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I've lived on the school year schedule almost my whole life. I've only been separated from the schedule for about a year after I finished high school.  I've married a teacher, become a teacher, stopped being a teacher, started being a teacher, stopped being a teacher, returned to a different sort of teaching that is nonetheless governed primarily by the school year calendar.  

My own children are starting their school years today.  The 8th grader is focused on wearing skinny jeans, texting, basketball, his two band periods (jazz piano and french horn!), and his place in the social fabric of middle school.  The 1st grader is anxious.  She sits in nervous immobility at the breakfast table, waiting for her food to climb into her mouth.  

As a child, my life was tumultuous.  The family was broken when I came out of the womb. My parents divorced shortly after my birth, and my mother died when I was 6.  

The children were taken with seeming reluctance by my birth father- my brother's adopted father.  We did offer the benefit of two Social Security checks every month until we finished high school.  

The chaos of this environment was readily apparent on all days of school, but I would guess (since I can't remember so well) that the chaos of my home life was featured on the first day of school.  It could have been the case that school was a refuge for me, and that the chaos of home was discarded for the welcome organization of school.

This was the day that my Father would probably not remember when school was starting, and that I would probably be woken by my brother, because getting up in the morning was frequently not part of the adult's plans on any given day.    

This means that I have no resources to draw on to help fill out my memories of childhood.  My brother is helpful in that regards sometimes.  

When I say education, I almost immediately think about primary education.  I've always worked with young children from ages 3 through 7 or so.  

Now that I've put that out there, I'll also add that I was and am probably a perfect model of the ADHD brain.  The sort of brain that I and my son have in common is the type of brain that doesn't stop for remembering.  Reflection is a luxury resulting from focus and patience.  

My first memories of school are scant.  I remember preschool moments.  I remember disregarding the rules about playing with the rolling toys.  They were red plastic ladders with wheels at 4 points so that they could roll.  We were not supposed to lay face down but I did.  I remember getting the gravel bits pulled from my lower lip and placing it in an envelope for safe keeping.  

Kindergarten may not have been a requirement for my generation.  I have no recollection of anything like kindergarten.  

In first grade, I remember falling through the ladder rungs on the metal slide at Spalding Elementary in Richland Washington.  

I do not remember learning to read.  I do not remember anything that I learned.

In Second Grade, we had moved to Western Washington, and we lived in a suburb of Seattle.  I remember that the man who was my teacher was a volunteer firefighter, and that he allowed us to fingerpaint with food coloring and toothpaste.  We did this on our desk.  

In third grade, I remember going to school with a self conscious welt on the muscle of my forearm.  It was the result of my poor attempt at escaping the spoon being aimed at my little ass.  In retrospect, it probably would have been wiser to take it on the padded bits.  

I remember being told about the kid who had fallen backwards in his chair, and had taken the full force of the fall right on the back of his neck leaving him paralyzed!  I remember being taken from the class to test for advanced learning.  I remember that nothing changed after that, so I must not have done too well.  I remember wondering how someone could leave their pants on the playground.  I remember that very clearly.  "How in the world could someone leave their pants here!?"

I remember being in love.  I remember that she was the queen of the kissing club, and that in order to demonstrate that I had no need for the kissing club, I would chant, "I hate Amy and Amy hates me."  I remember when she developed a stye on her eye, and part of her eye swelled up so that she thought she was hideous.  I remember telling her that she still looked good, and that I still liked her, even if she did have a stye on her eye.  

I remember meeting the Vietnamese kids.  

What are your earliest memories of school?

Originally posted to otto on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 07:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Education Alternatives and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Gotta run the youngest to school (10+ / 0-)

      I'll check back in a bit.

      "Is he able but not willing? Then he is malevolent."

      by otto on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:24:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  First day of kindergarten (25+ / 0-)

      I got in trouble and had to sit in the corner because the teacher said to do the first page -- but I kept going.  It didn't compute to me at all that it was bad to do more than you were asked to.  Besides, I was done with the first page, and I was bored

      A little tender courage at that rare right instant, and things might well have turned out differently -- Ken Kesey

      by Frankenoid on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 06:17:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I remember my first day of Kindergarten (8+ / 0-)

      like it was yesterday.
      So today was my second day of Kindergarten.

      "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -Benjamin Franklin

      by hotdamn on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 07:04:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Remember Kindergarten. It was about the (8+ / 0-)

      second day. (I went to Catholic school through the 2nd grade).

      The Kindergarten Teacher, Sister Ima (the oldest Nun in our school, with a reputation for being the toughest too), had all our desks arranged in long rows, right in front of her desk. Just to make sure she could keep her eyes on us! I was in the front row because my last name starts with A, right in front of her.

      The first thing we were told was, that absolutely no talking was allowed.

      Then as I sat there minding my own business; the girl next to me said something to me. (I don't remember what), so I told her we weren't allowed to talk.

      Bam, the next thing I knew, we were both in trouble!

      I tried to explain that I wasn't talking, just telling the other girl that I couldn't respond to her because we weren't allowed to talk (after all Sister Ima had seen and heard the whole thing. How could she not have, being less than a foot away). I was quickly told that, this counted as talking!

      The next thing I knew, we (both of us criminal talkers), the other girl and I were sent to the back of the room. Her in the corner and I up against a chalk board not far from her. Sister Ima put a dunce cap on the other girls head.

      After what seemed like forever standing there (my legs sure hurt by then), it was story and singing and play time.

      Sister Ima said we could sit down for story time but not participate in play time because we were being punished.

      I, always being the revolutionary with a strong sense of justice, and probably not all that smart, felt that I was being treated unfairly and refused to participate in story time, even if it meant getting to sit down. So I stood there while the guilty culprit with the dunce cap went and sat with the class.

      Then; when she got back to the corner, she got a stool to sit on, for capitulating! I was still forced to stand!
      But at least Sister Ima didn't put the dunce cap on my head!

      I stood there for I don't know how much longer. It seemed like a really long time, and by the time I did get to go back to my seat, I was exhausted and my legs really hurt. I never talked in class again, you can be sure!

      Another thing I remember about Kindergarten is. They had this toy horse that kids could ride on. It walked or something when one pushed the pedals.

      Every time I wanted to ride on it some other kid grabbed it first. When asked when I could play on it Sister Ima said I would get a chance, eventually. That these kids didn't have many toys at home and they should get to play with it first. (I did have a lot of toys).

      I come from a small town and everyone knew my Mother and Father and knew I didn't lack for anything. I wasn't spoiled, even thought people thought I was. My Mother never spoiled me.

      So I waited and waited for my turn all year, but I never did get one. I always thought that this was wrong! That I deserved a turn too!

      Another Kossack had a video of Anna posted last year. I was so impressed with her, that I made a blog post for her. She's So Smart!
      Anna and the Animals

      Another thing I remember about my first few years at school was coloring.

      I loved when we got to color pictures the Nuns had copied for us. We made cards for our parents and colored Christmas pictures and this was my favorite. Even more than playing with the toys.

      Kids In Need Foundation

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:47:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  rebel from the start, eh? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rebel ga, otto, historys mysteries, BYw

        Wow, I remember a big rug we sat on, round tables for arts, no desks. The teacher was a big gal, in her late 50's probably. And we had our own door and outside stairway to the playground.

        KG was only half a day. I remember the how LONG the first day of first grade was. Of course, in the 50's, we did not have lunch at school, so I had to walk the 12 blocks twice in one day.  I am sure it was the stress. 24 blocks was not far compared to all of our usual outdoor activity.

        I clearly remember the first day of kindergarten we all had to write our names on a poster. I finished mine and the boy next to me said:

        "Your name has 3 i's in it."  

        Uh Huh. V i r g i n i a.

        About the only thing I could spell or read... even when I got to first grade. I was totally ashamed that all the other kids could read a lot of words and I had NO idea what they were reading. I still chalk it up to to starting KG at 4. Plus I am convinced that mom sort of got overwhelmed by #3 and I didn't get read to as much.  

        Fun post, Otto. Thanks for the memories :)

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 10:13:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow 12 Blocks Each Way! I used to get stressed (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          otto, historys mysteries, Ginny in CO

          having to walk two blocks each way back and forth to lunch. Time crunch. Hoping I wouldn't be late getting back to school. I was in Kindergarten in 1956.

          Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

          by rebel ga on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:07:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  1956!! Me Too :) :) (0+ / 0-)

            I think my math was not clear. It was 6 blocks to school so the round trip was 12.  In the winter we had a lot of fun with it. The area between the streets and the sidewalks was generally pretty wide. We would make little trails in the snow, winding around the bushes and trees, rather than just walk straight on the sidewalks.

            And no one told us to stay off their lawns!

            By the time I was in 4th grade, I had a bike for spring and fall. That memory always brings back riding a bike in a dress...

            And being able to wear pants in Jr Hi and HS after we had moved to KC, KS burbs. ONLY WHEN THE WINDCHILL HIT LOW ENOUGH. Can't have the kids getting frostbitten waiting for the bus.  

            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

            by Ginny in CO on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 04:11:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Modeling clay in Kindergarten at Franklin school (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kait, BYw

      the mean 1rst grade kid, Mrs. Johnson our kindergarten teacher. The mats we had our enforced nap time on. Library paste and classmates that ate it- including one kid that would only draw something he called "Little Orbie". He was obsessed with it- I think it might have been a toy at the time. The beautiful hardwood floors in the 1890's built brick schoolhouse. The jungle gym of death over asphalt- WHAT were our parents thinking putting a surface like that under climbing equipment? Plenty more where he came from? Being tricked into touching my tongue to the jungle gym in the winter. A big crow/Raven that would harass us, especially Jackie Buchan who had a hat that looked like a rabbit. The urinals in the bathroom when one was used to peeing in a toilet, the hot radiators and incredibly high ceilings.

  •  Kindergarten; We Didn't Have Preschool. (23+ / 0-)

    The folding tables had a salty smell when we put our heads down on them to take our naps.

    I came home crying once because I couldn't skip. Mom spent some time that afternoon teaching me how to do it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:16:49 AM PDT

  •  My family life was somewhat chaotic as well. (13+ / 0-)

    Although I spent most of my life in queens and Long Island, I went to kindergarten in St. Paul. Preschool was almost unheard of in the mid 50s. I remember walking to school (in an endless winter) behind the big kids, second graders who lived in the apartments upstairs. I also remember cutting out a big evergreen tree for an ice skating diorama. When you have 6 months of winter, ice skating is a big deal.

    We moved back to NY a few weeks after 1st grade started As I said, my family was chaotic too. I went to PS 149. I remember that my teacher was Mrs. Flynn. I did not learn much because I was one of those awful kids who taught myself to read. My most vivid members of first grade are singing "East side, West side..." in assembly and about some form that my mom failed to return that got me in a lot of trouble. If I remember this correctly (this could have been the 1957-8 school year), it was a form about whether you kid should be sent home in the event of a nuclear attack. I guess that the alternative was to stay at school and watch the bombs call. The duck and cover video was filmed about a mile or two from where we were living then.

  •  Nap time! (16+ / 0-)

    I remember being absolutely appalled that they expected me to take a nap in Kindergarten!

    "When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." — John Muir

    by carolr51 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:20:35 AM PDT

  •  First day (12+ / 0-)

    I remember my first day of school - I was actually 4 and was quite excited about it. I remember being in the backseat of the car and bouncing around rather a lot in anticipation. I also remember walking in the door - I lived in a very small town on an island so it was a one-room affair - and seeing the handful of other students sitting and desks and not being at all intimidated. I liked school for the most part, and I still maintain lots of great memories.

    •  I have in my memory the path I took (14+ / 0-)

      to the one room school house in 1949

      We lived in the back woods of southern Missouri called the Ozarks

      I had never been in a building with so many windows before

      It had an old wood stove in the middle and it was huge

      one peace desk and chair all in line on each side  

      All grades from 1st to 8th in same room, no kindergarten in all 38 children  

      one teacher sat at the front of the room with blackboards in back of her.  Her name was Miss Hanaford

      It was a wonderful new  world for me

      In my opinion......

      by xanthippe2 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 09:39:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm younger than you by some years... (5+ / 0-)

        ...but my favorite year of school when I was a kid was 4th grade, because that year, I attended a small rural school with multiple grade levels in each classroom. I still have one friend from that time, and he had the same teacher for years (Mrs. Gilpatrick, who is in her 80s now and still kickin'!). I was kind of a Teacher's Pet (since I did my work quickly and helped out with the younger grades) but my poor pal was not similarly blessed. We went back there a couple of years ago for an annual festival they hold there, and he reminded me that I got to ring the end-of-recess bell all the time and he never got chosen. Poor guy!

        That was a wood-stove, old-style desk place too...though it did have a "modern" kitchen where some local ladies came in and made a lunch, and everyone used to eat in a big room next to the stage (too small to call an auditorium). It had originally been a seminary. The town's original school was indeed a 1-room job, just like Little House on the Prairie (except it was in the Maine woods). My friends and I used to use it for a playhouse!

  •  I was/am much luckier (21+ / 0-)

    having as stable a home life, and as happy a childhood as anyone I know.

    The first thing that popped into my head when I read your post's title was a smell. The smell of a new textbook, and after that the smell of the grade school, of paste, and crayons.

    Then I read your post and was reminded of how terrifying our first grade teacher was. She made my older brother's life a living hell (a six-year old!) which left me terrorized for the first year of school. I think I was the only kid in my class who didn't get physically or verbally abused by her that year, because she made me teacher's pet. I remember how she'd insist on walking around the playground holding my hand and I was far too scared to resist. Gawd, what an awful woman.

    Maybe my childhood wasn't so perfect, after all.

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:25:24 AM PDT

    •  I got the nice Nun in the first grade. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kait, historys mysteries, BYw

      (Sister Mary Michael Williams), she was so beautiful that even first graders wondered why she was a Nun and not a movie star!
      There were two. The other one was said to be very strict and every one was terrified that they were going to get her.

      I guess she didn't want me. Figured I'd be too much of a handful. As usual, my reputation (from Kindergarten) preceded me.

      I wasn't Teacher's pet. But I was very good. Never talked or got in any kind of trouble. I got an award (a pair or resary beads, I still have them) for being the best improved hand writing in the class.

      They wouldn't let me go to Kindergarten until I was six yrs old. One had to be five by Feb and I wasn't five until March. And they said I was too immature. My Mother tried several of the town's Catholic schools and non would admit me at five. They all knew me.

      In my Father's bar. The local guys used to call me "The Holy Terror"! So I'd shoot them with my little red water gun!

      I had lots of Sailors for friends (the bar was two blocks from a Naval Base) so I didn't care what the guys from the neighborhood said! The Sailors bought me toys! I had several special friends and none of them were allowed to have a beer until they took me to the store and bought me a toy!

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 09:39:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I remember waiting at the office being (16+ / 0-)

    pre-registered for Kindergarten. It was a very hot day and I still remember the name of the school.

    Then I remember being walked to school on my first day of Kindergarten. I got in the morning session, which I thought included the kids who were the smartest. The dumb kids got the afternoon session. Ah, tribalism starts early.

    I remember waiting outside in a long line to get into my first class and meeting my teacher.

    I remember naptime. I still have my kindergarten naptime towel with my name in it. I take it to the gym every day. That towel has served me for 52 years. It is getting thin, though. I'm not.

    I remember when the whole class got chicken pox at the same time.

    I remember everybody getting smallpox shots in the playground. I still have my smallpox scar too. Whenever I notice George Clooney's smallpox scar, which shows up even on the big screen, I know his school cared about him, too.

    Sometimes there is so much writing, you need a bigger wall.

    by pucklady on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:31:44 AM PDT

  •  I have a lot of memories from school (15+ / 0-)

    and I think my earliest memory is pre-K at Sunshine Cottage. I remember dressing up with a big woman's hat, and a dress along with my classmates who were playing dress-up. I also remember the Halloween party at that deaf school, and being a ballerina with a scratchy tutu. I must've been three years old.

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:48:41 AM PDT

    •  My Mother always put those scratchy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries

      crinolines on me when I would get dressed up. They were like a tutu. Little girls used to wear them like slips under dresses. Oh I hated crinolines!

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 09:44:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nursery school at Johns Hopkins medical student (9+ / 0-)

    apartments, across the street from the Hospital in Baltimore.  

    Gasoline made from the tar sands gives a Toyota Prius the same impact on climate as a Hummer using gasoline made from oil. ~ Al Gore

    by Lefty Coaster on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:56:06 AM PDT

  •  I remember (14+ / 0-)

    a boy in my preschool falling off the top of the slide and breaking his collarbone. That was exciting.

    In kindergarten, naptime on the towels we brought from home and someone got to hold a wand and be the wake-up fairy.

    Also kindergarten, the teacher making a graph of everyone's favorite color in class.

  •  the little tables (12+ / 0-)

    in kintergarden class... our building was  one story  in the middle of two other buildings....with a rod itron gate around it.......went to that school from   kintergarden thru  8th grade.......and those darn brown n white  uniforms..shirt n tie trained me for life.

    MJTaylor22--concerned citizen who believes in giving back.

    by mjtaylor22 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 09:15:46 AM PDT

  •  You actually triggered some memories I had (13+ / 0-)

    forgotten. But other than the walk to kindergarten, and the naps, my strongest first memory is from first grade. I came home, was asked the name of my teacher--Sister Mary David--and my dad's response was, "Jesus Christ, she taught me!" As an aside, when he died, one of the nuns helping us with the arrangements was a school classmate of his, who confessed she'd once had a crush on him. No, we're not Southies, but close.

  •  My first real memory is a doozie (18+ / 0-)

    I have vague recollections of kindergarten, nothing clear.

    But the first day of first grade I shall never forget.

    They later built an elementary school walking distance from where we lived, but that year I took a bus. I was friends with a girl named Beverly, a year older than I, who lived at the far end of the street. That day, Beverly's mother walked her to my house, and my mother walked us the rest of the way to the bus stop. I wore a new pink dress for my first day of school. Just as the bus arrived, Beverly threw up all over me. I guess my mother must have called the school because when the bus arrived the school nurse was waiting. She cleaned me up as best she could, and made Beverly lie down while she called Bev's mother.

    Poor Beverly, it turns out, had a brain tumor. It was successfully removed but recurred later and she died in her 20s.

    Not the greatest of memories, but unforgettable.

    Do they even have school nurses any more, or are they a victim of cuts?

  •  My boyfriend Byron. n/t (7+ / 0-)

    "We are all New Orleans now."--Barbara O'Brien So many books--so little time. Economic Left/Right -7.88 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian -6.97

    by Louisiana 1976 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 11:33:16 AM PDT

  •  I remember one thing about kindergarten. I (11+ / 0-)

    was a "good" kid and didn't get yelled at, but we sat on benches that had a wooden part that went to the floor.  I was kicking my legs without realizing it and the teacher had the audacity to yell at me!  That's all I remember from kindergarten. I guess it was traumatic ;)

  •  As for my kids' beginning kindergarten, I was so (9+ / 0-)

    worried about the first one, and whether he would cry. We were all in a room for introductions, and while the principal was talking he insisted on making a card for her in which he wrote, "When is the tour?" Then he skipped off to greet his teacher and new classmates and that was that.

    The next kid came with me to his brother's class at the school, once a week, for several years. When it was his turn for kindergarten I was sure it would go smoothly.  Nope, he's the one who cried and I had to hide so he wouldn't see me.  Ya  just never know!

    •  The First Day Of School, My Mother Walked Me (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lorikeet, historys mysteries

      The two blocks, took me into the school yard filled with children, told me to stay there until the Nuns took us in, and immediately left! After that I walked myself.

      Although I did have a lovely red plaid book bag that I loved, with crayons and pencils and everything else I needed. And when I went into the first grade she took me to the fancy leather store and bought me a beautiful leather book bag.

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 09:54:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have a few memories from Kindergarten. (10+ / 0-)

    I remember someone knocking over my pile of blocks. I remember the picture books we had, and being confused because they had no words. I could read before kindergarten, and back then that was unusual. They used the picture books to teach the idea of telling a story on paper.

    I remember frosting some graham crackers for an event our parents would be attending. I remember the paper mache cow. I remember the mats for naps.

    I remember meeting the principal (Mr. Stone), but I don't remember if that was the first day of kindergarten or the first day of 1st grade.

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:09:36 PM PDT

  •  Oh boy... (8+ / 0-)

    I don't think pre-school had been invented yet when I started kindergarten in 1956. This was at the height of the baby boom of course. We'd just moved back to NYC from Maryland; by the time I was registered, my neighborhood school was full, so I wound up having to travel out of district. The school was fine; in fact it was a bit newer than the one where I attended grades 1 through 6 (again, no middle school back then; junior high began with 7th grade).

    It was a long time ago so my memories are decidedly hazy but I seem to recall committing some sort of faux pas on my very first day of school. I think it had to do with my presumption that I could take a book off the shelf and start reading it, rather than waiting for one of the teachers to start reading to the class (which probably had at least forty kids in it). There were two teachers but I can only remember the name of one of them: Mrs. Keithley. Being definitely a child of the 60's I'm actually surprised I can recall that much. What's even stranger is that I can pretty much guarantee that the way my classroom was oriented, we spent most of our time facing the hallway, which was to the west. I also recall my first encounter with fingerpainting. Messy but fun. Other than that, and milk and cookies at recess, not much else.

  •  The first day of kindergarten was great! (14+ / 0-)

    I didn't realize I had to come back! The second day I held onto the gate and got pulled away kicking and screaming. I got used to it after a while.

  •  Lost my first tooth on the first day of school. (10+ / 0-)

    Wasn't sure if I wanted to go back to that kindergarten for a second day if it was going to mean leaving parts of me behind!

  •  Being mistaken for my twin brother (12+ / 0-)

    on the very first day of kindergarten.

    It was the first of many moments of confused attribution of guilt in the following days and years.

    We were little devils - and none of the teachers could tell us apart.

    Rick Perry executed a man ... just to watch him die

    by ItsSimpleSimon on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:20:57 PM PDT

  •  My first was walking into the room (14+ / 0-)

    on the first day, but my most vivid memory of kindergarten was when JFK was murdered.  I didn't even know anything about him except he was president and that was the most important person in the country.  Then, for three days the coverage, the murder of Oswald, and the funeral was on all of our 3 stations all the time.  No cartoons!! or anything else for that matter, including commercials if I remember correctly.  It was the first time I really had to deal with trying to understand a death.  Bizarre to think of it now.  It probably has something to do with how political I became later.

    "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine." -- Patti Smith

    by followyourbliss on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:21:20 PM PDT

  •  Preschool (8+ / 0-)

    Little bits and pieces, mostly playing outside, no one sleeping during nap time, gymnastics...

    Then I remember a little of my first day of kindergarten.  I walked in the door, and came face to navel with another kid who, I kid you not, was over 5 feet tall at 5 years old.  (He grew about another foot between then and the end of high school, by which point he was just a bit taller than average).

    Reality has a liberal bias.

    by Hayate Yagami on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:22:33 PM PDT

  •  lol (7+ / 0-)

    So long ago and so far away... I was barely 5yo when my mom took me to the school office to register for 1st grade.

    I decided then to have a 'real' tantrum because I was sure I did not have any need to be there.

    Some say you can't remember pain but I say to them they are wrong.

    I was too young and my first year was a total loss.  

  •  kindi!-garden (9+ / 0-)

    walking up the long staircase to a big brick building;

    GOP in Washington and Columbus are not only making war on organized labor but the middle class itself. The battles labor won not only raised the standards for labor but for everyone. - V.P. Joe Biden

    by anyname on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:24:45 PM PDT

  •  I remember (7+ / 0-)

    Phillip Coffee drawing me bunnies and coloring them purple. We were going to get married but then he moved to Dallas.

    I remember being bored at naptime and thinking my teacher was nice. Two years later, my brother had the same teacher and she despised him. Apparently, doing back handsprings through the classroom was not on her list of acceptable behaviors...I think he got a lot of, "Why can't you be more like your sister"s all of the way through school.

    I remember my 1st grade teacher telling us that her husband had done some research and that the Civil War was unnecessary because slavery was economically unviable and would have died out on its own. Oddly enough, my dad just told me the story that, when he called to inquire about registering me (it was a small private school and the 1st grade teacher was also the principal), she told him that their school accepted and loved all children so if he was looking for a white flight school, he would just need to go somewhere else. She took our whole class to her house for a field trip in 1st grade and she had this awesome zip line thing in her backyard.

    I remember getting in trouble every day of my life after I learned to read in 1st grade for reading books during school. My students now LOVE that story.

    Do not be overwhelmed by the enormity of the world's grief...You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

    by Albatross on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:25:04 PM PDT

  •  Chaotic childhood... (13+ / 0-)

    ...often results in school seeming like a refuge. There are rules and a certain ordinariness to the daily routine (a routine!) that can be appealing. I was one of those kids. We moved a lot; went to a different school (sometimes more than one) every year until 7th grade. Always The New Kid.

    I treasure the memories of Kindergarten because for the only time in my school career, we were ALL new kids. I had a quintessentially kind Kindergarten teacher and kids to play with (I'd lived in mostly rural places where neighbor kids nearby were not a guarantee), playground equipment (swings!) and snacktime and my favorite, Arts & Crafts.

    Oh, and my Mom let me choose my own school shoes in the store that year, so I spent Kindergarten wearing red shoes that I loved.

    The only thing that I remember being less than ideal was a bit of a misunderstanding when we started reading...well, when the class started reading. I'd been reading at home since I was three, so when we plunked down for our first "take turns reading the story" I got sucked into the book and missed my turn. They mistook my inability to chime for a lack of reading skills. When I figured out that they thought I couldn't keep up, I was mortified, but also too shy to tell the teacher I could read. Finally she figured it out when I read something out loud from the milk carton at lunch. :-)  Oh! And I remember the sheer panic I felt one day when I fell asleep in the bus shelter waiting for the school bus, and missed it. I remember crying my eyes out at having to miss a day of school.

    I moved back to the area where I'd started school about ten years ago (ten years this week, in fact!), and discovered that the old school I'd attended is now a restaurant. I've eaten there a few times....not my idea of fine dining, but it's very nostalgic nonetheless.

    Nice diary, otto!

    •  School is the safe and stable place for (6+ / 0-)

      lots of kids with chaos at home, yet at least for a certain generation, it seems we mostly entered already reading. That interests me.

      •  No preschool here, either. (5+ / 0-)

        And I was not the only kid in my class who knew how to read before starting school. My Dad was a teacher (Mom later became one; she was an undergrad at the time) so we had books around, and I learned to read very early. There are comic photos of me somewhere "reading" the paper on the potty chair but I distinctly remember figuring out Seuss and such at around three or so? Green Eggs and Ham was an early fave, but I also remember sounding out the hard words in The Night Before Christmas well before I started school. By Kindergarten I was reading stories from the newspaper out loud, and I read at the high school level in third grade.

        It's not just back then, though...I've got shots of my niece (then six) plowing through a giant hardback copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix nearly as big as she was. I think it's partly innate ability and partly having access to books and being encouraged to read from a very young age. We had lots of craziness growing up, but reading before bed happened no matter what.

        •  I taught my younger brother to read via (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Vacationland, raster44, rebel ga, huttotex

          Dr. Seuss. And home might have been chaotic, but by God my mom walked us to the library every single week until we could either read or walk on our own. Bless her.

          •  Yep. Libraries saved me. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kait, rebel ga, huttotex

            I'm sure there are thousands -- hundreds of thousands? -- like us.

          •  My Uncle Timmy Used To Read To Me At Bedtime. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Vacationland, kait, huttotex

            When I was three, four etc. I had this huge book (almost as big as me) of Fairy Tales, with pictures.

            Every time he'd read a story, he'd say ok, go to sleep now I have to leave and I'd say no, no, read me another story. And he would, Then we'd repeat the process. But he never got away without reading me at least three stories.

            He took me to the movies to see Cinderella and I broke out with the measles in the movie theater. I think we stayed to see the end of the movie though.

            My Uncle was a Saint! And my favorite person in the world, except for my crazy boyfriend. Who temperament wise, could be his twin, but looks more like my Grandfather. He could be Mike Murphy's twin, temperament wise too! Mike was a real piece of work!

            My boyfriend's Uncle always told me that we all were fifth and sixth cousins twice removed. So that could explain why we act and think so much alike. All have Kellys in their family.

            Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

            by rebel ga on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 10:21:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Kindergarten, 1966, US Air Force Base in Germany (10+ / 0-)

    early on, like first week or so standing in line outside, sucking on a butterscotch candy (little round thing).

    I aspirated the candy somehow and have this memory of panicking for a few moments.

    Unsure how it was resolved. (though that could have been the point at which I became Undead....)

    But I won't, to this day, eat butterscotch candy.

    The next sets of memories are of being in trouble, being paddled, or disciplined, doing poorly in math.

    Then bullying - I was the scrawny nerd you didn't want on your ball team - quite a bit of being picked on with few actual incidents of getting punched or beaten.

    I hated school.

    I have a Master's degree in education now.

    Life's weird.

    Republicans HATE America. Deal with it. / It's the PLUTONOMY, Stupid!

    by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:28:53 PM PDT

  •  I remember nap time (6+ / 0-)

    in Kindergarten, and not take a nap (I never took a nap when I was young).  Mrs. Adams would tell me at least to stay quiet during that time.

