Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: START (02/25/16)
- TITLE: School Daze
By Sharon Eastman
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I yearned to read and write like my mother, who would spend her afternoons reading novels or writing letters and poems. She read very often to me, and I loved snuggling in her arms while she read Donald Duck Was Furious, or poems and pictures from my Childcraft Encyclopedia set. Even when she was busy, she would drop everything and read to me. The stories and pictures in literature enlivened my vibrant imagination.
In the late ‘50s our neighborhood was flooded with kids, two through four per household. We’d ride tricycles and play in the fields of our growing town. In those times we could play outside all day, and our parents held no fear for our safety.
But the older kids who attended school interested me the most. Off to school they would go carrying books and lunch pails, laughing and joking all the way. I’d watch then enviously as they came home again in the afternoons a little weary and bedraggled. The sounds of American Bandstand echoed through my windows as the older kids snacked and refreshed themselves.
Teenagers that rocked down the street enthralled me. I longed to be the pretty teenage girl I saw in her flowing poodle skirt, bobby sox and long ponytail. She carried many books as I learned she wanted to be a nurse,. All the cute boys with wavy pompadours would admire her beauty.
Oh, how I was ready for school, and when the big day came, I was as thrilled as an Oscar winner. I wore new clothes with shoes to match, and Mommy tied a beautiful ribbon around my ponytail. My little friend, Diane, and I skipped all the long distance to school with our mothers straggling behind. We were big girls now; we weren’t kindergarten babies. Or so we thought.
I was amazed to see hundreds of kids waiting to enter the school. They formed into two lines, girls and boys, under the waving and curling American flag. My heart swelled with pride; I was part of the gang. We lived in a white bread world then, and the only students of color were from the Children’s Village. They stood out among this huge group of Caucasian baby boomers, and I was intrigued.
My teacher, Mrs. Heyden, greeted us at the door and placed name tags on our chests. About thirty students filtered in. I was enchanted with the tiny desks, toys, chalkboard and the colorful pin up board. There was a fancy globe and all the books I would ever like to read. The room smelled dusty and old, like stale bread.
Suddenly the crackling PA system boomed, and we, the whole school, said the Pledge of Allegiance with our principal. Afterwards, Mrs. Heyden led us in prayer. It was the beginning of a fanciful day and the beginning of my privileged and challenging twelve year education.
My very first day of school went quickly; I was busy every minute. We learned about letters and numbers. We sang songs and played with hand-held musical instruments. We colored and made paper placemats for our mothers. And we went outdoors for physical fitness on the playground equipment. We also played outdoor games like Four Square, Mother May I and jump rope.
At rest time I laid my mat close to Richard Douglass, the cutest boy in the class. I also learned about “crushes” at that tender age.
That day ended happily for me. My mother met me at the school door, and again we walked the long distance home. When we finally arrived, Mommy asked me if I had a good time. I said, “Yes, Mommy, can I go tomorrow?”
She said, “Yes, Darling, you can go tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. . . !”
Note: The officials razed this elementary school five years ago. Along with that went many precious memories.
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