Nike's Psyche

An outlet for my peaceful ponderings with, perhaps, the occasional rant.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Back to School Friday Five

"My late mother-in-law thought of September as the “real" New Year because of the number of programs and classes starting. By Labor Day, school is back in session for most of us in the U.S., although there is great variation by region (my children don't return until Sept. 7th!). To mark this, we bring you the Back to School Friday Five."

My note: the kids down here returned to school August 8. What a difference!

1. What is your earliest memory of school?

I remember kindergarten at Solomon Peirce Elementary School in Arlington, Massachusetts (1924-2001 and since rebuilt). I remember where a cute olive colored dress that had stick figures on it and things like "1+1=2" and "ABC" in kid scrawl and my teacher thought it was so cute, she took me around to other classrooms to show me off. I was so embarrassed! I remember many other things as well, including eating paste, rubber boots and snow pants under dresses (because girls still couldn't wear pants to school in the early 60s.)

2. Who was a favorite teacher in your early education?

My 4th grade teacher, Muriel Fortes, will always be my favorites. She always felt very strongly that I should "be" who I was, become a writer and call myself "Victoria" instead of "Vicki."

3. What do you remember about school “back then” that is different from what you know about schools now?

We would have never been so disrespectful of our teachers the way kids get away with today; punishment was more severe and often physical. And how come kids don't get milk mid-morning anymore?

4. Did you have to memorize in school? If so, share a poem or song you learned.

In elementary school, we were often memorizing things. My class in 2nd and 3rd grade had to memorize "The Age of Aquarius" one year and "Up, Up and Away (in my beautiful balloon) another to sing to the school. I also had to memorize a poem in 5th grade and I learned "The Destruction of Sennacherib" by Byron.

5. Did you ever get in trouble at school? Were there any embarrassing moments you can share?

My most embarrassing moment was in 2nd grade when I got in trouble for trying to switch lunchboxes with my friend. Before lunch, she decided she'd rather switch back and started pushing my lunchbox forward with her toe. As it was my lunchbox, I got in trouble. I had to stand in the corner, which was next to a shared door with another classroom. It was humiliating enough but then the teacher next door suddenly flung the door open to saying something to my teacher and the door hit me in the back of the head. I never got in trouble again until high school.


  • At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "She always felt very strongly that I should 'be' who I was, become a writer and call myself 'Victoria.'"

    Thank God for teachers who really listen and get to know the student before prodding them along some direction. Rather than pushing the child to be something in the teacher's image, you were encouraged to be who you are. That's cool.


  • At 3:59 PM, Blogger Princess of Everything (and then some) said…

    What an awesome teacher to do that for you at such a young age.

    We all have so much power in a little ones mind don't we?

  • At 6:08 PM, Blogger Cathy said…

    eating paste! I had forgotten about that stuff...always kind of a weird sweet taste!

  • At 8:18 PM, Blogger Songbird said…

    August 8? Wow. Mine start back September 7. That really is quite a difference.
    Thanks for playing!

  • At 8:21 PM, Blogger CSL said…

    Paste, the kindergartener's hors d'oeuvre!

    I'm thankful that punishment has become less severe and physical. My boys have never been hit, by parents or teachers, and yet they manage to be respectful in school.

    Do you remember the teacher tearing open envelope after envelope of weekly milk money? And trudging through the snowy woods to school? And wearing Dad's old shirts for smocks in art? And monkey bars?

  • At 10:47 PM, Blogger revabi said…

    Nope the headwhacking would keep me out of trouble. What a neat teacher you had.

  • At 6:53 AM, Blogger Laura said…

    My earliest memory of school: Lying on a linoleum mat at naptime and trying very hard to be quiet and still.
    A favorite teacher: Miss Sarah Byrd, who looked like the stereotypical teacher: older maiden lady with a bun and sensible shoes, who taught us in innovative, hands-on ways...and this was in 1948!
    School back then: You could depend on the parents being on the side of the teacher! Had I misbehaved at school, punishment would have followed at home.
    In trouble at school? Sometimes I talked too much. I remember being kept after school for FIFTEEN minutes! I was humiliated.

  • At 6:16 PM, Blogger Terrell said…

    When I misbehaved I WAS punished again at home. AND I got a swat on the seat of my pants on the first day of first grade -- for repeatedly pulling the ponytail of a girl who sat in front of me!

    I enjoyed your memories, Victoria. I'll renew my determination to be that kind of teacher for my fourth-graders.

  • At 3:19 PM, Blogger Steele said…

    When I was in 1st grade I stole this girls quarter as a joke but she told on me before I could give it back. At lunch time I had to eat lunch on stage in front of the whole school (we had a multi-purpose auditorium) where they made you eat if you were "in trouble". I think they must have gotten their discipline tactics from the puritans, I'm surprised they didn't make me where a scarlet "T" for theif.


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