    It's about time I changed my signature.

    by Khun David on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:28:59 PM PDT

  •  Highland Park, Michigan (7+ / 0-)

    Steven Fisher taught me how to draw a star!  I LOVED school from the very first day.  My mom said I was reading the newspaper at 4 years of age.  

    I skipped second grade, was the youngest out of my class to graduate!

    Ethel Waters as Petunia in Cabin In The Sky (1943): "Sometimes when you fight the Devil, you gotta jab him with his own pitchfork."

    by avamontez on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:33:43 PM PDT

  •  Another thing I remember (6+ / 0-)

    was learning a phonetic alphabet as part of our curriculum.  I believe it was the Initial Teaching Alphabet.

    It's about time I changed my signature.

    by Khun David on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:34:12 PM PDT

  •  My first day of school, I fell in love with cinema (9+ / 0-)

    (This is so effing cliche of a wannabe filmmaking loser but every word is true lol)

    Preschool, 1976 or 77. We were given a film to watch so we could lay down and take a nap. Like hell! I was enraptured by Albert Lamorrisse's "The Red Balloon". I laughed, I cried, I was in agony. I was only about 4. lol

    I couldn't read when I started the 1st grade and my family had just moved from upstate NY to Ohio. I was so nervous the first day. I learned how to read in two weeks. I was placed in the highest level reading group. One of the proudest moments of my life. I wanted to read so badly.

    Lovingly and carefully shopping for books on the Scholastic Book order form. Circling the ones I really wanted in red. The ones I could do without if my parents didn't have the money, I circled in a different color.

    I met a friend for life in the 2nd grade. She only talked to me at first because she thought I was some girl named Melanie. We were like peas and carrots, me and Cher-yl. That was another thing. Being from upstate NY, I pronounced her name with two syllables which made some of the other kids look at me weird. I have since lost all traces of a tri state area accent.

    Reading Judy Blume. ;)

    Those are the best memories of school. It was great reading everyone elses, too.

    "Warm smell of Moulitsas rising up in the air..." -seanwright

    by GenXangster on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:35:07 PM PDT

  •  Does Kindergarten Roundup count? (5+ / 0-)

    Does Kindergarten Roundup with its hearing test count?

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:37:37 PM PDT

  •  In-home preschool, age 3-4. (7+ / 0-)

    1964, maybe 1965. Chasing girls in the back yard. Stacking blocks. The teacher's husband's toy soldier collection, behind glass near the front door.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:39:04 PM PDT

  •  in kindergarten 1963 (9+ / 0-)

    Picture of JFK in a blue suit in our classroom.  JFK's assassination and the neighbor who drove carpool that day crying all of the way home.  

    My teacher always had home-baked treats for us and I remember the anticipation of seeing what it was that she had brought as she unwrapped the tin foil on the goodies.

    Thank you Mrs. Lindgren

    "If you're in trouble, or hurt or need - go to the poor people. They're the only ones that'll help - the only ones." John Steinbeck

    by BluejayRN on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:43:45 PM PDT

  •  I remember first grade: (10+ / 0-)

    learning to read (I was good at it), asking a classmate to marry me (He refused, until I promised to give him a gold car and color television set), and getting reprimanded for not following directions on an art project.

  •  I remember my mom dragging me to nursery school. (10+ / 0-)

    I really didn't want to go.

    My mom would then head off to finish her college degree.  This was the mid-fifties.  She had first attended college pre-WWII.  She even taught in the mid west.  Then the war came, then marriage, then 5 children.  Once she got me off to school, I was the youngest, she could pursue her goal.

    I remember the World Book encyclopedia my parents bought.  What an expense for our family.  I couldn't use it until I was 6.  I was a little too rambunctious.  That is what we called it back then.  It really inspired me to learn.

    My mom finished her degree and then got her teaching credentials.  She got a full time job teaching 3rd graders.  She was 40 years old.  She taught for 27 years.

  •  The taste of paste, before the changed the recipe (10+ / 0-)

    An "organized faction" of one.

    by SpamNunn on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 04:57:49 PM PDT

  •  Barely cold milk (6+ / 0-)

    When I was in Kindergarten, the milk came in cases of pint sized containers.  By the time that we broke for lunch, the milk had been stored in an area where it wasn't refrigerated.  We had a break for snacks and milk, and I remember the milk being cool, but not cold.  I also remember that we had to bring a rug to Kindergarten, for "nap time."  There were boxes that had been constructed, and every child had a rug that we rolled up and placed in our own personal "box."  When it was time for a nap, we all went to our box, retrieved our rug, and layed it out on the floor.  I think the nap was like 20 minutes or so...not long.

    I also remember the Valentines Day thing...we made pockets out of construction paper that were taped to the front of our desk.  Everyone had to buy a box of valentines for the entire class, and place one in the pocket of every classmate.

    I also remember my 1st grade teacher.  She was a blonde.  I thought she was beautiful.  

    "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upwardly mobile." Hunter S. Thompson

    by Keith930 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 05:01:49 PM PDT

    •  We lived in RI. HA! We got a choice of white, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raster44, rebel ga, huttotex

      chocolate, or coffee milk. I might be the only one who still buys eclipse coffee syrup.  Oh and there was an enormous weeping willow on the walk to kgarten.  I'm stuck in the South now and I never see those anymore.  Although there are a few magnolias left, mmm.

      PS My uncle was a school custodian for a while (not at the same place, and we got FREE fat crayons once in a while. Please don't tell, okay?

      •  I've never been to RI... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...but I like coffee milk - and I don't like coffee.  I used to work with a guy from there, and he once brought back a case of Autocrat syrup for the office.  Good stuff.  Maybe I'll order some.

        The only thing we have to fear is fear itself (FDR, 1933). The only thing we have to offer is fear itself (Republican Party, 2011).

        by KTinOhio on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:24:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  First Grade Shame (11+ / 0-)

    My teacher in first grade was very fond of singling me out and making me sit outside in the hall for (get this) reading ahead in the class primer.

    I'd been reading since I was 3. (The 'rents love telling stories about how instead of Jane Had a Red Dress, I liked reading the Encyclopedia of Infectious Diseases.)

    Yeah. School wasn't a good experience for me.

    On the plus side, I remember the boy who sat across from me. That was the start of a three-year schoolyard crush. Aah, halcyon days...

    I'm a witness to the moon and stars above/ I'm aware of the crimson sky/ I'm a witness to the crumbling walls as well/ But I'm not your alibi!

    by lastxwriter on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 05:08:50 PM PDT

  •  I remember my first day... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kait, raster44, rebel ga

    I'm 33 and I usually have a pretty detailed memory of my early childhood. (I'm an artist, so I guess that helps)

    Nursery School: Age 4.  I remember being dropped off at the nursery school door and meeting the teachers for the first time.  To this day I can picture their faces (def. not their names) and I remember siting in the sunny room-ride bay windows crying as my mom drove off.  I remember the 3 main rooms in detail, the puppet show stage, the main carpeted area, the indoor jungle gym, and how they made me Hot Dogs and Mac n Cheese just for me - the other kids got franks and beans but I hated beans.  Even then. lol.   I remember the 8 foot wide metal slide outside and how you could slide down with your friends at your side at the same time.  I don't know if this sounds weird or not, but I even remember "liking" this girl.  I guess my first crush.   When visiting my home town a few years ago, I drove by the small building and was amazed to see it still there.  However, the woods that surrounded the school, were now torn down and recent 4 story condos had been built and over-shadowed everything.  The stump by the end of the yard that I remember sitting on a lot was long gone.  I often think whatever happened to all of those people. The teachers are most likely now retired or gone, and who knows where those kids ended up.

    Kindergarten:  Age 5.  I remember walking into the classroom and everyone was already there.  I think because of my birthday, I had to start a month or so late.  I remember thinking how everyone was already friends and here I was new to the school.  I distinctly remember the smell of the basement kitchen and caffeteria.  At times I can smell it even now.  I would love to walk around that school now if given the chance - just to see it all again.

  •  The "Bubblers" in the playground (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Coffee, tea, milkshake, pee!"

    "Save it for 2050." -- Mark Penn (on Obama's electability)

    by throughaglassdarkly on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 05:09:30 PM PDT

  •  First grade 1947. Didn't have any fancy (6+ / 0-)

    kindergarten or pre-school.   Miss Ruby, don't think I ever heard her last name.    Her sister, Miss Pearl, was my fourth grade school.

    I don't remember much about lessons, I had been reading for over a year and never knew the place because i finished the book.   I finally got to skip reading group and just tell Miss Ruby about what I was reading, which got me called names for being such a smarty and this and that.

    The room was great.   The lockers in the back were big wooden doors that swiveled to close and you could hide in there.   There were two little rooms off the front of the room, one full of supplies that we were supposed to stay out of and one with a table and chairs for reading group.

     I missed a lot of school because of rotten tonsils and got to the point where I could raise the thermometer reading
    by rubbing it on the sheet.   Tried for around 101 and had to shake it down if it got too high.   Wanted to stay home and read in peace, not get dragged to the doctor.
    I never did figure out if my mom let me get away with it or if she just didn't notice that my forehead wasn't very hot.

    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by maybeeso in michigan on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 05:11:42 PM PDT

  •  I distincly remember a moment in Kindergarten... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raster44, rebel ga

    as plainly as if it happened this morning: I was sitting in about the 7 o'clock position of a circle in my classroom and my teacher -- whom I presume was pregnant, although I don't remember that fact directly -- wrote up on the blackboard the phrase "9 months". And I very distinctly remember not being able to read it, but trying deperately to sound it out, and to this day I can hear my thoughts at that moment: "nine mahn-tuh-huhs".

    I can conjure up a few other memories from that class, but nothing as clear and crisp as that memory is. The funny thing is, that I am now a strong advocate of English Language spelling reform!

    There are two political aisles: Center-Left and Center-Right. It's impossible to cross them both. Republicans know this and govern accordingly; Democrats don't.

    by Jimdotz on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 05:12:15 PM PDT

  •  Walking around the block (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kait, Vacationland, freesia, klompendanser

    to the preschool I could almost see through the trees between it and my house. Miss Barbara and another woman whose name I can't remember ran it. Miss Barbara had short wavy hair and I felt loved. Then on to a nursery school at an Episcopal church; "everybody" went there. Finally, the best school ever, my elementary school. My mom had attended it as a child too. Almost all the teachers had "Frances" for their first name. Children were of all backgrounds - French, German, Hispanic, African-American ("Black" then), country moved to the city, urban, rich, middle class, poor. This was the early 60's, in Atlanta. I did not know it was unusual that it was integrated; we even had a black teacher, though I never thought about it, didn't remember until I saw a class picture on Facebook recently. If a child knew how to read (I'd learned at home on McGuffey's Readers by age three), you helped the kindergartners, and took French. The only bad person was the Art teacher, who taught at our school and another, always telling us the other school was better. I realize now it was because we had black kids, in particular the King and Abernathy children. I ran crying from her class one day to my regular teacher, saying I'd never make art again. That teacher held me and told me some grown-ups were unhappy, and it was not my fault. There were many memories from that school, mostly good. One of the hardest was when Marty King's dad was shot. As an eleven year old my horror was that someone would murder a classmate's dad, for no reason. I still don't understand. Several years after I moved on to high school, the powers that be decided to close that school. I heard all the teachers retired, because they did not believe they'd find another school where all worked together so well. They were right.

    If you want, I can still sing its song.

    "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H.L. Mencken, 1925

    by cv lurking gf on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 05:12:27 PM PDT

    •  This is more much more than a memory. This is a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raster44, cv lurking gf

      story to be told and retold and remembered. Work on this, okay?  Both wonderful and painful, and I love to hear live singing, and am an excellent audience.

      •  You're too kind, thanks. I do (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        think about writing it up for a diary sometime. I took advantage of the request in the title to reminisce a bit.

        "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H.L. Mencken, 1925

        by cv lurking gf on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 04:51:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My first memory was of my Aunt (5+ / 0-)

    walking me to kindergarten and pointing out the things to look for. She kept asking me if I could remember how to find my way home because I would have to walk home all by myself. My mother couldn't walk me to school nor could she come and get me.
    Fortunately, I remembered the way home.
    I remember learning how to walk like an elephant, singing "I'm a little teapot" and "Itsy, bitsy spider". I also learned how to tie my shoes...from an older kid on the playground!!!! I had to make two bunny ears and then loop them around each other!

    Life was so difficult in those days!

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 05:14:04 PM PDT

  •  I remember being prouder than shit (7+ / 0-)

    that I read the word "imagination" properly in the first grade.  At that moment I knew I was smart. :)

    I also remember being told to not lie down in the floor to color, rather to sit at my desk.  However, I didn't see the problem as I didn't have a desk at home and always would lie down on the floor or the bed to read, color, draw, or whatever...

    •  I Used To Color At The Dining Room Table. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      avamontez, zett, kait, huttotex

      Coloring was my favorite thing. I had the big box of 64 Crayola Crayons. It kept me quiet for hours. So I always had coloring books and crayons.

      I remember the great Christmas Coloring books they had in the 1950's. Lots of pages and some fuzzy stuff on the cover for Santa's beard. The Christmas coloring books were my favorite.

      And Christmas Glass Wax Stencils. You put them up to the window and put Glass Wax on a sponge and sponged it. Then the picture would stay on the window. I loved Glass Wax stencils too.

      And coconut bon bons at Christmas. And hard Christmas candy.

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 10:59:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Christian Kindergarten (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raster44, Mother Shipper, rebel ga

    I had apparently taught myself to read before I started school... goodness knows my parents wouldn't have taken the time.

    But we had to memorize a bible verse a week that was up on the wall, one for each letter of the alphabet. There were only 4 of us, but I had to face my desk when reciting, since I was the only one who knew how to read.

    Aunt Ollie, our teacher. She signed her name for us as a smiley face with little dots around it... 'ants'. My parents were angry because they felt I should call her Mrs. (I have no memory of her last name), when she told them it would be more respectful to call her what she wanted to be called.

    She dyed her hair red, and almost got fired. Hair dye is evil! She let it grow out, and she had a crown of brown hair with red ends.

    Learning to tie my shoes in class... yes, I could read but not tie a knot.

    She bought us all stuffed animals to have at naptime, and would let us pick out a toy at the toystore when we finished memorizing the alphabet bible verses.

    She later moved to Hawaii, where one of her daughters had ended up. Heh.

    "Them as can do has to do for them as can't. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices." — Terry Pratchett

    by LoreleiHI on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 05:17:35 PM PDT

  •  Was that nun's belt to hit us with? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kait, raster44, agnostic

    I started first grade in a Catholic school run by Sisters of Mercy - who were anything but merciful.  I was 5 1/2 and they didn't have pre-school or kindergarten back then.  The nun's habit consisted of a long black robe cinched at the waist by a thick leather belt that hung down.  Also off of this belt hung a rosary.  When the nun left the room for a minute, we kids discussed among us who was going to ask her if that belt was to hit us with.  We were all so afraid.

