Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Tell us about a school you attended.
Only one? Y'all know me better than that. This post is rather long, so don't feel like you have to read all of it.
The kindergarten section is the shortest.
The second section (1st - 5th) has wisps of really old memories.
The third section (5th - 6th) is probably the 'driest' of the bunch.
The 4th (jr high school) probably shows my writer's 'voice' the best.
The last (high school) is overshadowed by one event that happened my senior year.
DON'T FORGET to let me know in a comment one of your favorite school memories!
The first school I attended was a kindergarten at a local Episcopalian church in Cumberland, MD. Yes, I'm old enough that when I started school, there was no kindergarten in public schools. I believe the classes were held in the basement of the church, and I remember something about a yellow 'graduation gown' and a pin with the school name on it, but that's as far as that goes.
1st - mid-5th grades
The local public grade school was "Johnson Heights Elementary School". From what I remember there was nothing outstanding about the building. Just your everyday brick school with two floors. I remember more from these years, of course. Every year there was some kind of harvest festival with a lot of booths and performances by the children. I remember baking pies with my mother to sell in one of the booths. (Like you could do that these days. Hah! If things don't come shrink-wrapped from the factory, they probably don't let you on school grounds. Of course, in those days it seemed a lot less people were acting on their darker impulses. But I digress.) I remember practicing a dance (the Virginia Reel?) for a performance during 3rd grade, and getting slugged in the stomach by an overeager classmate who was REALLY into his dancing. I remember going to speech therapy because I had trouble saying "r", "l" and "th". I remember my mother turning in a form to get me out of the measles shots on religious grounds. I remember there being a real competition every day tosee who would have the 'honor' of knocking the blackboard erasers outside the building to clean them. I remember my 5th grade class writing stories about my adventures in the "Wild West" before we moved to Salt Lake City in January of 1972.
mid-5th - 6th grades
Fortuna Elementary School in unincorporated Salt Lake County, Utah. We went back to school as soon as my parents started the process to purchase what would become our house. Fortuna was a round building with 2 levels. You could go in on the top side and children went out on the opposite side at the bottom to the playground. (Remember when they still used those?) In the center of the school, there was a 'mid-level' that was accessed by stairs from the bottom or top floors. This center area contained the schools library. The only interior doors were to behind the desk at the administrative offices, the restrooms (of course), the cafeteria, and maybe the janitor's closet. Everything else was open. You could see from the one of the top floor classrooms through the library into another classroom on the opposite side of the school downstairs. It was not as chaotic as you might think. On the ball field one day, I got hit in the eye with a pitched baseball (softball maybe?) and developed a black eye.
7th - 9th grades
Churchill Jr. High School, also in Salt Lake County. It was your typical light brick, 70's, coulda-been-a-prison-instead-of-a-school building. The bullying of younger students by older grades was almost as institutional as the building itself. I was first 'invited' to try marijuana there. I declined. I had my first French class and we all giggled when we saw the vocabulary card by the blackboard eraser. I took my first typing class there. All but two of the typewriters were manual. It was a real treat on the days it was our turn to work on one of the brand-spanking-new IBM Selectric typewriters. You had to hold little pieces of white tape against the paper and strike the relevant key to correct mistakes. The drama teacher would decorate his door for the Christmas season (back when that was allowed) with puppies his dog had had. I really, REALLY wanted one of those puppies. By the time I had convinced my parents that yes, I would take care of the dog, all the puppies were spoken for. I was heart-broken. Literally. I cried right there in school. One of my classmates said her dog had just had puppies and maybe I could come get one of those. Hence, the first "Sneakers" came into our lives. One of the math teachers let my parents know that apparently I had a head for math, which pleased them to no end. I remember hearing the student body president cursing in the hall one day and that made me lose a little respect for him. (I've always been of the opinion that there are times when swearing may be justified, but casual conversation is not one of them.)
10th - 12th grades
Skyline High School, Salt Lake County. There was at least a little architectural interest here. Angles, steel beams, funky roof and windows come to mind. I was chosen to go to "Girl's State", which angered some of my classmates, because they thought they should have gone. I was also chosen to go to a luncheon at the University of Utah, to encourage girls to go into 'scientific' (chemistry, engineering, biology, nursing, medical ... etc.) majors. Again, I tweaked off some classmates (a different group) because they thought they were better and should have been 'honored' instead of me. Whatever! (Talk to the hand.) I was in one play in high school, Eugene O'Neill's "Lazarus Laughed". I played several characters, including Lazarus's mother. There was one scene where the Roman Soldiers killed Lazarus's family. During one rehearsal my murderous soldier missed thrusting the sword in between my torso and upstage arm and beaned me right below the rib cage. Thank goodness the swords were wood and not metal! In any case, I did my best ever 'crumple to the stage like I was dead'. With the resurrection and all, the theme of the play seemed to be, "There is no death". Well, right in the middle of rehearsals, my father had a stroke. A week later he had a heart attack and passed away at the age of 47.