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Back to School Memories

By Marilyn (

Everyone has memories of their school days. They may be good memories or they may be not so good memories. School children can be cruel in their comments to each other.

I attended a one-room school in a rural area of West Virginia. There were very few pupils and many of the families were poor. Those were the days before food stamps. However, the county had a free school lunch program so every child got a hot meal. In the wintertime we might get a bowl of hot beef-vegetable soup and a cheese sandwich. Or we might have hash. A truck would arrive with the containers of food but I don't remember how it was heated.

I remember a lot about my school years. After sixth grade, I rode a school bus fourteen miles to a big junior high. Since I had spent six years in a one-room school, I was lost in the large buildings, and I was accustomed to having just one teacher, not five or six. I was shy but I decided to join the band and it was there that I found some friends.

Now that you've read about some of my schoolday memories, how about sharing some of yours? Send me a poem or some prose. We look forward to your entry.

LaraOct7. (

First Day of School

By Sharon (

First day of school the little girl thought
I wonder just what I shall be taught
Oh look at the cute boy over there
Will he notice the bow in my hair

First day of school the little girl smiles
Turning on all her sweet little wiles
She smiles hoping to find a new friend
Wonders if she is dressed in the trend

Back to School Days

By Amy (

walking to school kickin the can
my shoe went on the roof and i ran
all the way home
snuck in the door
went up the stairs oh what for ?

to get a new pair
i was scared
i got away with that stunt
never again will i punt

off i went to my school
to learn a lot about the golden rule
to learn some math
follow the right path

to make some friends
i will have til the end
to study hard
home to work in the yard

the schools are so hard now a days
i feel for the kids and their new ways
everything is digital
nothing seems original

smart they are
some are a star
but i fear they miss a lot
their brains are working their bodies are not

video games are the rage
i feel the kids nowaday are in a cage
of wires and wii
oh gosh oh gee

get out side and play and run
go jump rope now that was fun
go skip down the street
that used to be neat

how times have changed i guess i m old
but stories and poems i have told
to my grands
who will live through sifting sands

Back to School Memories

By Mikey (

I started school in Flint at the Durant Elementary School at age 5. The school is still there but renamed Durant-Tuuri-Mott and is for "special" students. My kindergarten room was huge, containing a slide, sandboxes, and a lot of teaching tools. We had to take a rug with us to school for our nap on the floor. I remember so well getting up from our dinner table, walking up to the school which was only 2 blocks from where we lived. The school was locked so I turned around and came home, asked my mother why was it locked? She told me I had already been to school that day and was really surprised that I had walked up there by myself. Had to cross a busy street! But, I never pulled that again, her orders!

At age 6 we moved to another part of Flint where I attended the second grade. Seems I had skipped the first grade entirely. Got out of school one day and couldn't find my brother who was supposed to walk me home. I went into a neighborhood store, told them I was lost but that I lived on Saginaw Street behind a fruit store. The store was my dad's. A lady asked me if I could count blocks, I pretended not to be able to do that so she kindly put me in her car and drove me the four blocks to my house. Even gave me a stick of gum. These memories are so vivid it is as if it was yesterday. A few years later we moved again, I attended a 3 room school about 5 blocks from our house. I got to play in the "Bird Band" there. Blew a whistle with water in it, it tweeted like a bird. How proud I was. When I entered the 4th. grade I went to the big school which was also 5 blocks away but in the opposite direction. Graduated from there in 1949 and just went to my 60th. High School Reunion last month. Ah, those were the days my friend.

Start of School

By Cottage Lady (

Pressed and pleated navy blue wool uniforms,
with white detachable collars for starching and laundering,
scrubbed and shampooed with bows in their hair,
polished Mary Jane shoes,

the smell of new school supplies,
sharpened pencils and erasers,
ruled black and white notebooks,
easy to carry book bags,

lunch boxes packed carefully
with thermos of milk,
peanut butter and jelly sandwich,
apple and cookie, the same lunch every day.

Memories fall into place one by one
Like beads of the rosary.

Early Images

By Cottage Lady (

Some early images remain
fixed in the brain…
the first grade classroom
with old fashioned desks,
front and back blackboards,
one proclaiming “Order is Heaven’s First Law,”
and the other “Cleanliness is Next to Godliness.”
The small dimly lit chapel
with multi-hued stained glass windows,
dark mahogany pews,
red velvet pre-dieus,
the secret confessional,
a crisply pressed and starched
white linen draping the marble altar
with the glass front beneath
and within the body and waxen image of
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini,
founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart,
nuns kneeling in supplication in front of her tomb
in the deeply profound silence of the small room.

School Daze

By Doris (

Going to Parochial School in Brooklyn, NY was an experience that I will never forget. I only had to walk two city blocks to school, which was a large imposing building with marble floors, comparable to an office building of today.

