I get to work with kids every day and love to tell them stories about things that happened years and years ago. I was starting a tale to my friend Matthew about something that happened when I was growing up. “Before you were born…” I began. He stopped me mid-word.
“You mean the 1900’s,” he interrupted, nodding his head.
“Excuse me?” I asked totally puzzled.
“It was the 1900’s,” he said again. I looked at him still not sure.
Then it hit me. “When were you born?”
“2000,” he answered. Stink! It WAS the 1900’s!!! That makes me sound SO OLD! Kids starting back to school recently have brought back lots of memories from the 1900’s!
Way back in 1967, I started out on the road of education. Kindergarten was optional all those years ago. My Mom thought my slightly older sister was too smart for it so she didn’t send her. She sent me.
My “school bus” was a green sedan. Mr. Hindman was my “bus driver”. He picked Charles Trout and me up each day, delivering us to our Kindergarten building in Road Fork (Forest Hills). Kindergarten was just plain good fun in 1967, nothing like the hard stuff these days. In 2015, kindergarten is like joining the military-hard core! They learn all the important things and even have homework! We played and maybe learned-can’t remember, but I do know that we took a nap.
I must have done OK in kindergarten because I went right on up to first grade at the Belfry Grade School, where the Belfry Middle School gym is now. My first grade teacher was W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L…half educator, half fairy princess. I learned a bunch of stuff in first grade but can’t remember what it was. But, I DO remember a pretty black and white gingham dress with a petticoat that had bells sewn in it. I had to quit twirling because I made too much noise. (I also went to my first haunted house that year! It was inside the school! Scared me to death!)
In second grade, we moved to Pikeville. One day I was with my best friend right after school. We were laughing as we got on the bus. A few miles later, we stopped at the high school to pick up kids. (In 1969, the high school was where Hardee’s is now.) The kids that got on the bus were GINORMOUS! They were mostly guys and their heads touched the ceiling of the bus. I had never seen those giants before! What were they doing on MY bus?! And that’s when I realized I never rode the bus with my best friend!!! I was on the wrong bus!!! I cried like a baby, scared the driver who took me home and NEVER got on the wrong bus again! Whew! That was a scary time!
Can you remember milk break? First thing every day, we paid a nickel and marked our names on the chocolate or white milk list. (There was always ONE kid who was allergic or wasn’t allowed to drink chocolate.) Two of us were chosen at approximately 10 a.m. to secure milk for the class. We carried the metal milk crate to the huge kitchen refrigerator and always counted twice before leaving. You didn’t want to be the one who left a kid milk-less!
On the first day of fourth grade, I was a new student at Runyon Elementary. Everybody already had friends so they didn’t need a new one. I was sitting at my desk soaking in my new surroundings and classmates. Everyone kept talking to “Curtis”, a very popular guy. People asked him over and over what time it was. In a gutsy move, I called across the aisle, “Curtis, what time is it?” Instead of telling me, he reached me the watch. I stretched as far as I could…and my desk fell over. My stuff went everywhere. Everyone laughed-except me. I pray I didn’t have on a dress!
I made so many good friends in the 1900’s. In eighth grade, I was smack in the middle of the best bunch of guys in “B. Cool’s” homeroom. I didn’t so much talk as I did laugh. My conduct grade declined each grade period. I sat in front of Bradley who said the funniest things all year long. Nobody could hear him but me and I just couldn’t stop giggling! I’m still thankful the school year was no longer than it was! The last six weeks I had a “D” in conduct! If school would have lasted one speck longer I would’ve had an “F!” That was also the year I decided to wear my headgear to school because I thought it would be cool. Bad move.
When I went to high school, I was nervous. We had all heard scary stories of Freshman initiations. We tried to stay in groups for protection! It seems like not so long ago.
My homeroom teacher was Mrs. Crawford. (She was awesome!) My English teacher was Elizabeth Hunt. It was in that class where I met this guy with the best personality. He cracked me up! At the beginning of second semester, we asked Mrs. Hunt to move me over beside him. We weren’t dating or anything, but just wanted to sit together. He aggravated me and I aggravated him back. His name was Tommy Reed. My life was changed forever!
Do you have good memories from when you were back in school? Get out an annual, grab a chocolate milk-or white if you’re allergic-and think about the good ole days. Yours might be in the 1900’s, too!
Dawn Reed is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.