I’ve been walking our two younger dogs – Tori (who is mine) and Nola – lately around the block nightly. Since my parents have not moved in the 30+ years since I attended elementary school, we still live around the corner from the elementary school my brother and I attended. My nightly walk with the girls takes me around by the school and every night I am flooded with memories of my years there.
A new building covers the play area where there were two sets of monkey bars. One had rounded bars and the other had square kinda like the photo I managed to find. Between the two was a balance beam that was probably 28″ off the ground. Not sure what grade I was in, but I remember slipping in some mud one time that surrounded the balance beam after a rainy day and being allowed to go home to change pants because we lived right around the corner. There was also a set of pull-up bars off to one side that we used mostly during P.E. but which I would occasionally climb up on top of and sit during recess. I also had a terrible habit of climbing up to the top most rungs of the square monkey bars and standing upright, showing off my balancing skills. Teachers would always have a cow, afraid that I might fall off. Thankfully, I never did.
I remember in P.E. we had to stand on these short lines maybe 18″ long to do our exercises. It was funny to see these little lines that looked like a bunch of dashes in a grid formation ready. I think my favourite day of the school year was always Field Day. A few months ago, I discovered that some schools still have a Field Day when my friend mentioned her son participating in the one at his school. Most of the time we went to a nearby park where there was a proper track to run the races on, but I do remember a few years where Field Day was held at the school. We had tug-o’-war and races of all kinds. I remember getting a few ribbons for my efforts too.
The buildings that housed all of the classrooms were interesting too. When you walked into the building there was a normal sized hallway with four classrooms, two on each side. At the end of the hallway, there was a wider room (about twice as wide as the other hallway) with another four classrooms flanking the sides. The bigger hall area outside the second set of classrooms was used when they wanted us to watch a movie or if it was raining outside during lunch or P.E. Each of the four classrooms at that end of the building also had one accordion style curtain wall that could be pushed open. They often did that on the rainy days where we had to stay inside all day. I remember the water fountains in the classrooms along with a sink nearby and I remember most fondly the long slender a/c-heating unit that was a few feet long and sat under the windows. Nothing like letting ice cold air billow up your tshirt on a hot day. LOL
I loved my teachers. At least most of them. LOL I think by second grade we were changing classes rather than having one teacher for everything. However, by 6th grade, they were trying self-contained classes again. And that was also the first time I got put into any kind of accelerated learning environment. I don’t know what criteria they used to determine who would be there, but I know there were only a select few of us because we sat at a table together at the back of the room. Usually the teacher would give us our assignment and leave us to do the work, then she’d go about teaching the rest of the class and come back to us later. The only time I was ever a teacher’s pet in all of my years in school – from first grade through five years of college – was in 5th grade. My homeroom teacher was a woman who also attended the same church my family did so I knew her before I even got to 5th grade. She gave me the “seat of honour” right in the front corner of the classroom facing the door. Anytime someone from the front office called and asked her to send someone to pick up anything, I always went. Kids would inevitably forget and raise their hand to be chosen to go, then suddenly they’d remember it was always me and they’d give up. Funny thing, though, I don’t remember any animosity toward me for being the teacher’s pet.
The only thing I wish the school still had, because I would wholly support it every year, is the Halloween Fun Fair. It was usually held the weekend closest to Halloween and was just a fair with game booths and a haunted house. I would never go through the haunted house, but I think I was in junior high school when I worked in it. That was loads of fun. LOL I remember just one year they had a fair with rides, but only after I’d moved on to another school. I never understood why they did it only once. It’s not like they don’t have the room. The school has two very large size playgrounds that are mostly blacktop. Certainly big enough to accommodate a ferris wheel and other rides.
My elementary years also found me appearing in musicals. In 4th- 6th grades, there was a 6th grade teacher who directed all of the productions and I loved being in all of them. We were even able to “tour” around, performing at other schools in addition to our own. Perhaps if there had been this kind of thing when I was in junior high and high school, I might’ve majored in theatre when I was in college and become an actress. As it is, I was only just in my first production last Spring. All other experience prior to this year was behind the scenes when I was in college. Ah well. Actors are a poor lot anyway.
The one place I would love to revisit within the school if I were allowed to, is the library. I remember it as a tiny room with books on three walls and a free standing bookcase with books on both sides. I remember doing some work in there and if there is anywhere on this planet that had a profound affect on my life, it is that library.