There was alot of extra traffic this morning as everyone was bustling about; the need for speed was evident until everyone settles into the daily routine now that school has resumed. There were alot of big ol’ yellow school busses rolling down the road as well. I generally try to steer clear of school loading zones if possible when I am walking, especially on sunny days. Drivers are often distracted and don’t see you. I only have to pay attention on the jaunt to and from Council Point Park – sandwiched in between there’s a glorious two-mile path sans traffic. Most all the kids should be back to school by today – happy parents versus unhappy students who will no doubt already have homework tonight. I don’t remember much about my first day of school, pictured above, but I do know I loved school and was a good student until we moved to the United States. I detailed in an earlier blog post (https://lindaschaubblog.net/2013/06/06/frown/) how bullying, because I was “different”, started in sixth grade and continued through part of junior high school. As a result my stellar grades starting declining dramatically. But until that fateful time I enjoyed school and could hardly wait to start back every September. I attribute my good grades to my mom who had endless patience and great parenting skills in my formative years. Thanks to daily learning sessions, I was way ahead of the curve by the time I started kindergarten.
I was allowed to watch Romper Room and Captain Kangaroo in the morning and after my nap, there was afternoon T.V. time with the Mouseketeers while munching on animal crackers washed down with milk. But in between television, snacks and naps, we did the Three Rs – readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic.
Of course we poured over the “Dick and Jane” series which we read and re-read countless times. My parents had always been avid readers and instilled the love of reading when I was very young. They would enjoy their newspaper or a novel, while I sat in the corner on my little chair with my basket of “Golden Books” beside me. I think I had the plots and the dialogues memorized as I read them over and over again. Then I graduated to the “McGuffey Readers” and “The Bobbsey Twins” and “Little Woman” – there was no stopping me then!
My mom gave me a daily list of vocabulary words to learn and practice in a sentence and then I was quizzed on spelling the same words. Many years later, I would recall her diligence in drilling me to build my vocabulary and learn how to spell correctly when law firm colleagues and I competed in “The Legal News” annual spelling bee. For weeks before the event, all our co-workers quizzed us on various words, legal or otherwise; any of our team of four would be walking down the hall and someone called out a word to be spelled out correctly on the spot trying to stump us. We even searched in “Black’s Law Dictionary” and the regular dictionary to ensure no unusual word would trip us up (as if we could memorize everything for goodness sake). We went several rounds at the spelling bee and tumbled down on the pesky word “recidivism”. “Rats!!” as Charlie Brown would say.
Pauline Schaub’s patience was a virtue with her young daughter, Linda, while demonstrating cursive in a wide-ruled tablet. I had to write the word on the same line directly after the word that was written in my mom’s neat, slanted writing. I knew what the word meant and how to spell it but I usually fell short though on the pretty handwriting.
And then there was math. We began adding and subtracting at the kitchen table using matchsticks (yes, we were careful), or toothpicks … or just for fun we’d use Smarties (the Canadian equivalent of M&Ms). I liked the Smarties math method the best as we’d total the numbers and gobble up the answers afterward. One year for Christmas I got an abacus so we went for “advanced math”; it also eliminated any cavities from too many Smarties math problems, but it sure wasn’t as fun!
We didn’t have preschool back then, but when the first day of school finally arrived, circa 1961, I was a ready-for-prime-time player. Hope you have happy memories of your early school days as well. I know I just passed a pleasurable few moments recounting some of mine.