In those days the nuns always wore long black habits, black veils, large white half-moon type bibs and tall white crown type 'hats' under their veils. They were intimidating to this tiny 5 year old who came from a poor family of 8 children.

Each school day started with the 8 o'clock mass in the church across the street. A beautiful gothic edifice from which we marched in line to school silently, and in separate doors on either side of the front of the school. One for boys, and one for girls. Yet we were in class together - though as far apart in rows as possible. There were 65 - 13 year olds in my 8th grade graduating class. We were taught all day by one nun. The littlest girls sat three in double seats.

The clothes I wore were hand-me-downs from three older sisters, and my shoes were always brown oxfords, as they were called. Everything very practical. I can remember a few times having to put folded cardboard inside my shoes to keep rain water from getting inside the worn sole and soaking my socks.

The nuns were very strict about deportment and most infractions of the rules were treated with corporal punishment - and I had my share of it a few times. Most parents, in those days, left it up to the nuns and never interfered with their rules. Personally, I believe, they intimated the parents, too :)

We were taught from 9 to 3 every day...from Kindergarten to eighth grade. There was recess in Kindergarten, but from 1st to 8th grade there was only a lunch break - for which we were allowed to go home if we lived close by - and most of us did. We had less than 45 minutes to get home, eat our lunch and get back for class.

On the plus side - I received a good education, and learned how to conduct myself with those in authority. To this day a policeman can intimidate me - and my grandson-in-law is a NYCity policeman - but he's a softy with us. :)

I will comment on two nuns. Sr. Miriam Imelda, Kindergarten, and Sr. St. Francis, 6th grade. Both dear women who loved teaching and treated their students with respect. We ALL loved them both and there were never problems in those classes.

I could go on and on, but some of the memories are best left unsaid. They were different times - some difficult times, the 1940's and early 1950's - and everyone lived them as best as they could.

Dear Old Albert Lange

By Phyllis Ann (

Grade school was a challenge in the forties and fifties for me.
I went to a two-story brick school in the city, and most of the time with glee.

School was something that you didn't question; you just did.
Walking in the weather, either hot or cold, just a kid.

Bathrooms in the basement, an attendant on duty.
Skinned knees, throwing up, green soap, paper towels, she knew it all but wasn't some cutie.

Library open all year long for young and old alike.
Wonderful books for everyone, and you walked there, no bike.

Big high windows, no air conditioning, radiator heat,
Be good now, and take your seat.

Principal's office was open and ready to receive.
Standing in the hall was a discipline if you didn't perceive.

School plays, recess outside or inside on rain soaked days.
Bomb drills, fire drills, preparedness always pays.

Defense stamps, milk and cracker break once a day.
Walked home for lunch, always tasted good, but had to hurry back come what may.

Dear old Albert Lange, you are no more.
Lots of children remember you from days of yore.

School Days

By Bob (

I know that I had some pretty happy school days, now that I am older and can appreciate them. Most of my grade school time I remember more by various incidents and by happenings than as a continuing overall experience.

Since my father died when I was six years old, my family of mother, two older sisters and two older brothers had to work together to make a living. My mother took on the agency of the Denver Post in our small town of Las Vegas, New Mexico, with my brothers and me delivering papers and my sisters baby-sitting while all of attended school.

We have a college in my home town, and we all eventually graduated from it, except for my oldest sister who left early to teach school and then married and started having children, but who was within a year of graduation. In those days, many girls began teaching after two years of college and going to school summer terms until they got their degrees.

In kindergarten I remember only a couple of instances, both relating to knowing answers to questions the teacher asked and winning little prizes. I remember my first grade teacher and her lessons, particularly in spelling, using phonics and sound to spell, and have always enjoyed spelling because of her.

In the second grade I remember being able to use a game to make words on a small wheel with movable wooden letters, which we were allowed to use when certain lessons were completed. The third grade was notable to me for two things - one was a three-week trip to Chicago where I met several aunts, uncles and cousins, and also missed the introduction to division, which I remember having to make up. The teacher gave me extra time and, as I recall, it didn't take much time to get caught up with the class.

In the fourth grade I remember learning the multiplication tables, which I remember as being very enjoyable. In the fifth grade, I remember some of the reading assignments - in particular Beowulf - and in the sixth grade, we continued the development of all the subjects, and did our first non-academic activity that I can recall, a mothers-made costume dancing of "The Highland Fling".

In the seventh grade (at that time "junior high", we broke into subject matter groups and on occasion were taught by the other teachers in addition to our home room teachers. I was invited to birthday party where I got my first lessons in socializing with girls, and very shyly attempted dancing.

My education continued, but my only other memories of those years is working, having to deliver papers every day before school from age six or so until age fifteen, when my mother lost the paper agency to a returning veteran of the war, and I went to work cooking hamburgers at our local Army Camp Post Exchange. Up untiI I left that job, it was "home at eight-thirty and in bed by nine".