    Turns out the belt wasn't to hit us with.  She had a ruler, paddle and other instruments for that.  

    The year was 1956 and the school building looked like something out of a Charles Dicken's novel.  

    •  Oddly enough, I have a happy memory about the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mother Shipper, rebel ga

      nuns and their garb. Ours had the cinch, sure, but they also had giant rosaries around their waists, with the Crucifix bit hanging down. Well, an immediate trend was begun. Yep, each of us girls in our blue and white plaid uniforms had by lunch time figured out how to wrap our rosaries around our waists. The nuns were very patient with this until they got sick and tired of repairing rosaries, which get stuck in desk chairs when you stand, and do not hold up well while using the swings.  They were willing to risk a possible loss in vocations rather than bend tiny pieces of metal half dozen times a day.

      I remember I cried once my dad explained that I would not be in Catholic school once we went to Germany. He consoled me with the anticipation of Army school, where (gasp!) The Beatles would play on a record player during lunch time AND I would now be old enough to go to the dispensary with him and help with shot records. The man had a gift I tell you.

      •  not I. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I still view teaching nuns as evil, a very unnecessary one.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:40:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I got in trouble for helping another kid with (7+ / 0-)

    an assignment. I remember it like yesterday, though it was decades ago. It was first grade. Perhaps the second week of school. Still learning the ropes.

    We had some sort of easy (to me) assignment to complete. I don't recall what, exactly, but I remember that it was easy for me, I was done and waiting with nothing to do. There was a kid sitting next to me at the same table (we were at like Art Tables or something, with several kids at each table) who was struggling with it, and the teacher was busy with someone else, so I decided to help the kid sitting by me. BIG MISTAKE. The teacher saw me helping, and that was it. Without a word, or question, I was summoned to the front of the classroom, where she drew a circle on the chalkboard at kid-face level, in the far corner of the classroom by the door, and I was told to go stand there, put my nose against the chalkboard inside the circle (with my back to the classroom) where I then was made to stand there like that, in total humiliation, for the duration of the morning. I was absolutely enraged and deeply, deeply ashamed. It was sooooo unfair and wrong!!! I hated that teacher with a burning passion for the entire school year. I never talked to the other kids around me in that classroom ever again. It made an enormous impression on me... obviously. I STILL to this day believe that teacher's behavior was abusive and stupid.

    I learned from her not to trust teachers, in my second week of first grade. Sad. But I guess it was a lesson that served me pretty well over the years. I learned to watch, listen, and be very, very careful before doing anything to ASK THE RULES, especially in any new situation, because getting punished like that for breaking a rule that I didn't even know existed, was the most unreasonable thing I could imagine.

    •  Wow. What a horrid life lesson to learn at such a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rebel ga, CS in AZ

      tender age.  Helping other kids with the work is what made my teachers decide I should skip a grade, so your comment makes me feel even worse.   It probably doesn't lessen the sting any, but in first grade I was the only one to have myself and my desk moved next to a planter (no not a statue, a planter with ivy) of the Blessed Mother.  Sister was literally screaming that perhaps if I prayed I would become QUIET!!  The BVM and I still chat, but no luck with making me talk less or even more quietly (since even then I have always had significant hearing loss in one ear).  I guess I have such empathy for you as a child because despite being in a military family, I was always taught that at least some rules must be weighed, not necessarily followed. Or as one of the nuns taught me, God gave you a spine, use it.  The original planter/seating nun gave my mother that planter, and I swear, through all the moves (and my mother was not a sentimental woman), Mom had that damn planter until she died. Maybe to remind her of her own guilt skills?

      Causing a small child shame is inexcusable. You said it has served you for the good as an adult. You probably could have taught/saved me from work scrapes that it took years of work for me to learn from.

      •  Thank you... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Yes, in retrospect, as an adult, I think a good teacher (even a decent teacher) should have recognized that I was smart/quick (done with assignment quickly and bored waiting) so I should have been given more challenging work, and also I was a natural-born teacher; I sincerely wanted to help others. That impulse could have been nurtured, rather than smashed with a shame hammer.

        And even if she couldn't manage either of those things, at the very least it would have been only fair to tell me the rules and expectations before punishment: "It's not allowed to talk to or help the other students. If you're done with your work early, you have to simply sit quietly." I'm sure I would have still thought that was a stupid rule, but at least I would have known what they wanted of me instead of feeling so humiliated for simply not knowing. In simply being myself,  and trying to be nice, helpful -- I ended up punished in a deeply embarrassing way. I knew from that moment on that teachers (and by extension basically all authority figures) were to be feared rather than trusted. Painful... oh yes. Very.

        But it's true, nonetheless, that this is reality. Many rules that can land you in big trouble for breaking are not clearly communicated in advance. 'Ignorance of the law is no excuse' -- so we are responsible for finding out. We have to seek information, discover the expectations and consequences, to avoid learning them the hard way.

        I did get that in a deep way and never forgot it. I'd say it has helped me in many aspects to be so cautious, but it's also hindered in that I am not comfortable in places where the rules/expectations and possible consequences are not clear or knowable, and/or are enforced in a random and subjective way.

        Ironically perhaps, this is all very relevant to my participation here at DKos. I once complained to Meteor Blades because I suddenly was locked out of the site one night (while in the middle of a very good, friendly conversation with someone here in AZ about our senate primary) and got a warning and was threatened with banning if I made the same mistake twice -- for what I had no idea... it was a shock to say the least. I had to go find out what the hell had happened, turned out that earlier that day I had put a rec on a comment somewhere that according to him contained "an insult" -- which was against the rules on pain of expulsion! I had no clue what he was taling about.

        This was first of all a rule that was ridiculously subjective. Where was the list of forbidden words that cannot be rec'd? I didn't know which comment I recommended was even the offending one. He insisted it was not about "forbidden words" but the category "insult" which was forbidden. Well, jeeze, that includes about 3/4 of what is written here. But clearly MOST insults are fine... insult Sarah Palin and you will not be punished! Well, actually, insult anyone and you will not be punished, the writers of these comments did not receive any warnings -- but if you put a rec on a comment that contains a word that he considers to be a disallowed insult, you will be banned! Wow.

        I had never heard of this rule before that moment, and I also could not see any way to follow it without basically just not recommending comments very often anymore, unless they were clearly complimentary and positive. It all seemed very unfair and disconcerting. I guess I felt like I had my nose up against that blackboard once again!!

        MB was kind enough to respond to my complaints and explain his position, but he was unsympathetic to my concerns about such arbitrary and subjective rules, with random, subjective, arbitrary enforcement and severe consequences (if you care about staying a member here) if you make a mistake. I felt like I was walking on eggshells from then on, to be honest. And yet I see incredible, nasty, vile stuff flying back and forth every day and nothing seems to happen! I still like to come here now and then but have dropped off a lot lately (not just for that reason), but I saw the exit of MB (very sad) and now Kos is moderator, and he says straight up that he has no plans whatsoever to provide clear rules or fair enforcement! LOL - great. :) Just what I love.

        And so it goes... in a way I like that Markos just tells it like it is... and guess what, that is reality too! No matter how hard you try to figure it all out and not make mistakes, life simply does not work that way. It is subjective and random. I guess I'd say now that in general, learning the rules and how to follow them when and where possible helps avoid trouble, and keeping your head down at first is generally wise... but at the same time risk is inherent in participation and sometimes you do learn by getting burned. It can't be helped, and it's not good to let fear of mistakes or punishment stop you from playing and getting involved.

        It was interesting that as I checked in here yesterday, I read the post by Kos about his new moderating plan, then read this one about school memories.. and it fell together in my mind. This very old memory and lesson still effects my feelings and actions far more than I realized. It's also likely that the chalkboard incident is not the only time this sort of thing happened to me... in fact I can now think of a few others in my formative years... but it was a moment in time that did shape a core part of who I became as I grew up. Teachers really should consider more the impact they can have on a child's mind.

        •  I hear you. I won't even consider a dairy/post. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CS in AZ

          And I can often be found apologizing in comments, just in case. But remember too that Markos said there will be an eye out for cliques (we'll see), I'm kind of hoping at least some of the derailing will ease. That random I'm-watching- you kind of discipline can be very effective (at least it has been for me, in life).  Second best piece of advice I ever got, although I have never been able to accept it: Life isn't fair. So I became a nurse and have been banging my head trying to fix shit forever. (The head banging explains a lot).  I still am mad at that teacher though.  There's a huge difference between learning a hard lesson and shame.

  •  Showing up for kindergarten on the first day (3+ / 0-)

    and discovering that I was the only white kid.  We were living in NE DC in 1956.  

    Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Horace Mann (and btw, the bike in kayakbiker is a bicycle)

    by Kayakbiker on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 05:23:35 PM PDT

    •  We moved at mid-year 2nd grade (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kait, Kayakbiker

      my new school didn't have Merry Christmas on the bulletin boards. It said Happy Hanukah! I figured it out real quick, after a "you're not in Kansas anymore" moment!

      A few weeks later, we were singing, and the teacher asked me if I knew "Rock Of Ages". I said yeah! They started singing.."Rock of ages let out song......(instead of "cleft for me") I think it's Moaz Toar or something like that. Now I play it on my banjo! It's good chord practice because it's all 1/2 measures with chord changes.

  •  Kindergarten, 1995 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BluejayRN, otto, raster44, rebel ga

    Technically my first school-related memory was from even earlier, sometime in 1994, when my parents enrolled me in preschool. I literally spent one day there before they pulled me out because I was absolutely miserable and caused nothing but trouble the whole time. My memories from that day include climbing out my mom's side of the car we had at the time and accidentally leaning on the horn, which scared the hell out of her. I remember running into a room with a bunch of kids sitting in a circle while screaming at the top of my lungs in what I can assume was sheer terror at the lack of my parents. And I remember getting hustled out of a room full of cots as I did essentially the same thing later on, presumably at nap time. Those three faint images are the earliest memories I have of anything which I can confirm to be true (including the part about the car horn, my mom still remembers that).

    Thankfully things went far smoother when I went into kindergarten! I have exactly two memories of my first day as a four year old in junior kindergarten (there are two levels of kindergarten in Ontario, neither are required but they're recommended). The first memory is incredibly faint, but I recall sitting on those hard wood/metal chairs as the principal welcomed us and our parents to the first day of kindergarten in the gymnasium.

    My second is more notable. Snack time came around, and along with my (whatever we ate), I was given a cup of white milk. Now, I don't drink white milk. Never have, probably never will. I love it on cereal but if I'm going to drink milk I always put chocolate syrup in it. So I decided the best way to show my displeasure was to look at my teacher and yell "I don't like white milk, silly!" She was an incredibly nice woman in her late 50s or early 60s, and I can still recall her wagging her finger at me and saying "we don't talk to Mrs. Griffin like that!" I don't recall what happened afterwards really, but I do remember being quite worried about the fact I'd gotten in trouble on the first day of school!

    Those are my earliest memories, but I recall a lot of stuff from my school career, even early on. The fact I'm only twenty probably has something to do with it. Anyway, this comment is starting to get a bit long, so I think I'll end it here. It's been great reading everyone's stories!

  •  Walking to kindergarten, first day. (6+ / 0-)

    I asked my ma how many years I would have to do this. She said at least 12 and a great depression set in that lasted for about the next 12 years. Devastating. The school was far so I took the bus the next day and missed my stop.
    I remember eating school-issued Graham crackers for snack and playing Flash Gordon with this kid Benjamin and giant green wooden blocks for the rocketship seats. I was Dale Arden.
    I should have just gotten a job.
    I don't recall ever doing any homework, but I kept passing somehow.
    My happy place is still the first day of summer in NYC, 5 AM, shorts, no shoes on, about 55 degrees, waiting to play. The world was my oyster.

    Poor white people, the super-rich really appreciate your support!
    They'll reciprocate any decade now, just hang in there....

    by OleHippieChick on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 05:38:54 PM PDT

    •  I don't know what it is... (7+ / 0-)

      ...but there is something so intensely optimistic about this, it makes me smile...

      My happy place is still the first day of summer in NYC, 5 AM, shorts, no shoes on, about 55 degrees, waiting to play. The world was my oyster.
      •  Exactly. Finally getting to the right time or spot (5+ / 0-)

        or even the right self. I liked school, but I felt the exact same way the first day I landed in Pittsburgh, fresh out of school. I was just who and where I was supposed to be finally, and I knew it. We need to teach our kids to listen to that sense. That's a lesson.

      •  I loved to play SOOO much. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dewley notid

        Each non-school day was packed with... Possibility. I vibrated with excitement!
        I built entire mini horse ranches, with trails, hills, buried bowls of water for lakes with tree sprigs around them for forests; i cut paper dolls all day; I played with Colorforms all day; I sat in my fave mulberry tree for days, eating berries and watching traffic; I rode my bike a million miles; made little forts out of wooden stick matches.
        I was never bored then, I still never get bored now. :-D

        Poor white people, the super-rich really appreciate your support!
        They'll reciprocate any decade now, just hang in there....

        by OleHippieChick on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 03:40:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I Love Summer Mornings. While it's still cool and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kait, OleHippieChick

      quiet because no one else is awake yet. Just the birds singing in the trees and the blue sky!

      Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

      by rebel ga on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 11:13:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Aw (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, kait, raster44, rebel ga, huttotex

    The memory thing is interesting. I remember my early years very well as my family was somewhat stable then. It is later on, post-divorce, when I have huge gaps in my memory and school became little more than an annoying buzz instead of the most important obligation it should have been.

    But early school, .. yeah. Still had preschool-style kindergarten. I remember on the first day, we were instructed to sit with our bottoms on the rug for story time. It was explained that if we didn't stay on our butts, the kids behind us wouldn't be able to see the pictures when the book was held up.

    I sat at the outer edge (I still prefer that placement) and was quite annoyed that not only did the kids in front NOT stay seated, the teacher didn't correct them! Not once did she remind them to stay down even as they crowded her knees. I felt resigned pretty quick and lost interest in the story. As I was feeling disgruntled, I looked around the room and caught the eyes of another girl sitting at the opposite outer edge. Her face said what I felt and she became my first best friend. A very educational one at that: she had elder cousins as neighbors and they picked on her for bringing a white girl home to play with. My first best friend introduced to me the awful racial divisions in the community. Years later we drifted apart as we didn't have any classes together after the first grade but of everyone I knew back then, she's the one I'd most like to find (if you happen to read this, Alexia!)

    I also remember hating not being able to start school the year prior; I was the youngest kid on the block, the next youngest started the year before I was old enough. I wanted to go and I was really ready at 4. I was already reading and really bored of staying home with mom. But no... and when I did go, I remember the day we were taught "left" and "right". We watched a few videos, were shown by the teacher, and then given a handout assignment I was unable to complete. I really could NOT decide which hand I liked to use more! My teacher had to help me while everyone else got to play after they finished it. Later I learned she called home in fear of a development issue and my parents just laughed as they tried to explain to her what "ambidextrous" is.

