Thursday, February 21, 2008

memories, mobility, and random thoughts

I went to elementary school in California in the sixties. I have a multitude of fond and obscure memories of kindergarten through sixth grade. I should. I attended six elementary schools. I remember my two kindergarten teachers, my awesome first grade teacher, Miss Mattos who knew how much I loved to read. I remember her crying the day President Kennedy was shot. We were coloring mimeographed pictures of Thanksgiving turkeys when the news was announced on the intercom and my heart was breaking for her. I later loved that my first school was named for famed modern architect, Richard J. Neutra. The military housing I lived in could have been designed by him. I remember never eating lunch in an indoor cafeteria. In California it is warm most of the year, especially in the desert where I attended 2nd and part of 3rd grade. Cafeterias were outside in all my schools. They were covered as were our walkways. Covered areas like this ironically were considered square footage and when a school outgrew its classroom space the school often couldn't qualify for new space due to its "covered" space. Weird. I spent 3rd grade in three different schools. Somewhere in that mobility I had to teach myself multiplication facts and states and capitals because I missed all that in the moving. In fourth grade Ms. Sally Saville read "Island of the Blue Dolphins" and that story inspired me to create a mosaic of a cormorant that year and I learned how smart girls could be. That was the same year I was selected to work in the cafeteria. The weeks I served my classmates (remember Wacky Cake?) I got to eat hot lunch in the cafeteria free and wear a hair net! A big deal since I brought lunch everyday. No way we'd have kids serving our yummy USDA food now. That year I ran for Student Council Scribe (secretary) and said my whole campaign speech in one big breath, I was so nervous. In fifth grade I had Mr. Pedersen who sang Norwegian songs and encouraged us to sing loudly even if we couldn't sing. Sixth grade meant two more schools and frankly, teachers I can't really remember. Hormones? I do remember the SRA reading program, tetherball, cliques, dances, and science camp with banana slugs in the Santa Cruz mountains. The constants in all the moving: recess, tetherball, good books, being new for a week or so, recess, eating outdoors, finding ways to fit in (usually recess), and learning how to make friends 101 ways.

1 comment:

Tim said...

As an Air Force brat, I can relate to the multiple schools and moving all the time. I vividly remember the California elementary school I attended for 3rd and 4th grade where all the classrooms opened to the outside (the covered walkways were called "breezeways"), as did the cafeteria.

I later found out that the large mound behind the the school on which we climbed when the teacher wasn't looking was actually part of the San Andreas Fault.