Good evening. Ya'll come on in the 'Net Porch and have a seat and have cold Coke with us. It has been a hot, hot day and the humidity is terrible. It rained all around us last night and we had storm warnings all around us but we didn't get a drop. Sooo, today we had to water our yard today or loose our new grass and shrubs. I love the way it begins to turn green and perk right up when you water it. Nothing takes the place of rain though for the sprinkler doesn't give you that great fresh smell. Maybe it won't be too many days before it rains.
I was sitting here thinking about last Saturday night when we were home in Camden, AL and were attending my high school class reunion. The dictionary says that a reunion is the reuniting of members of the group who have been separated. Ours was the reuniting of a class from a small town, small school and the largest class which had graduated from Wilcox County High School. It has been 50 years since we walked down the aisle of the auditorium and received our diplomas and then went out the doors shouting "Whoopee." We thought we were going to conquer the world, be rich and famous and be remembered by all who came after us. Wow, what big dreams.
We were the Baby Boomers and were about 50 strong. Classes usually ran about 30 and then we came along. Now that I am a retired teacher/librarian, I know the teachers loved to see our class coming up to their grade. Remember these teachers did not have computers, copying machines, para-professionals or more than one class in a grade. 50, give or take a few, children would be a little scary. What do you do with 50, wiggling, active, talkative children? I do know that several, traditional field trips out of town were canceled and I don't blame the teachers one bit.
As many of us sat together last weekend I thought about how influential our teachers had been on my life. Most of what I am is due to their caring and teaching. They not only taught us how to read,write and do arithmetic but how to enjoy learning and also have a good time at school. It's hard for teachers today to have fun when they are teaching for all the curriculum, standards, testing and other stringent guidelines. Trying to reach all these goals makes teaching hard work but it is difficult having time to have fun. I'm glad I went to school in the olden days.
As Joanne read the history of our class great memories formed wonderful pictures in my mind's eye. First grade had the Tom Thumb Wedding in which I was the bride and Harry was the groom. I think I was chosen the bride for mama could make a wedding dress that would fit an undernourished looking 6 year old and it would be lovely. We also did the play "Hansel and Gretel" and I was Gretel probably for the same reason. Mama could make a pretty costume plus I was very little and could fit in the cardboard oven. Come to think of it Larry, who played Hansel was also kinda small. Sometimes it pays to be scrawny and have a mama who could sew beautifully.
Our teacher in the first grade was one of most, favorite teachers - Miss Elise. She taught me how to READ and that was wonderful for now I didn't have to wait until daddy read the "funny papers" to me on Sunday but could read them all by myself. She also taught me to not like math for she didn't. She taught it well but it sure wasn't fun. She wasn't much larger than we were and was like a little whirlwind and we loved her.
None of us remembered the Nursery Rhyme play in the second grade but we remember "Miss Bunny" our teacher with great fondness. She was quite a bit more "laid back" than Miss Elise and I remember she was also taller than Miss Elise, young and pretty.
The third grade was Mrs. Hawthorne with the post office at Valentines. We made the trek down town to visit the Post Office and then took large boxes, shoe boxes, poster board and paints and created a post office. We wrote letters, bought stamps, and operated a "real" post office. Of course we mailed our Valentines at the Post Office and we learned letter writing, how to make cardboard money, and handmade stamps and had lots of fun.
I will try to be brief now but you know me, that is hard to do. The fourth grade brought a new teacher to our school - "Miss Nell Mouchette." To begin with that is not a name we could pronounce or spell but we soon learned and learned to like her immensely. This was also the year I played like I was blind and let my friend Amy lead me around. The sad part is she led me through a metal gate, I ran into the metal support and broke off one of my front teeth.
This was a major disaster. I had a broken tooth, no dentist in town, and I knew daddy was going to have a hissy fit. We had to go to Selma to the dentist, get a cap put on the tooth and listen to daddy talk about how much it cost. To top it off, it happened because I was acting stupidly. Playing blind and letting a classmate lead you around is not too smart.
Fourth grade was also our first year in 4-H and I loved it. I began to learn how to sew and made an apron for my first project. We learned how to wire a lamp and I remember painting a window pane to decorate my room. There was also a talent show that year or the next and I sang a solo. As I look back I know it must have been really bad but at least I tried and I lost. Oh well, I could sew and cook.
Fifth grade was Mrs. Marjorie Moore and she was hard. Thank goodness I liked to read, could spell well and liked geography for these were her favorite activities. I also remember her moving me to the front row because I couldn't be quiet which wasn't my fault for I was sitting by talkative friends. I wasn't me but them, right?
Once a week we had the pastor's wife come to our classroom and tell us a Bible story using the flannel board. We would watch and listen intently while she moved around the Bible characters on the board and told us the story. I wanted to move the characters so badly for it looked like so much fun. Shame we can't do things like this now.
Sixth grade was unusual for they split our class and took about 15 of us and moved us across the hall from the rest. I was not too happy about that for it meant we were separated from our friends for the first time and we were disappointed not to have Miss Laura for our teacher. She was a fun teacher and we had been looking forward to having her for a teacher.
I think the biggest step for us was we had to move from the elementary side of the school to the high school hall. This meant we saw the high school students and had to walk up a whole bunch of steps to our classroom. It was rather intimidating but being a small school in a small town we knew all the big kids anyway and our teachers tried to protect us from the big, bad high school students. I really don't remember much about the 6th grade but I am sure "Miss Rosa" taught us well.
Guess I will have to leave junior high and high school for another day for I know I have talked your ears off. I loved school for it meant having friends around me for I was raised in the country, learning was fun for me, and it brought some adventure into my life. I could read about far away places, learn about many kinds of people and dream of visiting these places and meeting these people some day.
That's about it for today and ya'll come back to see me soon. Loved talking with you even though it may have been a little boring for you but I enjoyed the walk down "Memory Lane."
The Georgia Peach