Wednesday, October 8, 2008

5th Grade

Yesterday I wrote about grade school days, hot lunches and riding the school bus. I was surprised at how quickly people commented, relating their own experiences in grade school.

Yes, I walked home for lunch for the first years. The walk to and from took up most of the hour. And yes, there are many things about those years that I would like to forget. But I choose to remember the good times or the quirky little things that happened back then, and of course the friends - people I remember only from those times, who will remain in my mind children forever.

When Clara from Tennessee commented, she spoke of her mother braiding her hair. I used to wear braids. I was pretty much a tomboy for a while, and it was the easiest way to keep my hair out of my way. In school, we were seated alphabetically, as well as boy-girl-boy-girl. Since my name began with a W, that meant that I spent several years seated behind Geoffrey Watts, whom I liked very much, and in front of John Wood, whom I liked not so much. You see, we had ink wells in our desks in those days. John enjoyed putting the end of my braid into his ink well.

That seating arrangement also meant that I was stuck in the back of the room. I did not like that at all. I was the eager beaver kid with her hand up all the time. But the teacher seemed always to call on the boys first.

I remember all of my grade school teachers. Loved most of them: Miss Mason, Miss Lambkin....all of them. But then there was Miss Henderson in the 5th grade. Don't you sometimes wonder why certain people become teachers? Wouldn't you think that a person who became a teacher would like children? Miss H. always gave me the impression that she was just putting up with us, and she obviously disliked certain kids in the class. I was not among those unfortunates, but it really bothered me. She did give us poetry to read, which I loved, but when she read it aloud, she butchered it. And then, there was the time I got sick.

We were having a sort of talent show. Our class was to present the entertainment for the other 5th grade class. Miss H. told me I had to sing a song. I really did not want to do this, and she knew it. When the time came, I was feeling very sick. She thought I was just trying to get out of it, and made me get up in front of the class anyway. Fortunately, as soon as I stood up there, the teacher of the other class said, "Send that child to the nurse's office! She isn't well!" As it turned out, I had the measles. I was sent home. Had to trudge through the snow, which seemed to get deeper with every step. Finally reached home and dragged myself up to our second floor apartment via the fire escape, and climbed through a bedroom window, since I had no key and my mother, being deaf, always locked the door until it was time for me to come home. I was really angry with Miss H. for not believing that I was sick, and with my mother for locking the door.

Miss H. also made us memorize Bible verses and recite them. I hated that. This wasn't unusual in those days, when we started every day with the pledge to the flag, a prayer, and a Bible reading. Then there were the missionaries who came to visit at least once a year. I can still sing the little Chinese hymn they taught us. And of course, there were the ladies of the W.C.T.U. (Women's Christian Temperance Union, for the uninitiated) who also came once a year and made us stand up by our desks with our hands over our hearts to recite The Pledge that we would never allow liquor to touch our lips. But, that's another story.


Judy said...

Your posts about your school days have really brought back the memories, Bobbie. I, too, sat behind this one boy all year. I still remember his name, too. He drove me crazy picking on me, stealing my stuff, etc. One day he stole my book bag and notebook. He went too far. I hit him over the head from behind with a thick dictionary! Needless to say, I got in trouble but he never bothered me again. I think he was afraid since I almost knocked him out that I might kill him the next time. TN said...

I thought of another thing that happened to me in grade school. Do you remember the print feed sacks? Well, my Mother made me a gathered skirt from one and I thought it was beautiful. I couldn't wait to wear it to school. When I did, there was a boy in my class (that I couldn't like at all) had on a shirt just like my skirt. Needless to say, I would NEVER wear that skirt again. Thanks for the memories!

Daryl said...

Ah .. in second grade some little boy put glue on my chair and ruined my favorite plaid skirt ...I remember my mother telling me he did it because he liked me .. my reply was: I wish he didnt like me so much


Bear Naked said...

I think it was my grade 3 teacher (and I have blocked her name from my memory) who used to scare me to death.
I sat in the very front row and when she got angry at some other child (never me)she would slam her book down on MY desk.
I can still see in my mind, my pencils jumping in the air.
I was terrified of her.

