I still recall 1st day of school

Published 1:47 am Saturday, September 12, 2009

Summer vacation is over. School is back in session. Is there something special you remember about a first day of school? I asked several friends, thinking most of their answers would involve anxiety, especially for those beginning school or kindergarten.

One person did, but it wasn’t her own anxiety she remembered. When she stepped into her first grade classroom, a little girl was crying and clinging to her mother. She just kept on crying. She said she made up her mind right then that she had better things to do than cry. She was eager to learn how to read.

Another said that she was one of those who cried on her first day. In fact, she admitted that she cried that day and every day of her first school year.

A mother just knew her child was going to get upset the minute she walked into the kindergarten room with her. She expected her little darling to sob her heart out and hang onto her. Instead they noticed another child doing just that. She suggested that her daughter help her. Immediately her little girl dropped her mother’s hand and walked over to speak to the crying youngster. She got so absorbed with the other child that she forgot her mother was still there.

Someone told me that on her first day in second grade, her teacher gave each of the children a pencil and a sheet of paper. She told them to write down their name, age and telephone number. “For the life of me,” she said, “I couldn’t remember my first name.”

I was always apprehensive about my teachers at the beginning of the school year. Would I get a nice one, a grumpy one, one who gave lots of homework, or one who was very strict? I almost always had very nice teachers, especially in the elementary grades. Like a lot of children, I really loved my first grade teacher, but I don’t remember my first minutes in her classroom.

Years ago, an elderly friend told me that even though she had to walk four miles in the woods and cross a creek to get to school, she couldn’t wait to start first grade. On the first day of school, her mother gave birth to twins, so she stayed at home until the second half of the school term began. All the teachers at her school lived in a boarding house and brought their lunches on a tray from the boarding house. She said she always took biscuits or cornbread in her own home-packed lunch, but one boy brought sandwiches made with “light bread.” It was the first she and most of her classmates had ever seen.

Some mothers might identify with this one. She said her children forgot their school routine during the summer. They got up and just sat there, so she had to spell it out to them: “Brush your teeth. Get dressed…”