That continued until at age sixteen, a job on the railroad became available where I worked seven days a week from four PM until midnight (there were no days off) until I graduated, working another three months and then joined the Army.

I realize that almost every memory is of school work and classes, but there wasn't much else except delivering papers, cooking hamburgers, and "home at eight-thirty" and in bed by nine". I remember being busy all that time, and there was no such thing as a social life, but in retrospect, I learned a lot, and it certainly could have been worse!

Back to School Memories

By Connie (

For thirteen years, poor we were
Poor as a church house mouse
Living on the second floor
Of an old rooming house ~

At school one day
I was about to see
A girl I had known
Was very cruel to me ~

She looked at my shoes
Said me in front of others
Your shoes are falling apart
..... What an ugly color ! ~

It was then I was to see
How very poor we were
I've never forgotten this
I've never forgotten her ! ~

Elementary School

By Brier (

I went to our back yard and through the hedges, I was on the school grounds. My teachers were the best in those early years, loving and friendly and helpful. Sometimes I think they spoiled me for what was to come.

In first grade Mrs mc donungh held us each in her lap and taught us to print and to write. We made those big push and pulls and ovals too. She taught us each to read Dick and Jane books. She taught us about teaching and caring. In second grade our teacher was young but played ball with us at recess and helped us learn too. In third grade we had another great teacher who even came to our birthday parties. I would not take any thing for those early years, they were a great foundation.

Later school years were tougher and lonelier. Those years I walked a mile to school and that long mile home again. Life had changed, dramatically. My beloved grandmother died and Dad and I moved away from the home that had been ours since he was a child. School and life was never as happy after that. After the years of being known by my teachers and other students I became the skinny ugly duckling, who lived out of town. Kids can be cruel, but not to me. Me, the just ignored me. I never felt so alone in my life as those years in the middle. By high school I made friends with mostly out of town kids, and had friends. Never again would I have the closeness i had in grade school. Some times you cant make things as they were. Those last years in school were tough. Then in the summer of what would be my senior year, I met some one. He asked me to marry him and I said yes. He rescued me from my troubled teens.

Judd Road School Years

By susi Taylor (

I started school at the age of four
When I walked thru that schoolroom door
There were only three grades taught there
K thru 3rd. Mrs. Russell, my teacher with grey hair
I remember skipping school in the third grade
and for that piece of mischief I dearly paid
But we had had rain for nearly a week
and the big hole by Trottiers Store was deep
So I took off my shoes and my red flowered dress
And jumped into the water, boy, was I a mess!
A while later my mom blistered my butt
After she cleaned and bandaged the toe that I cut
Then after a bath, it was right back to school
Where Mrs. Russell smacked my hand with her rule
I learned a lesson that I never forgot
If I would ever skip school again, I'd better not get caught
The old school still stands, only now it's a church
Glad it wasn't torn down and my memories besmirched
"Cause I have so many of that school back there in my past
Thru school years, college years, thru life, the memories last

School Daze

By Swampetta (

I started Kindergarten just up the street in a public school one block away. I had Miss Best but somewhere in there she said her name was now Mrs. Fortunis.(Never could figure that out.)

1st Grade...same school but the teacher kept her name the same. She was OLD! I mean like my Grandma, that kind of old. I think she may have been a little deaf too. For her sake, I hope she was!

2nd Grade...I was hot stuff! I could walk to school by my self. (The fact that my Mom could watch me from my porch shouldn't count.)

3rd Grade....What's a Cat Lick school? My Grandma Ryan said I should be going to St. Joseph's on the other side of town. No uniforms there but I found myself having to pray AND say the pledge of allegiance.

Got to walk more than I wanted to. My cousins Leo and Terry went there but they lived right around the corner from it. I found out about First Communion and I really liked the idea of having a white dress and veil and shoes and socks! The religion part was a bit vague, but I had a party and that was good!

4th Grade and part of 5th Grade...Still St. Joe's but I heard that there were going to be uniforms for the next year. We moved to Elizabeth so I started out in

5th Grade and 6th Grade...Immaculate Conception. Another Catholic school but very different from St Joe's. They had uniforms and they were ugly ones. Mine was hot prickly navy blue wool but the other girls had the navy blue serge ones. That was the one that was ordered for me...the winter one.

All eight grades were on the first floor with 2 grades to a room. Had Sister Rose Carmel and she was a sweet patient dumpling of a woman. The only way you knew she was a bit put off by your behavior was she would stand in the aisle next to your desk and tap on it with her finger. She never yelled or even raised her voice. The tap-tap-tap was like the voice of God. Whatever it STOPPED!

7th Grade...move across the hall and get Sister Therese. One of the meanest nastiest women who ever lived. She became a nun because Hitler wasn't hiring. Day one in her class showed me what was coming.

