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Back to School Memories

By Diana Mercedes Howell (

I walked to school in first grade
Then rode my bicycle
And when it rained
The Weslows came
And picked me up
We piled in
With windows steaming
Excited by Rainy Day Session

Released 1/2 hour early
Because of weather,
We prayed for rain
But always got
More of same -
Sunny days and sunny days

Notre Dame Nuns and lay ones
Teachers, that is,
Punished any 'foolers'
I don't remember rulers
But I do recall
The Principal's office
And the terrifying feeling
Of being sent there
Though I never was...

I remember four square
And dodge ball
Donuts and hot chocolate
In the Church Hall
After Mass during Lent.
I remember Girls Scouts
And Mrs. Mabie
Our pack leader,
Who was maybe the nuttiest
And most delightful Mom
In all of St. Lucy's School

She drove us everywhere
In her Mercury station wagon
Oh, delightful trips those were
Singing songs in the back
We could be silly and act out -
She never scolded.

I remember David Smith
My first crush
Greg Snyder
And Patty Matthews
In the seventh grade
We four snuck into
The Church confessionals
To 'make-out'
Mostly we giggled
While our hearts pounded.

Father Kennelly rounded it out
Our Pastor with an Irish Setter
Named Patrick, always at his side
Except during Mass, of course.
Sister Mary Florence was principal
I somehow reconnected with her
In my late forties and wondered
Why I was ever so frightened
Of this diminutive little munchkin
With the kindly manner.

Everything seems smaller when
When you return as a grown up.

Back to School

By Norma (

The last weeks of August were trying for me and my children each year. The children were so restless, tired of summer and squabbling. So I’m sure I was a pain for my mother, too. We didn’t know we were poor in the depression, and actually we weren’t since Daddy was never without a job. Still it was tradition in my family to get winter clothes in August (we always started school the day after Labor Day) and a couple of cool things in the spring. So, Mother made my clothes and the material was for winter. Corduroy, wool, etc. I wore skirts and sweaters - I usually had two each. It’s been a long, long time since those days for me, so my memory is sparse. I remember a navy blue corduroy skirt and vest one time, a yellow cotton print blouse with a little zipper at the neck, a plaid wool skirt, cardigan sweaters that we wore backward to look like sloppy joes (that was the name of the style). And I got my shoes! Heavy oxfords or slip ons with flaps.

On the day before school! I was an only child until I was 9, so going to school made me self-important. I was one of those who wanted to get back. I had my book satchel, a Big Chief tablet and No 2 pencils. We had a fee for each subject, so the rest of the school supplies were bought by the teacher. Every year I wanted to start out clean. Mother would put clean sheets on the bed, wash and roll my hair (in rags), I would have a bath and wear clean pajamas that night. To have everything clean at the same time was a ritual. If it was possible at all, every little girl and boy had a new outfit for the first day. On Tuesday morning - off to school in my wool skirt, home made shirt and sweater. The wool would scratch, the shoes would pinch, and in El Paso, you bet September was hot! It wasn’t long before I had a tear that needed mended, the shoes would be scuffed in spite of Dyanshine(sp). My knees were always in a state of disrepair due to gravel on the grounds. I was a one of those children every teacher hates. I squirmed in my seat and my hand was always the first one up with the answer whether I knew it or not! We walked to school in neighborhood gangs (actually “groups” no gangs as we know them today). The weather finally caught up with the clothes which were worn until we got Easter clothes and dress shoes that looked like everyday shoes for me. When they got a little short they went into service for every day. First thing in the morning was gathering around the flagpole to say the Pledge of Allegiance and pray, then go in. Sometimes the music teacher would have someone sing a patriotic solo. In the early years we had the same room all day. Later on when we got “big” we got to go through the halls to different classes - what a thrill! We had arrived.

We chanted about the teachers - made silly poems with their names, but we were in awe of them. Those were the days of corporal punishment. We thought our teachers were so old!

Aside from school, I lived so close to Fort Bliss and Biggs Field we heard Taps and Reville every day.

El Paso had not grown up the side of the mountain when I lived there - it was nestled into the mountains, and each high school had a club that painted a huge letter on the side of the mountain and when we had football games, the boys would climb the mountain and light the letter with fires - a beautiful sight. Ours was a big letter “A” and someone told me it is still there.

School Days

By Tom (

School days, school days, golden rule days,
Reading, writing and rithmatic . . .
Being a hick, living in the sticks,
we started school at age seven.

No kindergarten or preschool for us,
new shirt and jeans, new shoes too,
that is how we started the fall school season,
shoes had to last until school year was over.

Good teachers, fair teachers and some really bad ones too,
teach the basics, fundamentals and rudiments
in a simple fashion,
but we got to go to the library.

States that ajoin Canada,
ones that border the Atlantic and Pacific,
ones that border the Mississippi
and the leftover interior ones.

Memorize the preamble to the Constitution,
learn the bill of rights and the Presidents.
History of Virginia and of the county,
heck we were still fighting the Civil War.

School days, school days . . .
fifty-six years ago, I graduated.
Over the years, vehemence has subsided,
some of the teachers, I know smile at.

Segregation was in full force,
that was the law of our state,
there was no debate,
but we learned a lot, horse sense and life!


Welcome September (several authors)

It's Never Too Late

As Time Goes On

Haiku: Rainy Morning

Everyday Friends

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