Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday Back-to-School!

Well, I should be working on my sermon, given that I have a church dinner tonight, a wedding most of the day tomorrow, and a dear church member seriously ill in hospital (I spent most of the earlier part of the day there). But I need a mental break, so here goes:

1. What is your earliest memory of school?
My mother took me to meet my kindergarten teacher one day the summer before school started, and while they were chatting, I wandered out to the fenced-in “kindergarten playground” just off the kindergarten classrooms. I found it boring—only the cement “tunnels” cut from huge pipes and a sandbox—so I went on out to the “big playground” and starting swinging on the “big kids” swings. When I was found, I was told in no uncertain terms that kindergartners had to stay on the kindergarten playground. Sigh. Seems I’ve been going places I’m “not supposed to go” ever since.

2. Who was a favourite teacher in your early education?
Mrs. Emery, my third grade teacher. She read to us every day after lunch for half an hour or so; the bestsellers of kidlit of the times—“Dorp Dead” and “Beezus and Ramona” and “Pippi Longstocking.” She read all the stories I wrote, even when they were about horses. She encouraged me to learn math, too.
Mrs. Marquart, my fourth grade teacher, was pretty cool, too. We made a huge collage mural each season (Fall, Winter and Spring), and when it was time for the next one, we drew names to see who got the old one. I took home the winter mural! We also had a fishtank, and made sand sculptures, and she actually got the multiplication tables into my head! Yes, math was a challenge for me…

3. What do you remember about school “back then” that is different from what you know about schools now?
Clothes. I had to wear a dress/skirt to school until I was in third or fourth grade; even then, while you could wear slacks/jeans, a skirt or dress was preferred. This was in Michigan, walking to school in all weathers. Is it any wonder most of us wore pants to school under our dresses and took them off when we got there? I would never have been able to wear shorts to school under any circumstances (my mother’s rule, not the school’s). Today, my son and his friends wear pretty much whatever they like. The rules have more to do with what’s on the clothing (no alcohol/drug promotion, no obscenity or hate language) and the length (no belly t’s, no droopy pants). Oh, and no hats.
And of course computers. In grade 7, our school had a connection to the university computer. We could play “Hangman” with a computer. That was pretty cool and high-tech at the time. Now kids get in trouble for playing “Hangman” on the computer when they’re supposed to be studying.

4. Did you have to memorize in school? If so, share a poem or song you learned.
Somehow I got away with not having to memorize anything. I did, however, all on my own, memorize Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

Whose woods these are I think I know;
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The coldest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep.

I typed that in and then checked it. I only made one mistake: it’s the “darkest” evening of the year, not the “coldest.”

5. Did you ever get in trouble at school? Were there any embarrassing moments you can share?
Well, see above, with the kindergarten playground. Although since it was only my mother and the teacher, perhaps that doesn’t count. I was a boringly obedient child.


Songbird said...

You did well to miss only one syllable!

St. Casserole said...

I memorized this poem in my school days, too.

I love the Beezus books but Pippi Longstocking didn't make much sense to me, then or now.

Give yourself credit for being an obedient child because schools demand this and I think it's easier for the children.

Clarence Darrow--Beyond Scopes and Leopold & Loeb

Personalities fascinate me--people do. One way I try to understand history and places is through people--which is why I love good histor...