It is hard for me to believe, but it is “back to school” time once again. Many of the schools around me start sometime this week. If I am not mistaken, we always started school on the day after Labor Day. I think I always looked forward to the beginning of a new school year. A new year brought new teachers, new friends, new opportunities – a fresh start each fall.
With kids heading back to school, I was thinking back to my “first” first day of school which, of course, was more years ago than I would like to admit. I have an older brother and sister and I can still recall the disappointment I felt when they headed off to school and I was left at home. When my big day finally came and I could finally start kindergarten, I had to walk, all the way across the street to get to school! (I would continue to walk all the way across the street through eight grade.)
There are not a lot of specifics I remember about that very first day of kindergarten. I do remember there was a big circle on the floor that seemed to be the focal point for many activities. I think there were hooks and cubby holes at the back for us to hang our coats and store our stuff. I believe that during that year we worked on learning how to tie shoes, the alphabet and counting which are things that I have actually used every day of my life since then. We learned to write our names and I am proud to say that after decades of practicing this skill, there are some people in this world that even today can read my name when I write it. We also worked on some of the finer points of social interaction like raising our hands to ask questions and learning to sit and listen. Skills that, to this day, I am still working on to master.
It is odd the things that get stuck in one’s memory. I can remember when Halloween rolled around, I was so excited that we were allowed to wear our costumes to school. If my memory is correct, I think I was dressed like a devil (the costume was most likely chosen by my Mother).
And, of course, I remember people. The teacher was Mrs. Wilson who taught kindergarten at my school for many years. As I glance over the 29 smiling faces above I can recall many, but not all, of the names. I would say that about half of those smiling faces were also present at my high school graduation as our lives intersected in a number of ways over the next thirteen years. Through the wonder of social media I have been able to see what some of these smiling faces are up to today as well as see the smiling faces of children and grandchildren that have descended from those smiling faces.
I’ll admit that I am a little jealous of the kids heading back to school. You have a new year and a fresh start, enjoy it to the fullest!