Bear((( )))

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hello! What fun memories. I hope you talk about Geoffrey Watts. Just how very much did you like him?

I enjoyed reading everyone's comments. I wish I could remember events that happened in school like this. Lisa

Dianne said...

I had a Miss H in grammar school too. We had a science fair and my project was on the floor by my seat because Miss H told me not to get up until the Pledge of Allegiance was over - so I couldn't put it in the closet.

Well Miss H forgot about that and wouldn't let me go to the closet and then eventually she almost fell over it and she KICKED it. Kicked my beloved project!!

It was the first time I really remember being furious with a teacher and talking back. I said something silly like it was all her fault and she shouldn't kick innocent projects LOL

I cried all day though.

Isn't it amazing what we remember!? My son made me laugh, when I told him about this he said "well she's dead now".

Kelly said...

Wow, Miss Henderson sounds like a real *****! I'll just ditto what everyone said. I feel so bad for you, when old Miss H. didn't believe you when you said you didn't feel well and then you ended up with measles! Hope she hadn't had the measles yet and she caught them from you! Sorry, it's just been one of those days! I don't mean to be hateful, but you're right, I don't know why she wanted to be a teacher?

kenju said...

I once wrote about being treated un fairly by a teacher anda the principal too. My mom sewed all my clothes. One day I had on a dress with an organdy pinafore, trimmed in rick-rack. The teacher complimented the dress and I told her mom made it. She didn't believe me and sent me to the principal's office for lying. The principal didn't believe me either, so she called my mom and asked. My mom read them both the riot act for treating me like that. said...

So boys really did stick girls braids in ink wells! I never knew that actually happened!
Good story Bobbie.
; )

Ralph said...

I remember setting at desks that had holes where the ink well use to go but we never used them. Your previous post about brown bags and hot lunches made me remember how I longed to buy lunch at school - until I tried one. After that all I was interested in was getting the chocolate milk. We could only get chocolate milk on Thursday so it was a treat.

Ralph said...

I remember setting at desks that had holes where the ink well use to go but we never used them. Your previous post about brown bags and hot lunches made me remember how I longed to buy lunch at school - until I tried one. After that all I was interested in was getting the chocolate milk. We could only get chocolate milk on Thursday so it was a treat.

me ann my camera said...

Yes, I wore braids too and if I didn't sit still while Mother was braiding them each morning they were often slightly yanked to remind me to stop fidgeting. And I always envied the kid whose name started with 'A' for it seemed that she was first to see anything or get anything and so on. My last name started with 'R', so that was almost as bad as 'W'. When I became an elementary teacher I tried to be as empathetic as I could possibly be when I could see some little one encountering some cumbersome or awkward situation; me trying to make sure some other little ones didn't meet a discomfort that could possibly be avoided. I loved your memories as they evoked many of my own :-)

KG said...

She sounds AWFUL!

I had this 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Martin, who was very nice to us. I went to a school where the middle and elementary schools were on the same campus so sometimes during lunch break my 6th grade year we'd go back to visit Mrs. Martin because she was so nice.

Well - as it turned out Mrs. Martin was nice when we were in 5th grade, but not so much when we moved on to 6th grade! I think she was probably busy and just didn't want us there bothering her - which in retrospect, I can certainly understand. But we were so shocked that she wasn't nearly as happy to see us as we were to see her!

Cliff said...

Both of these are great reads bobbie. It is really interesting what jumps out of our memories from the days gone by.
We lived 2 miles from our country school. I went to school in a one room school through the eight grade. No kindergarten. No P.E. No nurse. Brown bag lunch. I'm still trying to think of something I missed out on. It obviously warped my mind but it is what makes me believe that now we (socitey) are trying to do too much. It's really about the basics.
Sorry about the measles episode.
Oh yes, we only opened school around flag pole each day. No prayers.
Oh yeah, I only had one teacher for the first 5 years.