Thursday, September 04, 2008

What They Taught Me in Kindergarten -- and Beyond

First day of school here.

School? Some memories of my own, of school long ago and far away, in Stamford, Connecticut, and beyond:

1. The fear of being bullied by Dennis F. and his moo-ha-ha-ha sadistic laugh.

2. Enjoying recess as the high point of the day.

3. Never doing homework upon first getting home. Instead, changing into play clothes and playing outside. Doing the homework at night and then, if possible, being free to watch "The Dick Van Dyke Show" or "Andy Griffith."

4. Pining for Louise L., whom I spied at the wind-up pencil sharpener in 4th grade.

5. Anxiety doing long division.

6. Worse anxiety doing math word problems, and the tension in the kitchen as my parents tried to help.

7. Mrs. Rivers's shouting into our faces "know it now" or "bear that in mind" as she drilled us on grammar in 7th grade. (The term serial comma never came up, and I don't remember her position on the serial comma, but she was probably the best teacher I ever had, at least in sheer efficacy, but not the most cherished [that would be Father Giuliani].)

8. Diagraming sentences on the blackboard in Mrs. Rivers's class.

9. Saying the "Hail Mary" in French in Father Methe's class in high school.

10. The panic of trying to get to class after gym, after fiddling with the combination lock on the gym basket, hair dripping wet, in 3 minutes. (Try diagraming that sentence!)

11. Learning Latin in 9th grade, taught by Mrs. Nell Herndon (who had a very cool new Thunderbird) in a Texas drawl.

12. Boys' and girls' separate entrances at Burdick Junior High School (now replaced with condos, I think).


Ralph said...

Were these anxieties endemic to Fairfield County?

Mrs. Rivers sounding like a serial killer instead of comma!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I am jade green with envy for #11.

Just so you know.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore