Walking excitedly down the sidewalk, away from my weeping mother and through the double doors of Outer Podunk Elementary School. Second earliest memory -- getting on the wrong bus to go home and winding up on an hour-long odyssey with a lot of crying.
Who was a favorite teacher in your early education?
Mrs. Peters, my first-grade teacher during the first semester. Unlike the other near-retirement normal-school-graduate first-grade teachers, Mrs. Peters was young and hip. I was a sickly child who had to stay in at recess, and Mrs. Peters let me help her decorate the classroom bulletin boards.
What do you remember about school “back then” that is different from what you know about schools now?
More academics and less social work; arbitrary and irresponsible corporal punishment (like playing with a toy inside one's desk and having an angry teacher slam the desktop down on the child's hand). Am I close?
Did you have to memorize in school? If so, share a poem or song you learned.
Well, growing up in the 60's we weren't encouraged to memorize much...so the memorized songs and poems I recall are of the playground variety. One popular ditty, sung to the tune of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," went like this:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
We have tortured every teacher, we have broken every rule
We have stormed into the office and kidnapped the principal
Us brats go marching on...
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Teacher hit me with a ruler
I hid behind the door with a loaded .44
And she ain't my teacher no more.
We found this song quite droll; nowadays, sadly, I suppose if someone heard a child singing it in school there'd be a SWAT team surrounding the building in 15 minutes.
Did you ever get in trouble at school? Were there any embarrassing moments you can share?
I once got in trouble for laughing at a classmate who was getting in trouble; for that infraction I had to sit in the corner with my back to the class. I never told my parents about that incident until I was an adult. And as far as embarrassing incidents...well, in first grade I -- let's just say that I didn't make it to the bathroom quite in time; my parents were called and had to come to school with a change of clothing. And yet here I am, 40 years later, a responible and continent adult.
Black-eyed Susans mean...summer's almost over and schooltime's almost here.