Grade School Memories

I started school, when I was 5, in Carey, Idaho. Since my birthday is in October I jumped the gun a little. There was no kindergarten in that area then so I began my education in the first grade. I liked school but I was timid and recess was too scary for me for the first few days and I had to find my sister Anna May in the school yard to feel safe. After a few days I found friends and was soon playing the game all the boys played, namely, “chase the girls and give them a kiss”. I am not sure that this game would be allowed today but then it was considered acceptable recess play. I think even the girls were into it. I don’t remember any teachers getting involved or any crying.

The school in Carey was for grades 1 through 12. The younger kids weren’t allowed to go to the sports events that took place during the day but other than that the entire student body was at recess,and at lunch at the same time. I can remember “adult” conversations between high school kids.

The lunches were great. Farmers were allowed to pay their child’s lunch bill in kind so we had fresh vegetables such as corn on the cob and fresh raw milk. It was served in heavy white mugs. we could go back for seconds and fresh apple pie was often part of the menu.

The school had a huge grass yard around it and the students ran all over without any restrictions. When Dad took work in Salem, Oregon it was a shock to find that the beautiful grass in front of the school was off-limits, we had to play on the gravel area in the back. They also had organized games and so many rules. I was not a fan but to be fair the wet climate made grass impractical as a playing surface.

I think I was the teacher’s pet because, while all the other kids had to copy the math problems off the board, the teacher gave me the workbook, there was only one for the whole class.

While I liked school in Carey, moving from school to school, when Dad found carpentry work in different locations, my inability to cope with the changes caused me to dislike school and to do poorly. My parents were completely disconnected from my schooling. I can’t remember once getting help from them on my homework. The main reason was cultural. I really thought that getting help was cheating.
I also think that being younger than the other kids in my class made it harder.

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