Oh, happy school days

Published 7:18 pm Friday, August 11, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

If I close my eyes and take a deep breath, I can bring back that first day of school just like it was happening all over again. I can feel the warmth of Mama’s hand as she walked me up the steps to the schoolhouse. I can smell the lingering whiffs of the sweeping compound and hear the squeaking of the wood floor as we walked down the hall.

I was in “Miss” Barney Burnett’s room. She was a short, round, soft lady with white hair and glasses. She looked like my grandmother, who was one hundred years old, too. I liked her right off.

The windows were raised and I could hear the birds singing and see the leaves on the big, oak tree dancing in the late summer breeze. I knew that I was going to love school.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Mama took me to the dime store and bought me three yellow pencils, a pencil trimmer, a box of color crayons and a blue writing table with a picture of a horse on it. But the best thing was a red book satchel with buckles on it.

I was a proud schoolgirl.

Two of us sat at a table with places underneath where you kept your books and money for recess.  There was a playhouse in the back of the schoolroom but the playground was magical with a sliding board, a huge swing set with board seats on chains and you could stand up and pump so high.  Walking on the monkey bars was my favorite thing.

At recess, we got chocolate milk in a glass bottle and soda crackers. Then we went outside and jumped a cotton rope and said rhymes as we jumped.

At play period, we played drop the handkerchief, squirrels in the tree, farmer in the dale and statue. The rest of the day, we learned things.

Our reading books had big bright pictures about a boy and girl named, Dick and Jane and their dog Spot. “Run, Dick, Run.” “Run Jane Run,” “Run, Spot, Run.”

Every day, Miss Burnett read us stories and told us stories. That was my very favorite thing about school. She said the most important thing was for us to be good listeners. Because, back then, children were to be seen and not heard.

Miss Burnett had a little boy named, Sweetpea, and she told us stories about him. I wished he was my friend.

First grade was my favorite grade. In second grade, we started “cursing” and I had to take piano lessons. I socked a mean little boy in the nose and made it bleed and had to stand in the corner with my hands behind my back.

Standing in the corner, I closed my eyes and pretended that I was back in first grade with sweet Miss Burnett and hearing stories about Sweetpea.

Even today, if I close my eyes, I’m right back in first grade again. Oh, happy days!