Categories
Memoirs

4th Grade Fun

Fourth grade was a fun year. Mrs. Davis was my teacher but we switched clasrooms and teachers for Reading. Mrs. Reed was my reading teacher. I believe that was the first year we switched classes, except we had always done so for music and P.E., of course.

My fourth grade class picture. That’s me in the front row, second student from the right with the wonky red bow on my dress!

One of the fun things I remember about fourth grade was art. One project we did involved covering wire coat hangers with yarn. My first attempt involved red and white yarn and came out pretty messy, probably because I missed the first day of the project, so I had to catch up. Then I did another one in red and green, which turned out much nicer. I gave that one to my mother, I believe.

These are like the ones we made in art. Did you ever have or make these?
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Another project we did was for Valentine’s Day. We decorated large heart-shaped pockets which the teacher hung on the front of our desks. On Valentine’s Day we dropped our classmates’ Valentines into the pockets on the desks. My mother always made sure we had enough Valentines to give one to every person in the class. I wish I had saved some of those cute vintage Valentines. Of course, I treasured some of them more than others, like the ones from my best friends or the boy I liked.

Speaking of boys, it was customary to pass a note to the one you were interested in with these words: “Will you go with me? Check yes or no.” If the person checked yes, then you were officially “going together.” Then you would chase each other on the playground and maybe even sneak in some handholding. Ah, fourth grade.

The infamous fourth grade school picture. Fortunately the years have made me kinder to this poor little girl. What were we thinking with that pixie haircut? Sheesh!

Do you have any memories of fourth grade? Do tell!

Stay tuned for Mrs. Reed’s “Brer Rabbit. . .”

XOXO

Categories
Memoirs

Mrs. Butts, the Post Office, and Spelling Bees

My third grade school picture. Mom had put a perm in my hair.

I was in Mrs. Butts’s third grade class at J.E. Rhodes Elementary in Van, Texas. Mrs. Butts was a tall and beautiful lady who always had a smile ready. The main thing I remember about her class is the make-believe post office she had at the back of her classroom. Or was that in Mrs. Russell’s second grade classroom?

That’s me in the second row from the front, second from the back in the white sweater and home-cut bangs!

The post office was a child-sized building likely made of cardboard, with a counter and mail slots, and we each got turns playing postmaster. I couldn’t wait to finish my work so I could check my mail. If I recall correctly, our valentines were delivered through the classroom post office that year. With all the playhouses and bounce houses and Crayola towns and museum towns these days, a makeshift post office in the classroom might not be as exciting as it was to me in 1968. I wish I could find a photo online of one but my search found nothing similar.

Another thing I remember about Mrs. Butts’s class was the spelling bee she held occasionally. We would compete with the other third grade classes. I remember Mrs. Ice’s class coming in to our room once, and I’m sure we went to other classrooms as well. I loved spelling contests, as we called them, because I have always been a good speller.

We would line up on either sides of the room and the teacher would call out a spelling word. The first one in line would attempt to spell it, and if she missed, she would have to sit down and the word would go to the other team. I always felt sorry for the first person to have to sit down. It was usually a “dumb boy” (not my words, a friend’s!). I’m not sure I ever won a contest, because I usually missed a letter or two, but I made a lot of 100’s on spelling tests.

Third grade was a happy year, as I recall. What about you? How was your third grade?

XOXO

Categories
Memoirs

Meeting Mr. Darragh

It was 1966 when I entered second grade. I was tasked with keeping up with my brother Allen on the school bus, making sure he was on it in the afternoon and that he got off the bus in the morning once we arrived at school. He and I were often mistaken for twins, but he is fourteen months younger than I am, so he was in the first grade.

Wasn’t I a dumpling?

My teacher that year was Mrs. Russell, and I fast became one of her favorites. Or at least I thought I was. Maybe every one of her students had the same thought. She chose me to help her make bulletin board pictures, placed me in reading group one (bluebirds, or something of that sort–everyone knew we were the smartest), and sometimes kept me in the room during the last recess to be her helper.

One day as I was working at my desk, a tall slender man with black-rimmed glasses came into the classroom with Principal Moore. Mr. Moore was getting up in years with plans to retire. The man who had come in with him would be our new principal the next school year.

Mr. Darragh spoke to Mrs. Russell and then knelt down by my desk. What was he doing? I’m sure my face turned red, being singled out like that.