    I remember walking to school from home for special occasions. We lived close to the school but there was not a safe roadway to walk along so we only walked to school for events such as the Halloween and Holiday fairs. I remember standing at the bus stop with a gaggle of older kids, listening to the BS they spouted and wondering how much of what they said was real and wasn't. I remember them once talking about the Shuttle going up in orbit and then laughing when I looked up at the sky.

    I still feel a particular sense of anticipation in the autumn; the displays of school supplies and the return of cold weather clothing sparks a feeling I can't entirely grasp anymore. Earlier someone mentioned the smell of paste, textbooks, new trapperkeepers, the re-used and stale lunchbox with the smelly thermos, the classroom which is initially both strange and familiar. Those cheap pencil boxes... the cardboard paper ones on which the lids would become wrinkly in the joint and bendy in the middle....

    There was always some sort of expectations created by the new teachers in the beginning of classes followed by the "this isn't hard" relief as expectations either eased or were met.

    Nice dia.. er, post.! I had felt this very nostalgia last week, I think, but the person I was with at the time didn't share it for some reason.

  •  Horrible (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, kait, joanbrooker, raster44, rebel ga

    Kindergarten:  Teacher hated me for some reason. I was the official class outcast, alone on my mat while the other children.
    First grade:  I just remember having no clue what was going on.  I didn't understand anything. The teacher kept me after one day to tell me what a bad student I was.  I told her my dad had left.  Her answer: "You ought to be grateful you have a father.  Mine's dead."

    Then we moved.  It got better after that.

    Strange I ended up in a classroom when I hated school so much. Revenge, I guess. Or catcher in the rye syndrome.

    Light is seen through a small hole.

    by houyhnhnm on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 05:44:22 PM PDT

  •  Too long ago (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, joanbrooker, raster44, rebel ga, huttotex

    but I can still remember the first two lines of the school song from good old Wasmer Elementary.  I was there in K-1.  I also remember the taste/smell of warm milk with graham crackers.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 05:47:04 PM PDT

  •  My Plaid Book Bag... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, kait, joanbrooker, raster44, rebel ga the first grade in Bliss, ID.  Riding the school bus to school and singing popular songs...since it was an old pile of bricks, it was K-12...three floors.  The cafeteria was in the basement and the cafeteria ladies made home-made noodles and homemade yeasty rolls. 1960.

    I love school and still walk down memory lane by stocking up on my annual stationary needs at the back-to-school sales at Staples.

  •  Kindergarten Overachiever (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tyler R, Vacationland, otto, rebel ga, huttotex

    I remember my first day of kindergarten.  I was all excited to be starting school and insisted that I simply must have paper, pencils etc.  After all, this was SCHOOL!  My mother gave in, probably to shut me up.  When I got to class and saw that I was the only one so equipped, I was so embarrassed that I hid my notebook under my desk.  

  •  When I was in third grade one of my classmates (5+ / 0-)

    hung himself. One day the rumor went around, the next day we all talked about the article in the paper saying how Billy O'keefe accidentally hung himself messing around with a noose in his closet. He was a pretty popular kid, a good athlete, but it strikes me how little it really affected us. One recess a bunch of us stood around kicking the dirt, wondering what he was doing messing around with a noose, and remembering some of the funny things he did. But the teachers never mentioned it, no dire lectures about playing around with nooses or anything. It was like he'd just transferred to another school or something. By the next recess we went back to dodgeball and it was behind us. I imagine today we'd have had a week's worth of greif counseling. Which would have seemed strange to us. We didn't really greive. There was just too much on our plate at the time. Catching frogs, riding bikes, and the everpresent hostility toward girls. I think we all felt pretty much indestructible and as long as we didn't mess around with nooses we would live forever.

    Obama is not a brown-skinned anti-war socialist who gives away free health care. You're thinking of Jesus.

    by frankzappatista on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 06:02:49 PM PDT

    •  In second grade one of my friends (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      was killed in a car crash. It instilled a healthy fear, but not unreasonable terror, of crashes ever since. There was some talk and explaining of it by the teacher and later there was a memorial plaque though I never quite understood how that all worked or why it was done.

      "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

      by Andrew C White on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 07:29:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In second grade (0+ / 0-)

        The family across the street was in a car crash. The entire family of 7 died, except for one of the children.   It was like they just took a trip and never came back.

        It was spooky and sad for about a week or so, then life went back to normal.   We were new to the neighborhood, so we didn't know them too well.

        "My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it until now." - JFK during the 1962 Steel Crisis

        by Betty Pinson on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 10:33:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Okay.... (6+ / 0-)

    All us kids were brought into the room and seated in a circle. The teacher had the kids state their names. I didn't understand then how it was allowed for two kids to have the first name. The kids' first workbooks were issued out. The cover had a rendering of a class reading multiple copies of the same workbook with the same cover. I little kid mind was perplexed about how that worked....

    Two weeks later, the school had the first fire drill that I experienced ever. I didn't quite grasp the concept and was both excited and a little scared at the prospect of a framing bit come boring through the wall. I was a little bit confused and let down when all that happened was the bell ringing and everybody shuffling outside.  

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 06:09:43 PM PDT

  •  kindergarten-day one- 1970 (6+ / 0-)

    Mom walks me to the bus stop and watches me board.   When I step off the bus at school, nobody is there greeting the newbies or tell them where to go..

    But there's Mom (a teacher herself).... She followed behind in the car, and was there to walk me inside.

    I've loved her ever since.  ;)

    Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

    by SFOrange on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 06:09:48 PM PDT

  •  Something with a multicolor parachute in gym (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanbrooker, raster44, rebel ga

    ... like everyone holding the edges (well, it was round, so maybe it only had one 'edge'), waving it up in the air and then running underneath it, possibly to music.

  •  not wanting to be there (4+ / 0-)

    ...that was my first memory...of simply not wanting to be there.

  •  My first memory? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frankzappatista, kait

    It was of kindergarten.  I remember sitting in Mrs. Vandervort's class waiting for her to walk around collecting our milk money (.01 for white milk and .02 for chocolate) and discovering that I couldn't get the money out of the hanky. My Mom had tied my two cents in a corner of the hanky so I wouldn't lose it, and I couldn't undo the knot.....panic time.
    Another early school memory was persuading the girl who sat behind me (3rd grade) to try out my new paper punch down the crease of her new grey corduroys. Yikes.
    A couple of grades later I remember helping my best friend Mike make a fart machine out of a piece of coat hanger wire, a large button, and a thick rubber band. He would wind the button tight and sit on it on a couple of magazines and then raise up a little so the button could unwind at high speed. Those were some great times and good memories.

  •  kindergarten! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kait, joanbrooker, rebel ga, edsbrooklyn

    At St. Clements Episcopal Day School, since the synagogue didn't have a Jewish day school in 1960. I learn to read at an early age (at 4), and distinctly remember the pictures on the charts when learning phonics. (Two cherries for the "ch" sound.)
    We had to go to chapel on Fridays, and I knew I was Jewish, so didn't sing the songs. It felt like a dark place, but I had many friends there. We had nap time, apple juice and graham crackers. My teacher's name was Miss Milne.
    And St. Clements is still there, on Quaker Lane in Alexandria, Va.

    Life is a shipwreck. But we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. — Voltaire

    by agrenadier on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 06:31:00 PM PDT

  •  It's a circle (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanbrooker, rebel ga, edsbrooklyn

    All the Montessorians out there will remember the basket of blue shapes.  I recall the teacher holding up a sphere and saying "What shape is this?" and me saying "It's a circle!"  A brief argument follows about circles being flat shapes and spheres being a non flat shape.

    I felt like I had won anyway until she held up the next object and said "What shape is this?"  It was a cylinder.  I recall the sensation in my 5 year old brain of the shape sliding back and forth between being a circle (when viewed end-on) and a square (when viewed from the side).

    The egg was, of course, an egg.  You would have to be crazy to think otherwise.

    I recall that the teacher's assistant had an unpronounceable name.  We called her Ms. Strawberry.

    I recall fearing first grade.  I heard nothing but horror stories about it.  The uniforms, even down to the underwear.  Everything is hard, and you get "in trouble" if you mess up.  No one sits next to anyone else.

    I went to kindergarten in Japan.  My dad was stationed there and I went to the DOD school.  Most of my classmates were embassy brats and would be going to a regular Japanese school the next year.  Hence the (possibly  exaggerated) stories about 1st grade.

    It's * STILL * the economy, stupid.

    by hillgiant on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 06:54:34 PM PDT

  •  Kindergarten graham crackers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Andrew C White, rebel ga

    and milk for a snack.  I guess now you have to pay or bring your own.  Also never fell asleep for the nap.

    It's the Supreme Court Stupid!!!

    by regis on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 06:58:01 PM PDT

  •  Two: Walking into K for first time, and Stella (5+ / 0-)

    who I called "Little Girl" for probably the first 2-3 months.  I still remember saying "Hello, little girl" to her earning very little response.  But I was the only boy at her birthday party...

    Republicans: They hate us for our Freedom.

    by mikeconwell on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 07:02:00 PM PDT

  •  Recess time and it's raining.. (6+ / 0-)

    so the teacher decides to play a game of hide the chalk. Candy will be awarded as prizes.

    I'm playing it smart with my head on my desk cafefully listening to her every move. What was that noise. It's the foil on a potted plant. She says okay and I walk straight to it. Actually it was a lucky guess as there were several potted plants and the chalk was in the first one I checked.

    Two seconds. Game over. Where's my sweet, sweet prize?

    Teacher say's I cheated and I am sent to the corner.

    So 15 years later I'm standing in the street screaming at a cop at the top of my lungs that I don't care what he thinks of my driving, I think he should look before pulling out of a parking spot into traffic because it really pisses people off, and they will honk their horns. So he got back in his car and left.

    So I get back in my car and my girld asks, "What the hell is wrong with you?"

    I say, "Miss Clutterbuck. First grade."

    I'm handling authority a little better now days. But not bad drivers.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    by Ex Con on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 07:02:07 PM PDT

  •  Spotty memories (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanbrooker, kait, edsbrooklyn, huttotex

    Kindergarten the only thing I remember is borrowing some first graders recorder and playing "baa baa black sheep" on it by ear. We weren't supposed to get a recorder to learn how to play until 1st grade. I got mine in Kindergarten and went to the 1st grade class for music after that. I don't know if the music teacher was on recess duty that day or if one of the teachers told him.
    That was also the year my mother almost died because she had a baby who died in utero but did not miscarry it, and the Catholic Hospital refused to 'abort' it. She was being poisoned as it rotted inside her. Her OB moved her to the county hospital to save her life. I don't know how much of that I understood in Kindergarten, but I remember the fear and my dad making spaghetti. (He never cooked unless my mom was very very ill or in the hospital.)

    First grade I remember acting out "There's a Hole in my Bucket" with my class.

    Second grade I remember struggling to understand carrying and borrowing, and getting tutored, and crying in frustration because the numbers wouldn't stay still and no one believed me. (Turns out I have Dyscalculia but I didn't have a name for it until College.)

  •  Peter Pan Kindergarten located (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the town hall/fire station. Only memory: Sitting and talking with about 5 other kids with none of us noticing that all the others had gone out for recess: We had no clue that they had even left the room until 5 minutes later when the teacher informed us of that fact and scolded us. She 'punished' us by not allowing us to go out for the rest of the recess. But we still got chocolate milk and vanilla wafers.

  •  First memory? Red hair. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanbrooker, kait, edsbrooklyn, huttotex

    My new teacher had red hair, just like me.
    First day, first grade.

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 07:17:06 PM PDT

  •  I think I remember (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kait, huttotex

    the first day of kindergarten and the school yard, all the buses and either being picked up or dropped off by my mother. If it wasn't the very first day it was one of the first days.

    I have a few memories of nursery school before that. A sandbox that I loved. And the one way glass of an observation room where parents could come see us in class.

    In kindergarten there were wooden toys, blocks and cars and things. One of them was an airplane with eyes on the wings. As far as I was concerned that toy was mine. It was just too cool.

    And I remember my friend from across the street who had a learning disability and had trouble adjusting to school. He was removed and sent off to some other special school.

    And I have two specific memories from 1st grade. One is of me hiding my test paper with my hands as the teacher walked up and down the aisles reviewing us as we worked. She was mad about it but let me get away with it.

    The other was when I had a bad asthema attack during the night and was out of school for a few days. The teacher used it was a writing lesson and had all my classmates write me get well messages on the big wide lined paper we learned to write on. I kept those until I was about 18. Wish I had kept them after that but I threw them out reluctantly when we moved. I was very touched by that.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 07:18:01 PM PDT

  •  Kindergarten. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In San Diego.  Dancing and twirling in a black, red and white, spool patterned dressed.  For some reason we had 'dance times'--how often I don't remember--but they were my favorite.

  •  No kindergarten for me. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kait, edsbrooklyn

    First grade, Catholic school, and a nun I was terrified of.  Black habit and long rosary beads.   I don't think she liked children.  But she liked baseball.  

    Every day is a good day. Some are just better than others!

    by BabeInTotalControlofHerself on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 07:32:06 PM PDT

  •  Kindergarten is my most fondest (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    memory of the beginning of my school experience.  I was the youngest and last to start school.  I had morning Kindergarten when it was half days.  In the spring I went in the afternoon.  I remember not sleeping because I was so excited to go to school.  I woke up at 6PM and school started at 9 am.  I dressed, ate breakfast, and walked to school with my Mom and three brothers.  I will never forget my teather, Mrs Turner.  She was so nice and spoke softly to us.  At first I was not afraid until another child started crying, Tommy.  I remember my heart started pounding that maybe this is not such a good deal.  At that time my Mom said good bye.  After he stopped crying we settle down.  Mrs. Turner calmed all our fears.  I remember laying down on the mats for our nap time, painting and over all had a great day and could not wait to go back the next day.  

  •  1st day of first grade (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss, edsbrooklyn

    Against my protests, my teacher put me on the wrong bus. I rode for what seemed like an eternity through areas completely unfamiliar to me. I ended up at a bus depot outside of my school district (I went to a private school with students bussed from several counties). After some time there, my irate parents showed up, made quite an understandable scene and I finally went home.

  •  I remember being in the... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss, kait

    ...cafeterium, and my brother was spooning corn onto his tray. He liked corn.  I was five. In the past 37 years since, I've only had one year where I wasn't either being a student or being a teacher...Bells run my life! First year as a teacher: 1993, first year as a student: 1974

  •  First day of school, 1955(?) (5+ / 0-)

    They did not have kindergarten out there in the boonies where I grew up and because I was somewhat precocious my mom enrolled me in first grade when I was 5.  I was scared witless and told my mother that I did not want to stay in class.  My not quite 3 yr old sister volunteered to stay.  (She adored me back then.)