I had a 13 letter last name, very Germanic but not difficult to pronounce. Except..she DID! I said "No Sister, that's not how you say it,," and the gates of hell opened!!!! When she wasn't running Johnnie Matthews head into the black board,,(He had a very hard head but I often wonder what became of him?) She was calling on me with the name pronounced HER way. At first I tried not responding. Then she stood over me and screamed in my ear.

Adolescent hormones in females are very tricky. I went home from school one day and told my Mom that I would not go back. If she took me back and put me in the front door, I would run out the back door and go live with Gypsies. I had a fiesta of sobbing and honking and sighing. When Mom took me back to the school to discuss things with Sister Therese, she got an earful, None of which she believed.

Transfer papers in hand, I went to Alexander Hamilton Junior High. Right around the corner from where I lived.

7th-8th and 9th GRADES!!! WOO-HOO! No uniforms! And I actually got to go to different classrooms just like in the Archie Comic Books! Although this wasn't High School, I felt very adult. Miss Carter was my homeroom teacher for 9th Grade and also English. Old bat with microscopic eyesight. Because my last name stated with a "V" is was in the back of the room with Joanne Zottarelli and George Wolf and a Zimmerman or two. After being caught drawing cartoons of the principal and playing poker we were scattered towards the front. I got a desk right next to her desk. Good place though. She always stood in front of her desk when she was teaching so she was usually in BACK of me. I learned to sleep with my eyes open.

10th Grade part one....Thomas Edison Vocational Beautician....I liked the hair stuff but when I found out that I would also have to take the other stuff,,Math, English, Social Studies,,,etc, I asked to be placed in the regular high school

10th grade part two...Battin High School. GIRLS ONLY! So much for Archie and Betty and Veronica.

I didn't make it to grade 11 but repeated 10th. Until the day I turned 16 and threatened my parents that if they didn't let me drop out I would do something that would get me expelled. (I didn't know what but they thought I was serious.) I got so bored when all my friends were going to school that by the end of that summer , I went back!

10th Grade part three,,,stuck with it for three months and remembered why I hated school. Went to Franklin Beauty School for the winter and spring. Here came summer and I did it again...

At the age of 32...I got a G.E.D. and shortly after that a divorce and then I went to Nursing School. That was one I completed, In my 34th year....I was finally awarded a real diploma!


By Emiliano (

Deep anxiety flares
between teachers and students
it's back to school time.

Back to School Memories

By Tom (

First grade was in the old wooden building at Montvale High School. It was two rooms, heated by warm morning heaters, coal no less. Each room had a small cloak room and there was a center entry. There were two outhouses close by, boys and girls but the brick building had all the modern facilities. There were thirty some of us and we sat at tables. The outhouses were torn down so we had to run about a hundred yards or more to the brick building to go and to get lunch.

Grade school students came from seven to ten mile radius and the high school students were fed to Montvale from two other grade schools, (1-7). If you lived less than two or four miles from the school you walked; I was lucky I lived in the village which was up the hill, like a half mile away. No, I did not have to walk five miles or any of that; but a lot of the students who lived on either Porter’s or Taylor’s Mountain had to walk five or six miles to catch the bus. All of the roads except for the main highway were gravel ones. The school busses all had two routes, they would go pick up Goose Creek, the two mountains, drop them off then run another route. Those students had a long day arriving at school an hour to an hour and a half before school and not starting home for an hour or an hour and a half after school. What always fascinated me was those who lived far away and had to walk so far to catch the bus never missed school unless the bus did not run; whereas we locals could dream up reasons not to.

We had a kitchen. The brick building had an auditorium/basketball court/lunch room which was the center of the building. Me I did not like their food so I brought my lunch. Matter of fact I did that all through grade school, high school and college; matter of fact all my working life I toted my brown bag. It was my choice.

I was the first group to have twelve grades so there was no student’s one grade ahead of us. I wanted to go to Roanoke to their big high school and graduate a year or two years early, but the parents said no, since my sister was in college.

School was a waste of time except for a couple teachers. I would read the book then when test time came I just wrote what the author said or closed my eyes and copied whatever they wanted. It was no challenge so I was always into something.

I played every sport, was in all the clubs and always took the part of some idiot or clown in all the school plays. I held no class offices but found I could run things and get what I wanted by not holding office. I never cheated, it was a personal thing to me, but I helped others and since I read everything, I would make book reports for everyone, and then make up a book to write my report on.

Like my two sisters before me, I graduated second in the class. But wowie!!!!!!! When I began to take college courses later, I found I was the dumbest person in the world, I knew nothing, nada, zilch so I spent a lot of years trying to catch up.

I was known as the class clown, a troublemaker and infamous for asking teachers questions/posing problems they could not answer.


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