“What’s your name, young lady?” he asked, and after I told him, he told me what a pretty little girl I was and what a beautiful name I had. From that point on, Mr. Darragh would go out of his way to talk to me and even took an interest in what I planned to do with my life later on. Once, when I was in high school and saw him in the school cafeteria, he told me he thought I would make an excellent teacher. At the time I had no intention of being a teacher, but God had different plans, and He hinted at them through Mr. Darragh’s remark.

Mr. Darragh, 1968

Second grade was a fun, innocent year of becoming a fast reader, moving to a new house, chasing and being chased by boys on the playground, and enjoying just being a kid growing up in the country. I was blissfully unaware of the Vietnam War, civil rights unrest, the shooting rampage at the University of Texas in Austin, or the marriage of Elvis Presley to Priscilla Beaulieu.

Did you have a fun second grade experience?

XOXO

Categories
Memoirs

Boyfriends

I had a lot of boyfriends in elementary school. You weren’t “cool” if you weren’t “going” with someone.  Chasing each other on the playground and writing notes to each other was basically the extent of the relationship. We dared not hold hands or exchange kisses for fear of cooties. Boys and girls weren’t supposed to like each other, after all. 

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I remember a few, and I’ll just give their initials so they won’t die of embarrassment if by some weird chance they were to read this. I remember liking a boy in preschool who rode on the bus with me, all giggles and bouncing in the back seat from bumps in the road. That’s really all I remember about him, except in later grades we never really talked to each other. Our interests diverged, I suppose, as did our group of friends. MD played tuba in the band as I recall, and I played flute. In high school he became a goat-roper (cowboy) while I was just a nerd.

My first (or maybe second) grade boyfriend was actually in my swimming class in the summer. It’s hard to recall anything except that we chased each other on the playground during recess. I don’t think that relationship lasted very long. Go figure. Two seven-year-olds.  He did come by my workplace while I was in college and ask me if I was interested in sharing an apartment! There was also another boy that pestered me so much everyone thought he was my boyfriend but he wasn’t.  He was pretty much the class goof-off.  Sadly, JW passed away at a young age.

The next beau I recall is DC in fourth grade. I do remember writing notes with him, notes that consisted of “Do you like me? Check yes or no.” If he checked yes, then you were going together. He sat behind me in class and was a Cub Scout. He wore the cool blue shirt and gold scarf to school one day a week. I seem to remember he smiled a lot. Probably still does.  I do know he is still married to his high school sweetheart and has a beautiful family.

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That’s pretty much it. I guess there really weren’t a lot. I don’t recall any boyfriends in fifth or sixth grade. My parents never had to worry about setting a dating age for me, because no one ever asked me until I was a junior in high school. That’s me, number one nerd. I was too smart for boys to like me. 

That’s okay, though. I wound up with the best of the bunch.  JC and I have been together over 40 years, and I don’t have to chase him around the playground.

How about you?  Did you have boyfriends or girlfriends in elementary school?

Stay safe and well.


XOXO
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COVID 19

We’re in the thick of it now. . .

It’s not fun any more. (Was it ever?)  March began with students and teachers excited about spring break.  Then spring break was extended for two weeks, then three, then four, and now who knows how long it will be before classes resume?  This pandemic has changed everything.  

Now teachers are charged with providing online, virtual lessons for their students in the hopes that students will engage and continue the learning they were supposed to do for this school year.  We can only hope that students and parents will be conscientious enough to do it.  I have no doubt that responsible, caring, and concerned parents will see to it that their children tend to their lessons.  As a former teacher and administrator of at-risk students I fear many won’t.

Many of my students were in the programs I ran because they did not have supportive homes.  Many parents were too busy with their own lives to be involved with the lives of their children.  Some didn’t even care if their children attended school or not.  

Students of low socioeconomic status may not even have access to the internet.  Their parents may be unable to afford internet service or even computers.  Students in rural areas may not have access to reliable internet service.  With libraries and coffee shops closed, what do these students do?  

Will administrators keep students back who were unable to do the lessons?  Will they be able to discern who couldn’t and who just didn’t want to?  These are questions that will certainly have to be addressed.  I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions.  I’m glad my children are grown and that their children are too young to be in school right now.

My heart goes out to parents and school personnel.  I pray for the kids, the parents, and the educators, those who are seeking an education and those who are trying to provide education.  I pray God will bring us through this pandemic stronger and braver and more compassionate than we were, and that we will learn the lessons no textbook or computer could ever teach us–love for others.

Stay safe and well, my friends.

XOXO