When you think about your days in elementary school, what comes to mind first? A special teacher, the new things you learned, or a new friend? Maybe it’s the new clothes and school supplies you always got for each new school year. As for me, I hold dear the “little things” that happened, beyond my educational learning experience. Most of these were good, but a few were not.
For example, I had learned to “print” the alphabet, and some numbers, before entering first grade. I was proud. But according to my first grade teacher, I was using the wrong hand! I’ll never forget the sting of that wooden ruler on my left palm as she sought to correct me. It didn’t work. I just couldn’t write with my right hand.
Our classroom was the only one with it’s own bathroom. If we raised our hand, we usually were granted permission to go. One day she told me “No”. That day was embarrassing. I wore my “water accident” on my dress for the rest of the day.
The classroom was overcrowded. After six weeks, another room was made available. A young teacher was hired. I was placed in the new class. No bathroom, but the “big bathroom” was just across the hall. No more accidents for me! And my grades improved.
I made one special new friend in the first grade. So special was our friendship that we became “blood sisters”. One day, during outside play time, we performed an Indian ritual. We pricked one finger each, then touched them together, letting the small drops of blood mingle. To seal the deal, we buried a valuable possession each, in the same little hole that we dug. I gave up a dime store ring that my cousin had given to me, and she forfeited a little necklace.
The only “little thing” in second grade involved one of our little wooden chairs used in the reading circle. The teacher told me to sit in one of them beside a boy’s desk. I helped him with his arithmetic.
In the third grade I learned to “write” instead of printing.
I also learned about harassment. I had long, really thick hair that “bushed out” on a bad hair day. A few kids called me “witch” in the hallway. This didn’t last long. Guess they didn’t see me cast any spells and decided that I wasn’t one after all!
During this time, there was a lice problem. The principal came to our room. But before he stepped inside, he cleared his throat. Someone said, “Here comes Frog Eyes!”. ( He did have “pop” eyes.) He informed us that he was going to check us for head lice.
It came my turn to be checked out, in the hallway. He pulled my hair back, first one side, then the other.
“ No lice, but you’re dirty behind the ears. Wash there when you get home.”
I was glad that the other kids didn’t hear that.
Fourth, fifth, and sixth grades passed without any embarrassing moments.
In the sixth grade, for exercise, we had to race around the back yard behind the school. I was the fastest one day, a memorable moment for me. Years later, in high school, I remember thinking, “Wow! In sixth grade, I could run faster than the boy who became the quarterback on our football team!”
I received a graduation certificate from the sixth grade. Elementary School and kid stuff was behind me.
I thought, “Look out, seventh grade, here I come! I’m all grown up!” But that’s a whole ‘nother story...
By the way, my “blood sister” and I are still friends, fifty-four years later. And... I probably could win a “clean ears” contest... now.
Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings ,whether his work be pure and whether it be right.
Copyright 2004 Martha J. Currington