Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Elementary School Memories, Now that I Have Kids in Elementary School

This fall, a weird thing is going to happen – all three of our children will be in school. Sure, Isaac will only be in pre-school three days a week, but he’ll still be in school. Michelle will have actual free time at home without any children bothering her, unless I stay home from work.

The family is growing up, and the time has sure gone by fast. Won’t be much longer and we’ll have teenagers in the house. I thought I was gobsmacked when Liam became a Cub Scout, so I know there’s no way I’m ready for the teenager thing.

Speaking of Cubs, Liam is close to achieving something I didn’t do at his age: Earning his Wolf Badge. Admittedly, we’ve pushed him along, something I wish my folks had done at that age, to urge me to achieve more. It’s not like earning the badge is a difficult thing, it just takes a little cajoling, conversation and some good record-keeping. Sine my most vivid Cub Scout memory revolved around getting nailed in the head with a 3-wood at the Joos’ house during a Scout activity, perhaps I can be forgiven in that my enthusiasm for Scouting was at a low ebb then. That was also the era of the Forced Piano Lessons (which Liam and Lexie are also doing, but with much more cheer and aplomb than I ever exhibited). They may indeed turn into the teens I see at church who sheepishly agree to play hymns. Or they may go totally Goth on us and want to paint their bedrooms black. Not likely for Lexie. Black doesn’t have enough pink or purple in it, nor is the color really conducive to ballet dancing.

But back to the school thing. Liam will be a mighty third-grader; Lexie will be in first grade. I’m not old enough to have kids in these grades. I still remember when I was this old:

First Grade, the northwest corner of the auxiliary building at Lincoln Elementary. Teacher was Mrs. King whom, as I recall, wore lots of polyester. Most vivid memories: The day Joyce dropped her crayon box, scattering crayons and pencils all over the classroom, as we were filing out to leave for the day; the day one of my friends pushed open the bathroom stall so everyone could watch me pee (and the day he was no longer my friend).

Third Grade, the same classroom. Teacher was Mrs. Barrett. Most vivid memories: Getting caught cheating on a multiplication test – to this day, can’t multiply by seven and not recall the feeling of burning shame; Sitting next to the classroom bookshelf where I could pull out a book whenever I wanted to, as long as I didn’t get caught.

Other random memories which apply pretty much to the five years I spent at Lincoln include watching the field behind the school flood with snowmelt every year, feeling really rebellious and cool on those few occasions when I wandered over to the “other” side of the school, between the school and the church where we were not supposed to go, and the one glorious year (Second Grade) I spent in the main building, a 1911-era behemoth with creaky stairs and rattly windows. I really miss that building. Being asked to avoid the church was weird, because on Sundays, that was where I went to church, so it was like being told not to go home after school. (On Tuesdays, I was supposed to follow my sister over to the church after school for Primary classes, but I almost always avoided going, except on those days when the bus driver (who also attended our church) forced me out the door of the bus and sent me over to the church, bless her.

This is what the main building looks like now. You'll notice the top portion uses a different color of brick. As I recall, the building had an old, mansard-style roof on it, including a little cupola/bell tower over the pop-out on the front, but that was all removed during a remodel of the building during the years I was there. Now it looks like a big tissue box. Sigh.

My kids will be bringing home memories like this, but theirs will come from a rather squat, 1950s-style box that just doesn’t have that old-timey charm. Oh well. Can’t exactly pick schools for their décor, now can we?

One of these days, I’d like to visit ol’ Stinkin’ Lincoln, to get back into that particular classroom (I also spent the Fifth Grade there). I’m sure it’s changed quite a bit – the school is now an alternative high school.


Brian said...

Hey I had Mrs. King too, funny thing is thats what I remember the polyester too. If your not old enough to have kids that old wait until one of them starts high school.

Brian Davidson said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who remembers Mrs. King and the polyester. I always get worried that I'm imagining my memories, rather than simply remembering them. And I don't even want to think about having kids in high school yet. Yikes.