    After my mother left I decided to overcompensate for my shyness and started rocking in my little non-rocking chair.  Mostly because I wanted my pretty ruffly petticoat to show.  Of course, I fell back and showed more than the petticoat to everyone in class.

    I am near 62 and still smooooooooooooth.

  •  Kindergarten? Heh? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Having an aspiring teacher as an older Sister (7 yrs.+) teaching me to read & write at but 4 made me so far ahead of my fellow kindergärtners that I felt misplaced. My best friend at that age was a neighbor girl who was afraid of going to school. The first day I walked her to school and carried her sneaker bag to school. We entered the girls entrance where we were separated, she cried, and placed in different rooms. She got sick that day from the excitement and had to get picked up by her mother. I lasted the day but found it quite boring as opposed to my Sister's hard lessons. I remember the teacher, Mrs. Rosen, found it strange that I could read, write my name, address, phone # in cursive, add, subtract, multiply, divide, draw with clarity, and knew things that 5 year olds weren't supposed to understand. They talked about advancing me throughout grade school but my Mother would hear nothing in regards to that as I was such a late bloomer size wise. By 3rd grade I spent more time out of class being tested by research intelligence consultants than in the classroom. I was off the scales for IQ and comprehended at a college level. I remembered being taught the principals of a slide rule by a family friend, who developed the propulsion for Bell's X-1 jet, he brought me one, and he explained the dynamics of flight to me. I shot rockets for years down at the city dump, near the notorious Love Canal, along the Niagara River. I also have memories from when I was barely two ½ years old on New Years eve, having an outing for a hot fudge sundae, burning my feet on a  floor furnace grating, rushed to the hospital, and celebrating with the nurses as my parents arrived from celebrating to take me home with my funny hat and noisemakers.

  •  I remember that I was painfully shy. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raster44, Betty Pinson, otto

    Even though my uncle was ten years older than me and I knew him well, I was afraid of him when at school.  I remember hiding under the table at lunch to avoid being seen by him.  I was afraid to talk to anyone when I was in early grades.  So, that was over 50 years and I remember it well.

    Alan Grayson: "In 2010, my district and everywhere else in Florida, Republican turnout was in the sixties. Democratic turnout was in the forties." Think about it.

    by alliedoc on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:20:42 PM PDT

  •  My first memory of Kindergarten. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raster44, cachola, kait, otto

    I was a brand-new immigrant to the US.  Just 6 years old, we had just stepped off the plane a mere 2 weeks prior.

    We were a family from Sweden, mom & dad & 4 little kids.

     I didn't speak a word of english.  I remember holding a picture book, and I was supposed to say "Giraffe".  I remember I just couldn't pronounce the word.

    I remember looking nervously around, wondering what to do next!!!  sheesh tough times at the local K-12.

  •  Fun Topic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raster44, Mother Shipper, otto

    I remember the first day of kindergarten.  My mother, always disorganized where being on time was concerned, brought me there about 15 minutes late.  She held my hand and brought me in to the class that had already started.  Everyone looked at me, and the teacher showed me where to sit, and resumed telling the class from where she had left off about the coming year.

    For the rest of grammar school, I felt that I must have missed some important instruction on that first day!  I wondered what everyone else knew about that I hadn't heard about yet.  It makes me chuckle now, but it was a nagging background anxiety at the time.

    [profit is] low in rich, and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin. --Adam Smith

    by cantelow on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:27:03 PM PDT

  •  I remember Kindergarten. My teacher's name (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    was Mrs. Gardiner (no kidding!).  I remember the big old oriental rug we slept on at nap time.  It was a half day program so we walked home after school to eat lunch.  I started school in the middle of the year while I was still four, I think, because my mother had just had her third child, and I was wearing her out with my questions.  

    Unfortunately, part of my responsibility as a student was to have my parents teach me my address and phone number so that I could recite them in school.  I'd ask my parents, but they thought it was just more of my incessant questions so they'd answer and send me on my way.  They didn't realize that they were still responsible for teaching me things even though I was in school.  

    Things went so badly for me that I was sent to take an I.Q. test.  I remember being so afraid that it was the dreaded TB test because I was sent to the same part of the school.  Sadly for the teacher, my I.Q. results were good enough for me to stay in her class, rather than being to the special class Bill Cosby described in one of his early stand-up routines.

    I remember back much earlier than most people, which probably means that my memory is too full for much else now.

    Oh, my address then was 1847 Northhampton Street.  I can't remember my whole phone number, but the exchange was Blackburne which meant that the first two letters (yes letters) were BL.  We moved away a little over a year later, and soon after that my first elementary school burned down.

  •  I remember a dog and a station wagon (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It was my first day of kindergarten at Evergreen Elementary in the peninsula logging town of Shelton, Washington.  The dog was a brand-new labrador named Simon, and the car was a 1967 Chevrolet Bel-Air station wagon.  It was my dad's first new car.  The year was 1968.

    Mom parked across the street from the school, in a shady side street where Shelton Creek crossed under the road on its way to the mill.  Simon, then a puppy, was everywhere at once in the back seat of the car.  Going to class was great, but not quite as fun as staring into the creek.

    Simon and that car were fixtures in my life for many years.  Both went with us to Alaska in the summer of 1969.  Simon grew into serious dog, and then into elder dog, and then came the day when we had to put our friend down.  In a farm family where gravely ill pets were humanely-but-matter-of-factly put down with a rifle shot, dad couldn't bring himself to do this to his friend of 17 years.  Simon went to the vet and dad was pretty quiet for a few days.

    The car made it to 1977, but fell victim to an overworked father trying to rebuild the heads in the evenings after work.  Some overtorqued rocker nuts caused some valves to smack their pistons.

    I graduated in 1981 and joined the military.  My next first school memory is in 1998 on the island of Okinawa.  I'm dropping my daughter off at her first day of kindergarten and she's crying.  I stay with her as long as I can but the moment comes when I have to turn my back and walk away from her.  I'll never forget how much that wrenched at me.  I had tears in my eyes as I drove back to work on the flight line at Kadena Air Base.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

    by DaveinBremerton on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:39:31 PM PDT

  •  We started with a game (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We sat in a big circle on the floor. We rolled a ball to people across the circle, each person saying their name when they got the ball.

    When the ball got to me, I said my name, and everybody laughed! (I have a weird name). I cried, but knew it was OK.

    I throve in kindergarten (loved story time). I particularly remember from that same first day another student who could read. The teacher gave him a page to read, he read it out loud, and she sent him directly to 1st grade. I wasn't jealous, I was impressed. Very simple.  

  •  kindergarten... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't remember a thing except coloring a whole lot everyday, until one day this kid named "Ralph" sitting next to me during "music" (a cacophony of triangles, symbols, wooden blocks & singing of sorts) suddenly leaned over and kissed me.

    Revolted I was. It shocked me out of my trance and I decided I had better start paying attention cuz you never know what might be coming straight at you at any given moment.  

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 08:50:52 PM PDT

  •  I actually remember the first moment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I learned to read. One moment I struggled to read simple sentences from a first grade reading book, and then suddenly, like a light switch, I could read. I wore a big smile on my face.

    I finished the school year reading The Chronicles of Narnia.

  •  One of the numerous Naylor family girls (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    puking down the back of my pew in the middle of Harvest Festival mass.  It was like something out of The Exorcist.  I have had a crippling fear of vomit ever since.

  •  I love anecdotal posts/diaries/comments and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think they probably serve as useful a function here as our political screeds in that they do draw us together and boost morale, like the music and book groups. I have laughed most of today. Thanks to all for all of this.

  •  My most vivid memory of the first day of school (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sprinkles, kait

    is the smell. It was the most wondrous thing I'd experienced in my short life. A heady mix of brand new crayons and paints, uncracked books, and freshly sharpened pencils. Cafeteria food and fresh floor wax, and all the people. School.

    It was the smell of a new and exciting journey, of learning and possibility. I may have been only five years old, but I knew it was a very big deal, and to this day, almost 50 years later, I still love the smell of "school."  

    "The answer to violence is even more democracy. Even more humanity." Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg

    by poe on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 09:58:55 PM PDT

  •  My earliest school memories (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    involve the way I learned to read effortlessly and how I was able to spell any word on pure instinct, without even thinking.
    My last school memories involve almost ten years of abject misery, culminating with me dropping out of high school and leaving home in shame because I simply could not learn math. Tutors, algebra-wiz parents, immersion, sincere attempts to study and "get it", nothing helped. I never graduated and still can't do decimal-point division. I wanted to write stories and poetry, learn everything I could about botany, and study coral reef ecology...but when they found out I couldn't do numbers it gave them the right to make my life a living hell. And they did, with great enthusiasm.  

    Neoconservatives are neither new nor conservative, but old as Bablyon and evil as Hell --- Edward Abbey

    by skunkbaby on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 10:05:50 PM PDT

  •  I went to a church kindergarten (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because the public schools had a cutoff date of September 1. My birthday is in October. My mom thought I was ready for school, so I went to a church kindergarten for a year (and the next year, the public school people let me go into first grade, even though I was an October kid).

    I remember the first day of kindergarten, there were two rooms and I picked the one with the more intelligent looking toys (for older kids). But I picked the wrong room (nursery school instead of kindergarten). On the second day, I went to the right room.

    I remember we made butter by stirring milk, then we smeared it on crackers.

    I remember when the teacher handed out scissors, which were either left-handed or right-handed. I was embarassed because I didn't know if I was right or left-handed (nobody had ever told me that I was a righty).

    I remember figuring something out (sort of a math thing)and trying to tell another kid. A whole sandwich would have to be bigger than a sandwich cut in half because when you use a knife to cut a sandwich, the knife has to have a thickness, so some long thin part of sandwich will be crushed, so some of it would be left on the cutting board. I tried to explain it to my mom and she said, "OK. If you don't want me to cut the sandwich, I won't."

    (Later, in about 3rd grade, my best friend, Chris, used a mathematical argument to disprove the existence of Santa Claus. If Santa delivers presents from midnight to 6 AM, then that's 6 hours, or 21600 seconds. But if there are a million kids in the U.S., then you do the math and Santa only has 2/100 of a second at each house. It would be impossible, even with flying reindeer. It's more logical that the presents come from our parents.)

    But the angle said to them, "Do not be Alfred. A sailor has been born to you"

    by Dbug on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 10:28:18 PM PDT

    •  I was a natural lefty. Cannot count (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      how many times the effing Nuns beat me for that.

      I still sketch with both hands.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:45:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Crayons and paste. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can't remember much about the first day of school except feeling scared and lost.  I still associate the smell of crayons and paste with being soothed. lol  I think I'll buy a box of Crayola and Elmer's Glue tomorrow.  I need a little comforting about now.

  •  I remember *everything* (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's kind of freaky how much of my early childhood I still remember.  I remember pre-school at St. Luke's Episcopal Church.  There was a really long hallway which we would launch our SSP Racers down.

    I remember our teacher was Mrs. Bounty and her daughter Kathy helped out in class.  Carrie Sweet would always say "It's nice to share" Joey Velie would get constant nosebleeds.  Two fraternal twin sisters, Erica and Robin were my best friends.  I had a crush on Erica, but Robin had it for me.  There was a cereal (cap'n crunch perhaps) which had toys in the box which were like chinese throwing stars, but with suction cups instead of blades, so you would whip it at a wall and it would stick. A girl named Angela would joke with her friend "Mama Mia, Papa Pia, someone stole my Diary-a"

    One of my neighbors who was in the 6th grade put on a production of fiddler on the roof.  My part consisted of walking in circles around Jennifer MacElyea (whom I called 'Jeffie') while one of the older kids sang "If I was a rich man..."  Afterward he held a yard sale and my mom bought me some Hot Wheels and a loop-de-loop of track.

    One afternoon while playing at Jeffie's house someone discovered a bee's nest...

    I think that sums up 1971.

    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." - Originally said by someone who can do neither.

    by bondibox on Wed Sep 07, 2011 at 11:17:25 PM PDT

  •  Pondering this question explains... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland, huttotex, kait

    a lot. But we needn't get into all that.

    If we count kindergarten as school, the earliest memory with some substance is without a doubt the day of President Kennedy's assassination.

    An ordinary day, but in the early afternoon the teacher and other adults were all whispering and acting strange. When the moms arrived to pick us up many were crying and hugging.

    We children looked at one another and concluded "this ain't good at all." We had no idea what.

    I climbed into the back of our green Chevrolet Bel Air for the trip home and mom was horribly upset, choking back sobs. I thought that was just what kids did.

    Asked her what was wrong and she said, "honey they shot President Kennedy and he died."

    I just sat back and tried to make sense of why "they'd" do that. But I couldn't.

  •  the smell of new vinyl binders (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

    by rasbobbo on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:39:39 AM PDT

  •  Alphabet around the blackboard (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland, kait

    My most vivid memory of kindergarten is the alphabet around the blackboard and the tattered towels we used for mats during naptime!

    Old Hippies Never Give Up!

    by ravenrdr on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 02:45:13 AM PDT

  •  The lavatory (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sprinkles, se portland, kait, huttotex

    I remember they lined us up and told us we were going to the lavatory. I had  never heard that word before and - since I'd been picturing "school" as this place of great learning - I got all excited that we were being taken to a LABORATORY!.

    You can imagine my disappointment.

  •  doing an atomic bomb practice drill in the hallway (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland, huttotex

    with my butt in someone's face.

    It was such a relief when they changed their minds and we got to crouch under our desks.  

  •  Walking Home (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland, huttotex

    I remember the first time I walked home by myself . We lived 6 blocks from school. I remember when I got to the top of our street I was so thrilled. When I walked up our steps my mom was behind me.
    At 5 your not smart enough to know she was behind you the entire time.
    I remember somebodies dad dying in an explosion at Sunoco , or maybe their grandfather when those 2 ships collided at the dock ?
    I also recall somebodies dad being 'executed' and it being famous . Ahh, school in South Philly

    you can't remain neutral on a moving train

    by rmfcjr on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 04:34:54 AM PDT

    •  September 1957. I was used to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      se portland, kait, huttotex

      seeing and playing with Black kids on the playground, as I lived next to a Black neighborhood in out city.  So starting school, some of my classmates were Black. On the evening news, there were images of Little Rock.  I asked my parents what was going on.  My father explained, "They don't want to let the colored go to their schools."  (He was no bigot, that was the expression that was used then, along with "Negro".)

      I was puzzled by this.

      'You haven't lived until you've tried Kosher watermelon.' - Sammy Davis Jr.

      by brae70 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 05:31:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't encounter this until Jr. High, or what is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brae70, huttotex

        now called middle school. My mother had transplanted us to let's call it Wester Virginia, and I, being the new and "city" kid got the poll: what to make of integrating the swimming pool. (This occurred a full ten years after your story).  Coming from my background, I had no idea what the hell they were talking about, the Civil War or something?  I had to go home and ask my mother to explain it. She did. I told her I liked it better when everybody was green, and we'd best go back. Didn't take long for her to see my point.

