This is a special memory from my own childhood.
Overall, I always enjoyed school but there are 2 years that stand out in my mind as being the worst years ever! 4th grade was one of those years and since Amara is in 4th grade, I figure she will really appreciate my story.
Kindergarten through 3rd grade I went to the public school that was just down the street from our house, four tenths of a mile down our street according to Google Maps. That four tenths of a mile was the home of many of my friends and classmates. We walked to school together; we played together and had known one another all our lives.
In 1959, all of that would change for me. That is when my sister and I started at the Catholic School. It was 6 miles away but a 32-mile bus trip. We took what we called The Little Bus. There were probably 12 of us who rode it. Funny, I don’t remember if there even was a Big Bus. We were the first ones on each morning and the last ones off each night, something I never thought was fair. Because the Catholic school was the only one in the county, we weren’t the only ones from the surrounding towns to take The Little Bus. We were the only ones from our town and that bus route took us about 90 minutes to go those 32 miles. My school days became 3 hours longer.
No longer did I get to go to school with all my friends, I never got home in time to play with them after school either! Our school schedules weren’t the same. Catholic School started 2 weeks before public school and got out earlier for the summer. Our Christmas breaks were different, too! Not to mention that Catholic School didn’t give you a Fair Day! This is a tradition that still exists in the county. All of the school kids get a day off to go to the County Fair. I really resented not getting to go with all of my friends.
There were many other changes at the new school. Because it was a small school, the classrooms were combined into two grades. I was in the 3rd/4th grade classroom. The only other person I knew at the school was in my class with me – my sister!
Because it was a small school, there was no cloakroom or any place where you could discretely take off your snow pants or put them on. We didn’t have to wear a uniform but we did have to wear a skirt or dress. Trying to get those snow pants off while standing next to your desk was an art form that took me some time to learn.
I also learned, in front of everyone, that you don’t ask to go to the bathroom; you ask to go to the lavatory! I had never heard the word and was completely confused and humiliated.
The playground, an important part of any school, was very small compared to our old school. There were no tall swings or slides, just a few teeter-totters and one whirly gig. Our playground also doubled as parking for the church!
There was no cafeteria! That meant I had to start making our lunches before the bus came in the morning. I was the oldest. It was my job.
While I hated that bus ride, the very best part of my 4 years at that school was our bus driver. Many mornings our old house was very cold, especially upstairs. I loved climbing into that nice warm bus. PLUS, he often brought us donuts! Is there any wonder I am addicted to them still? His wife worked at the donut shop on the night shift and he would stop to say hi to her on his way to work and grab donuts for us girls.
I never made the kind of friendships at that school that I had made at the public school. None of my classmates lived in the town I lived in so we seldom had a chance to play together and I never saw them during the summers except at church.
I really missed going to school down the street.