Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Day of School

Morgan and Katelyn Ready for School

Good morning. Ya'll come on in to the 'Net Porch for a glass of tea and some remembering. Want to reminisce today so bear with me and maybe you will remember with me. If so, please use the comment form on the top left of the blog and let me know. I like to have conversation rather just talking to the air.

These are 2 of my great-nieces and I mean GREAT. They are all ready for the first day of the 2009-10 school year in Texas. This is Morgan's first year of kindergarten and I know she has a few butterflies fluttering around in her stomach but her big sister, Katelyn, will be there to help her through the "new" experience. I hope she will enjoy it as much as I did.

I loved school! My brothers enjoyed school also for our parents liked to learn and taught us how important it was. It was also an opportunity for us to have other kids to play with for we lived out in the country and had no real close neighbors. By the time the school year rolled around we had played with each other all we wanted to. Of course we had church activities and friends who visited but for the most part, we just had each other, the farm and our imaginations to keep us occupied.

Back in the olden days school didn't start until the Tuesday after Labor day. It was a day I anticipated and prepared for weeks before. Mama would have been sewing for weeks to make me new dresses, skirts and blouses. She would have gone Liddell's, Weatherbees, and Williams to buy pretty ginghams checks and plaids to make me new outfits. I always wanted to wear them before she washed them and I loved the smell of new cloth and would preen before the mirror while mama plaited my hair or tied it in pony tails thinking I had to be the best dressed girl in my class. Mama was a master seamstress so I could have been.

The shoes would have been purchased from Myers in Selma and most likely were Buster Brown lace up or had a strap. Mama and daddy didn't think loafers were a good bargain so we didn't have them. We would go to Myers and put our feet under a x-ray thing which would show the bones of our feet and tell you which size you needed. We always bought about a half size larger than we needed so we wouldn't outgrow them by Christmas. You would stand up with your new shoes on, mama would press her thumb on the toe of the shoe and if she didn't have a thumb's width at the toe we got the next half size up. We had plenty of room in our shoes to grow. You just laced them up a little tighter or pulled that strap across the instep a notch tighter so they wouldn't slip up and down. I didn't wear them out of the store though for I wanted them to look brand new the first day of school with my new dress.

You remember my brothers didn't have to go through this for the boys in the South didn't wear shoes until the 7th grade. They all went barefoot but in new jeans and knit shirts. The jeans were bought at Southern Wholesale in Selma through Mr. Leatherwood. Can't remember how we got this privilege but it sure helped out when outfitting 3 kids for school.

We would all five make the trek to Selma to buy our school clothes. The boys would get 5 pairs of jeans, 5 knit shirts - long and short sleeves, 5 pair of underwear and undershirts, package of 6 socks. I would get the underwear, cotton of course and sometimes mama could get some material for me. The jeans were always too long and rolled up to last all year. Sam was always difficult to get the right size for he was a skinny little rascal and they would always be too big in the waist and mama would have to put tucks in them or buy the ones with elastic in the back.

I can remember those jeans smelling new and so stiff they would chafe the inside of the legs when you wore them. Mama would wash them to help but back in those days we didn't have clothes softeners so you had to wear them to break them in. They would look so handsome that first day of school with new jeans rolled up, new knit shirt (striped of course), fresh haircuts, thanks to mama or daddy, and their new book satchels. The bare feet would be peeping out the bottom of the jeans with soles as tough as leather.

We would wait anxiously for the big, yellow bus driven by Mrs. Tubberville to appear over the little hill to our left. Hair shining, teeth brushed, clean as whistles, and jumping with excitement we waited impatiently. The bus would almost be full by our time to get on, but someone would always save us a seat. The elementary kids sat up front and the big kids in the back but there was usually no trouble for Mrs. Tubberville was tough. She didn't put up with any foolishness especially if some of the big kids were picking on a little one. She was fiercely protective of her little ones. We all loved her and she also ran our lunchroom. Except for the overcooked cabbage, the food was pretty good.

When we got to school we would run to our classrooms and I mean run unless you were in high school. That would not have been cool. Our teachers would be waiting on us and we would enter that room which smelled of chalk dust, paste, and little bodies. I loved that smell for it meant we were going to learn something. It was exciting, challenging and FUN. Yes we had fun! I will tell you more about that later. We knew our teachers personally and they knew each of us and our parents. If you were "from" there, they also knew your whole family for generations. It was comforting and secure.

It's sad that in some cases this this no longer true. School to us was a magical world of reading, writing and arithmetic with a caring teacher and administration. Sometimes I miss it which is why I became school librarian so I could be a part of the magical world of learning.

So to all you students, enjoy each day of this experience and learn all you can. It can be hard and it can be scary but most new things are until you experience them. Don't be afraid to try all these new experiences even if you don't master it the first, second or third time. How will you learn if you don't try it. Learning opens up great, new worlds and without these new worlds, life will be terrible boring. Just suck it up, get on the big yellow bus and ride to the "new."
Nuff said,
The Georgia Peach
Off they go to the wide world of learning!
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