Saturday, 21 April 2012

School days

Perhaps sometime down the road, in generations to come, my family will be interested to know a few details of my life at school. It is a long time ago already and there would be a lot more than I can write but here is a bit of it. Most of my school years were in the late 1960's and through the 1970's.
Every morning I would wake up to the old wind-up type chime clock chiming seven times and that meant I had to get up and get ready for school. As I remember the school bus arrived at the end of our lane at ten minutes before 8 am and my sisters and I were off to school. School started at 9am as it still does here in our town now.
There was no preschool or kindergarten in my day so I started school when I was six years old going into grade one at Graysville which was a tiny village about ten miles from our home. The school was a simple four classroom school, with the an auditiorium ( now they would call it the gym) in the basement, the classrooms on the main floor and the teachers office was upstairs. There were three teachers in the school. Mrs Gray taught grade 1&2, Mrs McIntosh taught grades 3&4, and Mrs Watt taught grades 5&6. Approximately seventy students attended this school on an average year.
My memories of each grade are few though in my mind I can still see where my desk was in each grade. I remember in grade one at lunch time the classroom doors were open and when I would look behind me I could see my sister sitting at her desk in her classroom eating her lunch as well and the security it brought me just seeing her there across the hall. Also in grade one, one day when Mrs Gray was doing our sight memory words with the class she put out a new word which was the word "Christmas". She proceeded to ask if anyone knew the word and I gladly raised my hand. Then she scolded me for knowing a word that she had not taught the class and I was a bad girl for having learned it ahead of the other children. I remember my friend Diana in grade one and two and that she moved away.
 I failed a test in grade 3. I had missed some days of school and so I didn't know enough about pemmican to pass the test. Pemmican is a high protein energy food developed by the Native Americans long ago.  Also in grade 3, I remember four boys got a spanking with the strap. I don't know what they had done wrong but I can still see Mrs McIntosh, her red face, and the four boys standing  at the front of the class. She got the strap from her desk and each one had to hold out his hands and they got their due one by one with the whole class watching.  Mrs. McIntosh had two sons of her own in the class while I was in her classroom. It seemed her boys were allowed to see tests and assignments before the rest of us in the class. It seemed unfair and like she favored them.  In grade 4, I was having trouble seeing the blackboard. I didn't know that I needed glasses but when my parents got a visit from the school division nurse, I had to be taken to the optometrist and I got my first pair of glasses. I have worn glasses ever since. I didn't like having to wear glasses because none of my sisters needed glasses so I felt different. I often would pray that my eyes would be better but that was a prayer that I had to accept would not be answered with a yes.
In grade 5, I won second place in our school's science fair. I did my project on Scientific Changes in physcial and chemical things. It was an exciting accomplishment for me. I also became school bus captain in grade six. I had to keep an eye an the kids in the bus and report to the teacher whatever I thought necessary. I actually can't remember reporting anything but I know I felt the responsibilty to watch the other kids. Also every year in June, our school would have "track and field day". It was just a fun day for which  we spent hours and days preparing for and in grade 6, I was fortunate to become team captain for for one of our school's teams. All the kids from all ages and grades were divided into our groups. There were relay races, long jump, high jump, track races, and baseball. High jump was my favorite as I was a bit taller than some girls and I did reasonably well at it. Parents could come for the day to watch. They would set up a canteen for the day ( the rest of the year there was no canteen at all). It was a lot of fun.
Some distinct memories of fellow classmates. Patricia was an excellent artist. I never knew how she could draw so well but now that I also am a mom, I know how much kids can learn from watching TV especially Mr Dressup. We didn't have a TV in our home as I was growing up. Perhaps Patricia watched Mr Dressup and learned to draw that way. Darlene had a banana in her lunch every single day. I could never figure out how her family could have bananas every day. At our house having a banana was an occasional treat. Marylynne was popular and mature and often came to the bus with toast in hand.  Judith and Sharon were cousins and mostly stayed together. There was Valerie who always had the best costume for parties and another Valerie who was from a very poor family. There were boys too but I guess the memories are fewer of the boys than with the girls except for on the bus where the boys oftentimes made their mark.
There were in class school parties for Valentine's day, Halloween and Christmas. So much to remember from school days.
 Some day I will post about my high school experiences. For grade seven and on we had to ride the bus to the next town and there are many memories from there as well.

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