  •  The smell is my most enduring memory (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, se portland, kait

    I went to school in England, where many of the primaries are a hundred years, or more, old.

    Mine was built sometime in the 19th century.

    The oak parquet floors were polished every night, and the school was fille with the smell of aged wood and floor polish.

    Even now, that smell takes me back to when I was five years old.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 05:44:15 AM PDT

  •  never had preschool or kindergarten (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    se portland, huttotex

    went to first grade at the age of 5 (I was born in December), my mother walked me to school the first day - it was a very long walk.  I joined hundreds of children in the auditorium, and the noise and confusion were so loud that I began to scream, and wouldn't stop, and my mother walked me all the way home again, because I was too terrified to stand in an auditorium with hundreds of screaming kids.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 05:52:06 AM PDT

  •  A Fall day in Texas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KTinOhio, kait

    Like you I have a scant memory of sitting on the floor looking at a chart of the alphabet. Another kindergarten memory of running around in the play ground playing Cowboys and Americans. Apparently neither side wanted to be Indians.

    But the most vivid memory is from First Grade. We were going to get out of school early because the President was going to have a parade in my own home town of Austin! Back in those days the classrooms had intercoms with a handset that look just like a regular old phone. Mrs. Cummings,  in her ever cheerful frumpy middle age way answer the intercom. I could see the life drain out of her. She hung up the intercom and stared at the wall for several seconds, her arms limp upon her side. She turned to a class of about 25 six-year-olds and and told us the President had just been shot in Dallas.

    It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

    by se portland on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 05:58:26 AM PDT

  •  I remember having to sing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Christmas carols around a Christmas tree in an Iowa public school as a four year old Jewish girl.

    I remember my rest mat, which was red on one side and blue on the other, and had shiny embossed stars on both sides.

    And in first grade, I remember making a papier mache Chicken Little puppet for our Broadway debut performance and the smell of the paste and the (non-toxic, I hope) shellac we used to make the puppets shiny.

    In fifth grade, my parents separated, and this speaks to me: was a refuge for me, and that the chaos of home was discarded for the welcome organization of school.

    That was definitely the case.  If I had been able to live at school that year, I would have. Mrs. Sarna was a wonderful teacher.

    My kids all started school today.  May they all have a good year -- may they learn something, and enjoy the experience.

  •  first day of kindergarten (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kait, huttotex

    We had a whole wing of the school for our classroom, our own entrance, I guess so we wouldn't get jostled by the bigger kids, or get in their way.

    The teacher was a skinny rather sour-looking older woman. She always kept a handkerchief tucked in the sleeve of her cardigan. I guess she must've liked little kids a lot, but she didn't particularly show it.

    I was painfully shy, and that first morning sat in a chair right by her desk as she registered students. I thought I had to register too, not aware I was preregistered. When she asked me why I was sitting there, I burst into tears.

    I got less shy as the weeks went by.

    I remember nap time, on mats, and snack time (milk and graham crackers) and sitting four to a table for writing and art projects, playing farmer in the dell and duck duck goose. And the teacher helping each and every one of us get into our boots and coats and scarves and mittens to go home in the below-zero winter.

    And I remember a day near the end of that kindergarten year, sitting on the floor in front of the teacher, staring out the back door of the classroom at a sunlit view of the big yellow chimney on the hospital about a half mile away, past the roofs and elm trees of the surrounding neighborhood. That view is imprinted on my memory like a picture postcard in a scrapbook.

    "I've had all I can stands, and I can't stands no more." - Popeye the Sailor Man

    by congenitalefty on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 06:59:31 AM PDT

  •  kindergarten... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    finger painting on an easel in the morning.  during lunch we went outside to take pears off the lawn that had dropped.

    i never liked pears (boo on the texture).  but i can still remember it like yesterday.  that and the tangy smell of finger paints :)

  •  Walking to school for kindergarten (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Monroe Elementary, South Bend, Indiana. And I still have fond memories of my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. DeRue. I actually got to see her a few times as an adult thanks to a mutual acquaintance and it was a blast getting back in touch with her. I hope she was gratified that I am now much better with scissors than I used to be.

    Two things are universal--hydrogen and stupidity. --Frank Zappa

    by AustinCynic on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 07:06:47 AM PDT

  •  I think it is Bobo Olson... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...who was challenged at #2.

  •  Miss Pat's kindergarten (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kait, huttotex

    I'd never seen a sand box on legs.  Even though I wasn't a sandbox kind of kid, it fascinated me to have one that I could stand up to use.  Oh, and Georgie T. who managed to go through several boxes of those thick crayons while the rest of us made do with one.  He ate them.  :-)

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 08:02:10 AM PDT

  •  My first memories were: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    1. Clay. Real, wettable, modeling clay. At first I was upset because only the 1st graders were permitted to play, but the nun eventually let us Kinders play too. I made a three dimensional animal, a dinosaur, if I recall.  Because I was supposed to make an ashtray, I recall the nun using the ruler on my hands.

    2. The parish priest came to "quiz" 2nd (me) and 3d graders on Columbus. If we got the question right, he would reward us with a new $5 dollar bill. In those days, $5 was about as attainable as a million.

    I happened to read the newspaper, and searched the encyclopedia about Columbus, so I raised my hand.
    He called on one, then another, finally another kid (all in 3d grade), then finally, and quite reluctantly, on me. I gave him the right answer.

    He thought about it, and instead he asked a follow up question (never part of the deal). I answered that correctly too. So he added a third, and finally a fourth question. By this time, part of me wanted to scream "BUT I GOT IT RIGHT ALREADY" but even I knew it was wrong to yell or talk back to a priest.
    The fourth question could be interpreted in two ways, and I asked for clarification, because I said I knew both answers. His response? "I am not giving you any more information." So I gave both answers, one being the right one, depending on his intent.

    His effing response? WRONG, since you gave two answers.

    It wasn't just me thinking the bastard was being unfair. Several kids came up to me during recess and all said, why did he do that? You answered the question!

    Boredom, abuse of kids, uniformed nuns controlling your thoughts, making arbitrary rules, the net result of 5 years of this crap created one thing:


    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 08:05:07 AM PDT

  •  Sweet but meagre memories of 1rst grade: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Southern Indiana farming community, 1949, a two room school in an old white frame house.  Outdoor privy, of course: the Ur smell.  The school bus was a pickup truck with a canvas top over the bed and two planks for sitting. It was on this bus that I famously fought off and discouraged an older kid that was teasing my older (by seven years!) brother.  Only fight I've even been in.

    Almost nothing has a name.

    by johanus on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 08:14:14 AM PDT

  •  I recall standing in line for the polio shot, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jbeaudill, huttotex

    reading Dick and Jane books, sitting next to the bookcase in the classroom and getting busted for pulling encyclopedias off the shelf to look at when I was bored.
    This was in a small rural school in Colorado that had 1st and 2nd in the same room (3rd and 4th in one and 5th and 6th in one).  It was great getting a preview of what the 2nd graders were working on.  

    And riding the bus with everyone from 1st to 12th.  

    "A different world cannot be built by indifferent people." Anon from a fortune cookie I got.

    by coloradocomet on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:04:49 AM PDT

  •  It was so long ago... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't remember the first day of kindergarten, but I know it was in September 1965.  My first school was P.S. 235 in Brooklyn, New York.

    I do remember the teacher's strike two or three years later.  The strike lasted for at least two months, and many parents voluinteered to teach classes in whatever space was available.  In my case, this meant my mother teaching my class at a local synagogue.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself (FDR, 1933). The only thing we have to offer is fear itself (Republican Party, 2011).

    by KTinOhio on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:19:10 AM PDT

  •  Eating paste in Kindergarten. I also (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    remember coloring a flower design in nursery school.

  •  Had to have been 1957 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Kindergarten,  Mrs. Kinnersly.  I remember the first day there and stringing shapes onto a cord.  Not much else.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

    by rb608 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:39:01 AM PDT

  •  Being reprimanded and shamed for ringing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic, huttotex, johanus, kait

    the 'come-in-from-recess' bell too soon in kindergarten; followed by a pedophilic, terrifying 1st grade teacher (Mrs. Marshall, may you be burning in the hell I don't believe in) who had the gall to tell my mom to restrain my reading habits at home because I was reading too far above my grade level! (My mom had to fight not to strangle the hag.)

    After that, I had a succession of wonderful, nurturing, energetic, creative teachers (sprinkled here and there with a few real rotters in jr and sr high) who fed my mind and helped me through an extremely difficult, maladjusted, insane-asylum childhood.

    I would be nowhere, perhaps even dead, without so many fabulous teachers, eventually including a number of college profs who further revolutionized my intellectual universe and sense of accomplishment.

    Having heard years of depressing stories from others about their substandard and/or inhumane schooling, I continue holding firm to the knowledge that I was lucky beyond luck, blessed beyond blessings.

    •  my school librarian banned me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      huttotex, johanus, kait

      Because I read everything  "suitable" for my age, as well as the next three years, and she did not want me taking books that the oldest kids were supposed read. She even complained to my parents.

      at first she claimed I was lying about reading those books, and she threatened to punish me. Then, I began quoting stuff and telling her the plots.

      Luckily there was a public library near my home, and the librarian turned me on to Poe, Hawthorne, Wilde, Sherlock Holmes, and much more. She was my first crush.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:54:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I had this problem with my first public librarian. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rennert, raincrow

        So my mom walked me right straight back there and had me read to the librarian from the book I wanted. Still not good enough. I had to explain what I had read. Treaty finally negotiated. I ended up working in a library all through high school and even a couple of years in college.  The impulse of others to censor seems unending.

        •  My mom's friends remember my first read-out-loud (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          (I do not).

          When I was ~3, I went to the next-door-neighbors', where a number of moms were chatting inside. They heard me read the door mat, "W.E.L.C.O.M.E. Welcome!" and in I came.

      •  Control freaks make my bitchslappin hand ITCH (0+ / 0-)

        Even if I thought a child was exaggerating about her/his reading prowess, I'd think it was humorous, not something to be punished.


  •  What a delightful topic! I recall my (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    huttotex, kait

    days at Miss Pickles Kindergarten in Massachusetts.  I had baton lessons and we played games, Red Rover, passing a secret around a circle, and Duck, Duck,  Goose.
    I had my first boyfriend in kindergarten: Dickie Tibbits and years later, when in college, I met him again - still a good-looking guy with a shag of thick brown hair and spaniel eyes.
            In the first grade [public school], everytime the teacher, [Miss  Daley] said 'for instance' she looked toward the boy seated at the wooden desk in front of me:  I thought his name was 'for instance' when in fact it was Francis - close enough, I guess. Our desks had pen and ink holders and we learned to write with nib pens.  Nearly all of us ate the library paste handed out on squares of white paper.
            I remember all of my teachers; this was back when the majority of teachers were unmarried women, just after WWII.  In the second grade we had a married woman for a teacher, Mrs. Lewis and I recall that we all talked about fact that she was married.  I still have the little plaster of Paris emblem of a duck flying that we made and painted - my mother had had it hanging in her bedroom all those years and when she died at 85, it became mine for memories.
         We were such innocents!  We would never have dreamed of answering back to our teachers or misbehaving in any way in school!
         We said the Pledge every morning [without God initially and then with God] and we learned to dance in the later grades, ballroom and square dancing and I remember the Virginia Reel.  We played Dodge Ball at recess and in the autumn, we had Pet Stock Day where one could bring their pets to school and had pony rides.

    I cannot say that my high school years were so rosy.  I attended a private Catholic School, Sisters of Notre Dame, and learned of cruelty and bigotry and the painfulness of high school cliques.  Most of my life was lived outside of the high school coterie and I was better off for this as many of them were girls without ambition.

    I won't go on with the college years.... :-))
    Happy back to school for all the little ones!

    "In Youth We Learn...In Age We Understand"

    by Jbeaudill on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:56:34 AM PDT

  •  Kindergarten Orientation... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... The teacher and kids and moms were there to meet.

    The teacher had written the first names of all of the children on the board.  She'd gotten mine wrong, likely because it was not, in her opinion, a "proper" girls' name.  I stood up and told her my name and how to spell it, which she really didn't like -- especially that I could read it AND correct her on it.

    I was the smallest kid in the class, too.

    This is WarriorGirl's first week of her second year of preschool; she's in the lower class (and yes, I'm glad she is; she's not ready to sit down for anything yet).  She's already happier this year, since it's a smaller class rather than integrated all ages like last year.  

  •  I have a few memories of my early (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    days in Kindergarten -- I did not attend preschool (this was early 1960s). There were two rooms designated for the Kindergarten class, and the first grade rooms were next door. On my first day of school, I remember a kid from my church -- he was in first grade -- running down the hall and crying, and I remember being sad he was crying but didn't understand his not wanting to be in school!

    I recall walking into the room, and another kid silently pointed to the cloakroom -- I was so excited I never noticed Mom leaving.

    An interesting point about my classroom -- it had a working fireplace (first I'd ever seen). On Halloween, we were allowed to wear our costumes to school, and we had a party! Imagine the set up of 4-5 year-olds in non-flame-retardent costumes toasting marshmallows over a roaring fire. You guessed it -- one little girl caught her marshmallow on fire and she jerked it out and waved it around, catching me on the hand. I remember being very calm and clapping my other hand over the flame -- fortunately it went out, but I had a huge burn which developed a painful trick or treating for me that night. Good thing that times change :)

    "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

    by klompendanser on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:14:04 AM PDT

  •  I Remember My Father Complaining..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to my teacher that I didn't know how to read yet in the private kindergarten he was paying for.  Let's just say, within weeks I could read anything.

    I also remember the amazing toys in that school including a mini kitchen set w/ running water.  My mom also arranged for me to take private tap lessons @ dance school during those years.  It was heaven.  

    Then they sent me to Catholic school w/ the world's meanest nuns.  They would put chewing gum on your nose & stick you in the corner w/ an actual dunce cap in a millisecond.  That's where I learned that it's just easier to go straight in life.  I never got close to the corner or the dunce cap.  

    Then a great school experience in a quonset hut on Guam.  That's where I learned to love school.  My teacher was the bomb!

  •  Let's see, hmmmmmmmmm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    huttotex, kait

    I remember snippets of kindergarten.  I remember not yet being able to recognize my own name on my crayon box, so when the teacher would send everyone to get their crayons, I would hang back until everyone else grabbed theirs and take the one remaining.

    I remember playing with a toy on the carpet when the principal was apparently speaking over the loudspeaker, and the kindergarten teacher yanking the toy out of my hand very roughly and scolding me.  (Yeesh lady, calm the eff down - what do I care about crossing guard schedules at age 4?)

