As a kid I always dreaded the first of August. We had to start thinking about going back to school. First a trip to Dodge City, to buy two new pairs of shoes, one pair to wear in the classroom and one pair of white Keds for gym class.
I remember I envied some of the kids that were allowed to put taps on the heels of their shoes. Everyone loved the sound as they walked down the hall or on the sidewalk. My first pair of taps were on real penny loafers when I was in high school, and earning my own money. Man what a wonderful sound they made on the sidewalk.
About the first of August my Grandmother (Pearl) would send a box of dresses she’d made for me on her treadle machine. I had picked out a dress design earlier in the summer from a magazine and she would make her own pattern from my measurements. Then she would make me at least 5-6 dresses from that pattern.
During grade school she made me 5 can-cans made out of netting to wear under my dresses and skirts. They were of different colors and matched the dresses. I thought I had to wear all of them at once though.
It must have looked like a rainbow when I sat in the school desk and tried to squeeze them all under it. They always wanted to billow up on the sides as I sat there.
All the new schoolbooks were shipped into the drug store and we went there to buy our supplies. I usually got the second hand books, because mom couldn’t see the point to new ones, but if they changed the textbook she didn’t have a choice.
It was fun to get the new Big Chief tablet and some new pencils and a new box of crayons. I never figured out why they wanted kids in the first few grades to have such big pencils. You could hardly get your hand around them.
I loved the new text books. The pages were so crisp and there was just an aroma about the new books that I thought was wonderful. I would sit and ruffle through the pages just to get the scent.
The first day was always fun, once you got there, because you could pick out your desk. My best friend and I would try to sit next to each other near the back of the room, so we could talk.
We usually had blown that by noon and I had to move my desk near the front of the room. I just couldn’t seem to keep from talking, especially to Beckie. So we usually ended up on opposite sides of the room with me in the front and Beckie near the back.
It was exciting the first day because we hadn’t seen some of the farm kids since school ended in the spring. They were busy on the farm and didn’t get to come to town to see us very often in the summer.
I was always envious of the farm kids because they were allowed to ride the school bus and I had to walk the 3 blocks to school and home again. And how does that story go……we had to walk barefoot, uphill both ways in the snow??
I always looked forward to the middle of the afternoons; we would go back to the lunchroom for a carton of milk. The carton had a definite smell and the milk was different than that out of the old machine in the lunchroom.
It was much better out of the carton to me. Plus we got out of class for a few minutes to sit and drink it in the lunchroom. When I was in grade school the half pint carton of milk was 5 cents.
In our small school you usually knew the teacher you were going to have, but once in awhile a new one would arrive during the summer and it was a real surprise when you went to school the first day.
Then it was a whole new learning experience because you didn’t know what they were going to be like. With only twenty in a class it didn’t take her long to figure us out though.
I only had one teacher that scared the daylights out of me and it was my second grade teacher in Satanta. Her name was Mrs. Piner and to this day I don’t know her first name. I didn’t’ think teachers had first names I guess because it was always Mr. or Mrs.
She was very strict and didn’t allow any talking in class, unless you were asked a question. I sat behind a boy near the front of the class and he would turn around and say something to me. Of course I had to answer and when I answered him I was the one who got caught. I got a spanking the first day of school that year.
So went the dreaded first day of school and the start of another year, and now we wonder where those days and years went and some would like to go back and do them again. I am not so sure I would if I could. To contact Sandy: [email protected]