Remembering those first days of school, or not

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These past weeks family dinner table talks have been dominated by their children’s reports about the first days of school. Our dinner table on the subject has been quiet on the first day subject since our youngest came home from kindergarten over 4-1/2 decades ago. We can recall throwing out the general questions of “How do you like your teacher . . . Who do you know in your class . . . What did you do today?”
Our family had three boys spread over a seven year period and over those years their answers to our questions about the first day of school became pretty ordinary. “It’s OK .  . . all, except the new kid. . . we had recess,” were the simple replies. We should qualify our statement because their actions sometimes spoke louder than their words.
Son number one set the precedent for his two younger brothers. He declared his independence and didn’t want to be walked to school on his first day by his mother (or his dad). He answered only the questions he was asked by his parents if they were specific.
Son number two put up a challenge. He conceded to be walked to the school playground. When classes began he was absent and his teacher called to report she had seen him on the playground, but he was not in class. After taking her call, the Betterhalf did some searching. She found him hiding behind a vacant house next door to our home and saying he didn’t want stay at school because he was scared of the big second graders. That action became routine for two or three more times, before he was ready to go beyond playground time to the classroom.
As for son number three, he learned from his older brothers “what not to do.” He was anxious to go to school. He had no qualms about telling all that took place at school to his mom, but didn’t want to repeat it to his dad when he came home from work.
Funny how memory works when you think about first days of school We can remember the actions of our children, but memory seems to fade when it comes to our own. My only vivid recall was having to wear short pants on that first day and cautioned not walk the railroad tracks coming home.
It’s been said, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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