Sunday, September 10, 2006

Elementary, My Dear

In her blog, Driftwood Inspiration, Chancy asked, "What do you remember from elementary school? Well, precious little, I'll have to say. I was a crybaby. I do remember that.

I remember my first grade teacher, Mrs. Hagler. She was a very sweet woman and got very upset when she couldn't get me to stop crying. I wept my way through the first four grades. When my mother took me to school, she assured me she'd be there, parked in the very same place as always, waiting for me when school was out. She had to get there early to get that space. But, I'd suffer a major meltdown if I didn't see her car as soon as I got out the school doors. For some reason still a mystery to me, I was convinced that one day, I would leave school and no one would be there to pick me up. It's like the kid who goes home only to find his parents have moved away without him. That joke was never funny to me. Goodness knows why I was so insecure. Maybe because I was an only child, true, or didn't like school, true, or suspected that mother was having way too much fun during the day while I was gone, also true.

Mrs. Hagler taught us all to read. No child got left behind in her room. Nossir. I can remember my parents bragging to their friends that "Betty could read the newspaper by Christmas." Well, big deal, everyone in the class could.

I don't remember much about the rest of my elementary school experience, and I think I blanked everything out because of a traumatic experience in first grade. There was a sixth grade teacher everyone called Ten-Ton-Tunnah. We were all deathly afraid of her. To see her bearing down on you in the hallway was enough to strike terror into our tender little hearts. One day, I raised my hand to be excused to go to the bathroom. When I got out in the hall, about halfway there, I was confronted by Ten-Ton-Tunnah, in full cry, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THE HALL?", she shouted. I turned around and ran faster than I thought I could, back to the classroom. It was ok, though. I didn't have to pee any more.

In about the third or fourth grade, my teacher, Mrs. Whatshername, decided that we would make curtains for the classroom, and there was a contest to see who could draw the best picture of the school. This picture was to be reproduced on the material all across the bottom border of the curtains. We spend a lot of time sitting on the grass outside the school sketching the building. All the pictures were lined up around the blackboard, and numbered. No one's name was shown. Then, we voted on the one we wanted. I won. I couldn't believe it. I had never actually sketched anything before, unlike Sue Ellen, who actually took art lessons. I just thought she would probably win, and I imagine she did, too, but she was very gracious about it. Obviously, there was a lot of "sportsmanship" discussed in her house.

It was about this time that my parents decided to take a day off and go to the races. It was a school day, and they wouldn't be back in time for mother to pick me up after school. So, I was to walk one block, to the home of their friend, Dorothy. The day was just one long anxiety attack for me. What if I walked up the wrong street! I had four choices, and no sense of direction. But, I made it, and Dorothy was standing on her front steps, waiting for me. After that, my tears dried up, and I felt a lot more secure. After all, if mother forgot me one day, I knew the way to Dorothy's house! Free at last.

That's about all I remember about elementary school, except for that unfortunate time when I tried out for cheerleading in the sixth grade, and didn't make it, of course. Chubbettes never became cheerleaders. Wouldn't you know I CAN remember that.

This all sounds familiar. Have I blogged about this before? Oh, well.

P.S. I guess you've noticed I've been doing a little blogsite management, and changed the picture. I thought the new one was more in keeping with my personality. Maxine is my alterego.

14 comments:

F&W said...

I noticed the picture had changed right away! I love Maxine and her bunny-slippers. Do you have bunny-slippers?

What a great post! I think I shall use it as inspiration.

Kell said...

Sooooooo, guess I inherited this ability to cry easily. Hmmmmmmm. Thanks a lot ;p

Great post. I'm learning so much by reading your posts! And I thought I already knew you.

Betty said...

chelle p: I'd love to have some bunny slippers. One of the women who went to Britain with me a couple of years ago had them, and if I could have gotten them into my bag, I'd have brought them home with me.

Kell: I might say the same about you. But, surely you've heard all my stories by now. :-)

saz said...

Great story. My best friend had the same fear about her mother leaving her at school. Her mom used to come back at recess and lunch to play with her. She was determined that her own daughter would not have that fear.

You identify just about all our fears in this post.

Alan G said...

Great story Betty...

I lived right across the street from my grammer school, Rightsell. I have to say that of all the years I spent in school, all my favorite memories are from those six years. I remember all the teacher's names and most of the kid's names that were in my classes. And they served biscuits every now and then for lunch that I can still taste to this day. I have never had a biscuit as good as those.

Jay said...

I remember very, very little from elementary school. And junior high and high school for that matter. I think I've supressed all those years.

Ginnie said...

I enjoyed this, Betty, and you've triggered an elementary school memory of mine. It amazes me how this works.

Newt said...

I remember eating so many peanuts and raisins I got sick. Can't eat them or smell them to this day. Same thing with plums. I remember my first male teacher. And my 1st grade teacher is still a friend of the families. Mrs. Hyple. I remember when they built a stage in the back corner of the playground and put on plays. One of the first was a Star Wars play. And I remember newpaper drives and measuring the piles. And I remember when we moved the principal gave me a bag full of activity books to keep me busy on the drive from California to Michigan. I guess I remember a lot.

Newt said...

I remember eating so many peanuts and raisins I got sick. Can't eat them or smell them to this day. Same thing with plums. I remember my first male teacher. And my 1st grade teacher is still a friend of the families. Mrs. Hyple. I remember when they built a stage in the back corner of the playground and put on plays. One of the first was a Star Wars play. And I remember newpaper drives and measuring the piles. And I remember when we moved the principal gave me a bag full of activity books to keep me busy on the drive from California to Michigan. I guess I remember a lot.

Dogwalkmusings said...

Wow, I remember everything about "grade" school as we called it! But then I loved school.

As for Maxine being your alter ego - get in line lady!

Joy Des Jardins said...

Loved this post Betty. I'm thinking of doing one too. Look what Chancy started. Just thinking about it, I'm surprised I remember as much as I do....from WAY back in the dinasaur days. But, this was fun to read...you are so funny. Thanks.

P.S. Your site looks great. I'm a big Maxine fan too...as you can tell by my site too. Take care...

gawilli said...

One of my fondest memories from elementary school was my third grade teacher, Mrs. Lunger. She stood us all on risers and taught us to sing the Wabash Cannonball, with great verve and gusto! Boy could she make the piano jump. I actually tear up when I hear that song now. Geez.

Thanks for sharing. I do like Maxine, but must admit that I enjoyed being able to put a face with your posts.

Betty said...

gawilli: Thanks for your comment. We have a Wabash factory here, and I get the strangest looks when I joke about all the cannonballs being made. Surely these people have heard of that song! About my photo, for some reason that I can't begin to explain, I was starting to feel "exposed", so I decided to change it. Maybe I'll change it back later.

willi said...

Cannonballs made at the Wabash Factory, what a hoot.

I remember alot from elementary school even though it was a tough time for my family. I enjoyed hearing about your elementary school days. I especially liked the story of you parents going to the races. My dad spent the month of February at Oaklawn and would bring home the betting tickets. I would play card games with them. But not in school.