to the end of the driveway to snap a picture.

Anybody remember these cameras?

I'm sure that he enjoyed being there with Mom, seeing their children going off to school for the first time. But more that that, I'm sure that he had also taken off work for the beginning of squirrel hunting season. They just went together. But I will save stories of my Dad's love of hunting of game, and fishing for another day.

On my first day of school.... I remember my first glimpse of inside the school. After entering the front doors, as I climbed the first couple of stairs, I became eye-level with the glaze of the clean, newly waxed wood floors of the common wide area from which the three classrooms were attached.

The bus driver's wife, Gladys, was that hard-working, and very nice, school janitor who made the place shine. She moved briskly around the building doing her work, but she was never too busy to flash a smile, or stop and talk to a child. When I think about those days, I can still see her smiling face and here the, "Oh really?!!" and then the following conversation - when I told her about my new baby brother, Wayne, who had been born the day before. This was in January of that same school year. I had been given permission to leave the classroom to get a drink, and Gladys was cleaning the fountains. Her genuine interest and excitement at a first grader's news has stayed with me all these years.

There were the two water fountains on the right- a tall one -and a short one for we munchkins. On the left, along the railing to the stairs, was a row of hooks for the 1st and 2nd graders' coats.
The three classrooms each housed two grades. The school district didn't have K-5 until my 5th brother, John, was old enough. So we started right into first grade.

Those stairs led to down to the lunchroom. Wonderful smells from that place would reach our noses as we lined up for lunch. Two excellent cooks, Mrs. Baylis and Mrs. Brockhouse truly spoiled us with their home-style culinary talents! All six grades would file in and stand around the walls. Then, either our principal (who was also the 5th and 6th grade teacher), or a student would pray for our meal. If Mr. McAllister knew it was your birthday, you were asked if you would like to say the prayer. My, how times have changed!

My teacher's name was Mrs. Cooper. She was the wife of the my Grandma and Grandpa's mailman. I always treasured that other "connection" that I had with her. She taught us all of the subjects along with the adventures of Dick, Jane, Sally and Spot in our readers.

In 1994, our little town celebrated it's sesquicentennial in the town park. That afternoon a crowd started gathering under one of the trees. As I got closer to see what the excitement was about, guess who was sitting there being greeted by her former students-- yes, there was the lady, in her late 80's that everyone wanted to see--Mrs. Cooper. She was a superstar:)

When people now ask Loyd what it was like growing up near our small town, he says he tells them that it was like living in a "Norman Rockwell painting" -- and I agree. Of course, we were seeing life through the eyes of children...happy, loved children. It was a wonderful life...:)

What are your first day of school memories? I hope they are fond ones:)


Donette said...

What fun memories! I think I might post a pic of my first day of school - if I can find it!

Carol said...

I love my school memories! You've given me an idea to blog about Mrs. Jefferson, my 4th grade teacher. Hope you don't mind me being a copy cat!


Anonymous said...

Love the photo of your first day of school! I don't know if I remember my very first day, though I have memories from my Kindergarten year with Mrs. Horan. We made donuts, had a Christmas gift exchange, etc. Once I was the only Kindergartener at school. I guess my mom didn't get the message that Kindergarten was canceled that day. Oh the memories!

Joyce said...

A timeless photo to tell a wonderful story complete with little dog. I was hanging on your every word and honestly I could smell the cafeteria and hear the school sounds. The cleaning lady was so sweet to hear all the kids stories. My only memory and it may not have been the first day but pretty darn close was that my Mom bought me a long yellow rain coat with a fisherman yellow hat and I had to walk to school by myself in the rain carrying a large leather briefcase that was almost as large as I was:) Thanks for the memories. Oh and we had a camera just like that too.

Walking on Sunshine... said...

What beautiful memories. I need to put together a post and expand on my memories of going to school and my dad staying with me until we marched into the building. He was so sweet and kind. Enjoy your day!

Elena said...

That was a wonderful post. I love hearing about people's memories of their childhood. Your home town sounds a lot like mine. We lived a mile out of a little gold rush town that started in 1850. There were only about 1300 people in the town. We went to a little Assembly of God church there. The school principal, custodian and 5th grade teacher all went to my church. We called our custodian, Mr. Sunshine. His real name was Mr. Wall but he was so happy and kind that is what all of us kids called him. I remember my first day of school. Mom watched my brother and I walk to the bus. She was shedding a few tears as I was her youngest. My brother who was a year older than me, walked me to my class and told me to go in there and not be afraid as the teacher was really nice and he would be in the classroom across the hall. I have many fond memories of my grade school years and the little town that I grew up in. It is not far from me know but it has grown a lot in population and has become a very prestigeous place to live, so property value has gone up a lot. It still is a very fun and layed back place. Rich's mom and I are going to take Mary to the park there this morning and have some lunch out there. So, It will be a fun day! God bless your day! Hugs, Elena

BECKY said...

Oh Linda, How fun! I had a wonderful childhood, and many similar memories! The brownie camera, the school bus...I could FINALLY ride with my siblings!
Carnivals, P.E., recess...such good stuff! Thanks for warming me up with your memories and inspiring me to recall more of mine!

Love ya, sweetie! Hope your weekend is going really well!


Melinda said...

This was such an enjoyable post. I love reading about people's fond memories.

Joyfull said...

What great memories! I love the pictures. Thanks for sharing, I'm visiting from Friday Friends!

Heidi Pocketbook said...

Linda, what a wonderful post. You make that school and experiences in it come to life through your writing!


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