    Mostly I remember that while I walked to school in the morning with my sisters and brother, I had to walk home alone because I got out at noon.  It wasn't far, but I was always worried I might have to cross paths with a neighbor's dog, so I hated walking home alone.  I was always glad to be back home, where my mom didn't yank on my arm or yell at me.

    We moved after the school year was over, and in my new school district, children were taught to read in kindergarten, so I had to repeat kindergarten for half a year until I learned to read.  I can still remember the first time I read an entire sentence in a book by myself.  It was Mr. Parker Pyne's Purple House.  I was allowed to take the book home from school and I sat at the table and read that sentence out loud to my family and got a round of applause.  And then I read it, over and over again, despite being encouraged to read the next sentence.  I was in awe that I actually figured out what the letters meant.  LOL.

  •  Learning my name, day before kindergarten (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    huttotex, johanus, kait

    I know this sounds crazy, but I didn't really know my name until the day before kindergarten.  My earliest memory is the night before, my mother reminding me of my name.

    Back then, it seems, most of the black boys, like me, that I knew were named after their fathers.  For that reason, we all had nicknames, mostly the same nickname, "Junior" or some variation -- Junior, Juny, Jun-Jun, June, Junes, etc.  That was the only name I'd ever been called.  (This made dinner time difficult for the mothers, because if any of them yelled down the street, Junior, dinner time, we could all pretend we thought it was the other Junior.)

    The night before kindergarten my mother reminded me that in school, the teacher would use my "real name."  What was that?  Hamden (actually not my real name, but close).

    But that's Daddy's name.  Yeah, but you're named after him.  Your real name is Hamden.

    That was my earliest memory of school, the night before kindergarten, my mother revealing to me that I had a name other than Junior, my nickname.

    •  The nuns punished me when (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kait, HamdenRice

      I didn't know my parents' first names. All I had ever been taught was mother and father, but in three different languages.

      Come to think of it, I do believe that the nuns did little else but find ways to punish the kids.

      This one poor girl wore a skirt that was slightly too high. (She grew a spurt and was tallest in the class)
      She was forced to kneel on beans against the wall for hours. She was in tears practically the whole time.

      Then for a really minor transgression, one of my friends had to pull his pants down, so the nun could strike him harder. I still remember the sound of the striking wooden rod, and his screams.

      I have no memory of any ANY good act by any Nun in school. I may have forgotten it, but more likely they never happened.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 11:34:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No wonder you hate nuns. Can't blame you. I went (0+ / 0-)

        to school in the early '60s and nobody kneeled on beans or anything else, well other than the floor-- and certainly nobody had their pants pulled down in front of everyone. That's just atrocious, even for those days.

  •  Kindergarten -- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Mrs. Singer at Nobel Elementary School, Miller Beach Indiana, 1968.  I remember story time, nap time, duck-duck-goose, and making butter in her class.  Making butter was the highlight of the year, and a trip to Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago with a wonderful singing bus driver.

    "Since when did obeying corporate power become patriotic." Going the Distance

    by Going the Distance on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:20:12 PM PDT

  •  I grew up in a small town in Germany (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johanus, otto, kait

    and went to school in an ancient sandstone building that still had hitching posts for horses outside. The steps into the school were concave, worn down by thousands of feet for over two hundred years. The school consisted of one large room and a smaller one which served as the teachers' office and also as the first-aid station.

    There were four grades in that one room with the rows of benches facing into four different directions. Two  teachers taught two grades each with the occasional guest teacher from the upper levels dropping in for a special class. Two opposing walls had windows, but they were so far up that you could not look out. In the middle of the room was a large tiled wood stove separating the grades. In winter, every student was asked to bring a log every day to keep the schoolroom warm.

    We brought our own lunches from home, generally a cheese sandwich and an apple. If a child did not have any lunch, we were expected to share ours. My family, like many other families in town, adopted a student from a home that had less food or more mouths to feed, so I took two lunches to school every day for several years.

    In the first two years, we did not get paper or pencils. Instead, we had a small chalkboard that we used over and over again to practice our letters and numbers. It was a real rite of passage to become one of the older students and be entrusted with paper and pencils. My price possession was an abacus my father made for me out of scrap lumber from the construction site where he worked.

    I was a bright, inquisitive child with a real independent streak that endeared me to those rare teachers who delighted in my quick mind and patiently answered my endless questions. Academically, I was always at the top of my class. However, less understanding teachers tagged me as disruptive, stubborn, unable to accept authority, and generally a bad influence on the other students. Because of that, I got plenty of "Tatzen": the teacher would hit your open left  hand, palm up, with the wooden ruler. Or I had to stay after school to help clean up.

    I learned early that punishment was the price you paid to do what you wanted. It was never a deterrent for me, only the cost of my independence, a cost I was willing to pay more often than not.    

    When we finished our work in class early, we got a treat: we could go to the "library" (actually just a large shelf with books) and pick a book to read until the slower students completed the assignment. Because I loved to read, I would always do my work quickly (but accurately and neatly or else the teacher would return it). The books we could choose were real literature, not dumbed-down children's books. I am forever grateful for that. Books became my most beloved teachers and still are today.  

    If money is speech, then speech is money and I should be able to pay my bills with witty social commentary, astute political analysis or good old blarney

    by heiderose1 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:22:28 PM PDT

  •  I remember from the beginning (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    huttotex, johanus, kait, Cliss

    We were over a friend's house one night 35 years ago last night and my mom told me I was going to start school the next day.... I remember being like "NOOOO!"  So Kindergarden for me was a half day of school in the afternoons.  Everyone in my Kindergarden class were given Sesame Street (colored paper cut-outs) characters to wear with our names and Bus # on them.  I think we had to wear those for a week or more.  I have pictures of my mom getting me when the bus dropped me off...

    Compromising with fascists will only leave you with fascism.

    by MarkVA71 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:30:35 PM PDT

  •  It was a mixed bag (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    huttotex, johanus

    I remember that on the first day of kindergarten Mrs. Morley wore a huge straw hat so those of us in her class could identify and find her. I remember the Tin Man statue in the classroom. I remember being ecstatic that there were enough swings for all of us, and that I could play with kids other than my little sister.

    When I was in first grade things started going badly for me. In a fairly wealthy district, kids began noticing things like class differences. They ostracized whomever was weird, and the kids who wore different clothes, or who didn't have a Cabbage Patch doll (this was during the 80s craze). Since my family had no money, I wore the different clothes, didn't have the things the other kids did. I was a lot smarter than the other children, reading at 5th grade levels. All of this meant I was shunned as being "weird."

    I graduated high school with the same kids I went to kindergarten with. Not a one of them was my friend. I'm 33 now and still remember the names they called me and how they treated me for 12 years. One of them found me on Facebook recently and tried to talk about "the good times we had." Before blocking her I wrote back, "You mean the good times when I was pushed around and tortured until I cried myself sick in the bathroom while you stood there and laughed and cheered? Or when I ate lunch alone in a corner of the library so I wouldn't have to face all of you? Or when you deliberately talked shit about me to your friends while I was ten feet away, hearing every word? Or when I would find notes in my locker telling me that I was an ugly, worthless dyke and should just kill myself? Those good times? Go fuck yourself."

    School was hell.

    This year I had my first day of law school (three weeks ago), and the dynamic is much the same. All the other girls are much prettier and better dressed (and an average of 7 years younger), everyone still has a lot more money than I do, I'm still smarter than most of my schoolmates (except in Contracts, which is kicking my ass), and I'm still shunned for being "weird."

    Oh well. The more things change, I guess.

    When are you going to understand that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage. - Practical Magic

    by Keori on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:31:13 PM PDT

  •  Nursery school. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I told the teacher I had to go peepee, and she grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and screamed. "NO, you have to URINATE! Say: 'I have to urinate!' "

    Some things stand out your entire life. I think I may have never recovered from that....

  •  My first attendance at school (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    was when my mother took me to the school so that I could be enroled. She presented the principal with my birth certificate, told him that I wasn't particularly unhealthy, and that I would usually go home for lunch. On the first day of classes, I met David, who lived only a block away from me and we have stayed friends for the past 55 years, even though he moved away in the eighth grade. I remember learning to read books, but it wasn't really a stretch as I had been reading comic books for two years (I knew those word bubbles were adding something to the story-line presented by the pictures, and I wanted to understand what was happening to Scrooge McDuck, his nephews, and Sgt. Rock). I have some pretty substantial memories of earlier events, such as when Tommy beat me up as I was going to the store (alone, at age 3) to buy his birthday present. He beat me up because I wouldn't tell hime what I was going to buy. Life was different in Mayberry.

    Life is hard, it's harder if you're stupid. - John Wayne

    by gilacliff on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 12:42:57 PM PDT

  •  Memories of preschool and kindergarten (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I remember preschool a little bit. I think it was held at the park, in some sort of recreation facility. I remember the teacher, Mrs. Wanseidler, in part because her own kids were teenagers, and they babysat for me and my big brother, and for my little sister when she came along.

    I started kindergarten in January or February 1968. I hadn't turned 5 until December 1967, so I couldn't start in September. The teacher was Mrs. Ayres, and she had no idea that I could read. Mom says that Mrs. Ayres' philosophy was that kids shouldn't go to school until they were 7 or 8. Why she was teaching kindergarten is unfathomable.

    In September 1968 they put me into a mixed K + first grade class with Mrs. Marx, and after that I went on to second grade with Ms. Kimmel. I used to say that I had skipped half a grade.

    I disliked my third grade teacher, Mr. Esban, hated my fourth grade teacher, Ms. Chitjian, loved my fifth grade teacher, Ms. Forsch, and was mostly indifferent to my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Ressler. But except for Ms. Chitjian, I still grew attached to them all. OMG I can't believe I remember ALL of their names. I may have messed up the spellling on a couple of them.

    Human dignity + compassion = peace.

    by DreamyAJ on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 01:00:43 PM PDT

  •  My first memory of school... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johanus being dragged kicking and screaming to kindergarten.  That's not hyperbole - I was literally kicking and screaming.  That's not metaphorically literally either - I was literally literally kicking and screaming.

    That school had some damn hard floors, but some damn good acoustics...

    When you punch enough holes through steerage, the first-class cabins sink with the rest of the ship.

    by Roddy McCorley on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 01:05:23 PM PDT

  •  My earliest memory of schools (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in my old country, Vietnam.

    I did not have either pre-school nor kindergarten. I was told I did go to some sort of pre-school for a short while.

    So, school pretty much started at first grade.  The elementary school was not too far from home so I walked to school every day.

    A class room in Vietnam was not used just for one class, but for four different classes: one from 7AM-11AM, one from 11AM-3PM, one from 3PM-7PM, and the night class starting at 7PM was for adult literacy.   Each of the class had about 60 students on the average.

    The students in the classes from 11AM-3PM were eachgiven a piece of bread and cheese from USAID.

    The first three years were pretty much uneventful so I have no memory of those.  In the fourth grade, I had to lie down in the front of the class and was beaten with a long stick once, not exactly sure why, either for talking in class or for not remembering my lessons.  [We were supposed to memorize everything we were told to read each day and recite it to the teacher if asked.]

    The fifth grade was a nightmare.  Thinking back on it, I'm pretty sure the teacher was sadistic since she seemed to take a delight in inflicting pain on the kids.  Since I was one of the top students in the class, I was assigned the task of leading one of the five groups in my class.  My duty was to make sure that all of the 11 students in my group memorize their lessons for the day.  I had to check this before the class started.  If any of them did not remember their lessons and I did not report them to the teacher then when they got caught for not remembering their lessons, I would be beaten with a stick as well.

    Obviously, there was not enough time before the class started for me to check on all 11 kids to see if they really remembered their lessons.  Besides, for the lazy ones who don't memorize the lessons, they would not come to school early so I could check and report them.

    So I ended up getting beaten on my palms with a big stick a lot, probably every week, for no fault of my own.  I can tell you that getting hit on your bony palms with a hard wooden stick hurts a lot more than getting hit on your soft flesh butt.  I can remember the glint in the eyes and the sneer on the face of the teacher.  That's why I think she took a delight in inflicting pain on little kids.

    BTW, that's why I think those who complain about  public schools in the US are just big whiners.  If you think schools in the US are bad then you haven't seen nothing yet.

  •  First memory? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueMajority, otto, Cliss

    My father dropping me off at school during kindergarten at ~6:30am because he had an business meeting in another city to drive to.

    The doors were locked and no one was anywhere.  A custodian found me sitting on the steps crying about a 1/2 hour later.

    But, also the same year, my father sold the most candy for a school fundraiser, resulting me in winning a prize: a battery operated  A.M. transistor radio! :)

  •  my first memory is the phonics chart (1+ / 0-)
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    and a picture of a fan

    i already knew how to read when I got to school, but I loved that phonics chart and the letters and pictures.



    i have looked all over the internet for that chart in vintage posters but so far nothing.

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
    I am a volunteer for Bob Massie for MA-Sen

    by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 02:20:38 PM PDT

  •  First memory is an assembly... (1+ / 0-)
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    kait celebrate the new stage curtain in the auditorium...made of a new, fireproof material...asbestos!!!

  •  My first memory of school in the USA was (1+ / 0-)
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    thinking what a baby another kid was being by throwing a hissy fit while my mother and I were standing in line that first day in 1956 at St. Edward's in north Philadelphia. But truth be known I was a veteran at the school thing by that time. For a year or two prior I had attended school while my father was stationed in England. I was 4 to 5 at that time. The two things I remember about England are walking to school in the thick fog and the rice pudding served with a dollop of jam. I can not get rice pudding past my lips to this day. Interestingly, the walk to and from school was done with neither adult supervision nor the watchful eye of my sister who was 6-7 years old. How times have changed.

    Depressions may bring people closer to the church but so do funerals - Clarence Darrow

    by nomorerepukes on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 04:15:08 PM PDT

  •  I remember my very first day in Kindergarten (1+ / 0-)
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    and specifically two things:

    1) I was scared. Not because it was the first day of school and not having mom around, but because so many kids in the class were screaming and crying as their moms left them there. It made me think "What are they worried about that I'm missing"?

    2) I remember it being a rainy day. And, the teacher made us all take off our rubbers (we called them rubbers, not galoshes) and neatly line them up in this really big closet. At the end of the day, we all ran for our rubbers, and chaos ensued - they all looked the same, and I went home wearing two different ones on my feet, neither one of them mine.

  •  I remember writing the date "1979" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on my paper in the first grade.

    My life is defined not by religion and ritual, but by attitude and action.

    by World Citizen on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 06:21:34 PM PDT

  •  First Grade Catholic School (1+ / 0-)
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    hurried home mother and uncle sitting at the dining room table...threw my copybook down on the table and asked "Who signed me up for this??"  Found out it was my mother.  Never really trusted her after that.

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