Elementary School Memories

Inspired first by Are We There Yet? who got it from Mac and Cheese, who got it from the Wii inspired Mama Tulip, here are some of my elementary school memories:

  • The bathroom was right in our first grade classroom, and the signal that you had to “go” versus knowing the answer to a question, was to raise one finger. One day I dutifully raised my index finger, and kept it raised, and raised….until finally I peed on the floor. It was winter and I kept hoping everyone would mistake it for melting snow from my boots…Of course my adult self wonders why the heck I didn’t just get up and go to the bathroom.
  • Thinking I had to have a boyfriend since I was now in first grade, I chose the cutest kid in the class, unbeknownst to him, of course. Ken and I graduated from the town high school 11 years later and he was never the wiser. Actually, I had pretty good taste as first grader as he turned into a fine young man. I presume a fine middle aged man by now!
  • Our recess area was a small patch with swings, and the teachers’ parking lot. In second grade I had moved on from Ken, and was chasing Timmy around that parking lot threatening to kiss him when I caught him. Thank goodness that never happened because I’m honestly not sure what the heck I would have actually done had I caught him.
  • During the winter we were expressly forbidden from playing on the snow mounds created by the plows at the edge of that parking lot. One day my rogue friend convinced me to climb on them with her and I was mortified to be caught and sent in from recess early!!
  • Balling up the wrapper from my straw and stuffing it up my nose was a daily event. Until the day I couldn’t get it out again. The next morning I got a surprise when I blew my nose. That never happened again.
  • Miss Michaelman was my second grade teacher who I adored. I remember more about the actual lessons in her class than in any other since. She was also the first Jewish person I ever knew, and she taught us all about Hanukkah in December, which at the time was incredibly progressive (and probably brave).
  • Climbing the rope in the gym, and pausing for just a tad too long on the way up…..it felt so good and I didn’t know why.
  • The smell of the first book I ever took out of the school library. It was about water. I loved that smell.
  • Being given an assignment to define various terms such as “sister”, “friend”, “mother” “love”, etc. I raised my hand to define friend (the example for the class before we wrote our answers privately) and said “someone you like who likes you back” and being both disappointed and indignant when the teacher (the afore mentioned adored Miss Michaelman) said coolly, “That’s one definition,” because I was absolutely convinced that was the one and only right answer.  (my definition for sister was “someone who sometimes you love and sometimes you hate”)
  • Mrs. Leland, a scary teacher who wore all black every single day. She may or may not have been a widow.  Fortunately my only interactions with her were when she had lunchroom or hallway duty.
  • In fourth grade my teacher was telling a story about how when she was our age she had to wear braces on her legs, and how ugly the shoes were she had to wear. In order to illustrate this more clearly for the class, she pointed to my shoes as the example of how they looked. To her credit, she suddenly realized what a faux pas that was and tried to cover it up. But, damage done.
  • Sneaking sugar cubes from the igloo display at the third grade library. We’d have to line up along the bookcase in the middle to head back to class, which was where the winter scene was displayed. I would pry off a sugar cube and pop into my mouth. The glue didn’t bother me a bit.
  • Playing the role of Linus in our class play, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”….ever after our family used to sing the line from the song “Happiness Is” every time we came home from vacation – “And happiness is coming home again.”  I still get tears when I hear (or think) that.
  • Being big enough to ride my bike to school, with my bike lock key on a yarn necklace around my neck.
  • Finally learning to like pizza.
  • Chinese jump rope. Making those foldy paper things with the questions and answers in them (anyone know what I’m talking about?). Cooties and Cootie Spray. Partridge Family lunch boxes.

ETA: I found a link with directions on making those foldy paper things, which this site calls Origami Fortune Tellers, aka Cootie Catchers.  Ah, nostalgia!

3 responses to “Elementary School Memories

  1. Yes, I know the foldy things with the questions!! And the Chinese jumprope……and I could never do double-dutch with the regular jump ropes!


  2. Ah, yes, the foldy things. We used those to determine who liked who. That’s quite the memory bank you have there!

  3. “The smell of the first book I ever took out of the school library.”


    I actually stole that book from my school library and you know what? It still smells the same.

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