“What Are YOUR Crazy Memories from Elementary School?”


Who cares if it‘s not exactly lesson-oriented towards math or reading skills?  It’s still for a good cause (charity) and it’s fun. After all, first-graders’ wearing pink hair to school (from a bottle of raspberry food coloring) isn’t something they do every day… or is it?

 For that reason, alone, I know:  They’ll remember.
I mean, I remember the fun antics my first grade teacher, Miss Fitzpatrick, had us do. She’d direct us to take our cardboard boxes of wooden letters out from our desks for our “Word Study.” I’d hold each letter block up and sniff it, as if each one had its own scent (if I close my eyes today, I can still call back the scent.)
They resembled little rectangular Scrabble letters, and I loved arranging them into words I knew: cat, boy, the, and, ship, etc. 
There was the day she showed us how butter was made by mixing ingredients and having us take turns churning it into cream over hours ‘til it felt like our little arms would fall off. When we were finally finished, she went about the room depositing Ritz crackers on our desktops, in neat little stacks of 3.
Then she called us up, as she slathered the butter on top of each cracker. We then proceeded to eat. It was heavenly…not so much that it tasted grand as for the fact we had made this product that we all took for granted, all by ourselves.

In retrospect, I don’t know what that lesson taught us…maybe that butter doesn’t grow in a box in the refrigerator, but we loved it, and we all remember it, to this day.

Second grade was characterized by our getting the chance each week, on Art Day, to go to the back and pick from a stack of construction paper, the color we wished to work with, for our project. We girls always went for chartreuse, a color that was often missing by the time I got to pick, since there were only 5 of each color.

Third grade is characterized by Charles Foster and his liver sandwiches. He sat behind me and thoroughly grossed me out. Every day, when the teacher announced “Lunch,” Charles took out his paper napsack his mother had dutifully prepared and unraveled his sandwich from the waxed paper it was wrapped in.  It was always the same–two slices of white bread containing a fat slab of liver pressed between.

He told me he had to eat liver every day because of his ASTH-MAR (said just this way). Considering his lips were thick like the slab of liver, I basically believed he got this way from his steady diet and swore off liver, forever. To this day, I don’t eat it.

Fourth grade was characterized by a girl named Carolyn whose mother dressed her in the most magnificent creations I’d ever seen.  Each was a work of art, fashioned and sewn by her mother.  If I wanted the chartreuse construction paper in the second grade, I obsessed about this girl’s dresses, in the fourth. 

Because of this, I spent whole days dreamily considering her layers of taffeta, crinoline petticoats and grosgrain or velvet ribbon threaded through eyelet sashes, wondering why my mother couldn’t make these. When her mother passed on (a few years ago), I wrote my former classmate a letter stating what a huge impression her mother had made on this young girl. She keeps it to this day.

Elementary school taught me that learning is never about the lesson, alone, but more about the sights…the sounds…the sensations, or a combination of all the above. It’s pretty amazing, in retrospect, what children remember from all those days sitting at little seats (which is why I know grandsons Luke and Sam will remember their “Pink Hair Day for Hope.”)
Now, c’mon…I KNOW you’ve got them.  What are YOUR memories of an experience…a person…a teacher from elementary school? Comment section is below, and of course, you can be “anonymous, if you choose.” And send this along to friends and others you think might like to add to the conversation on Biddy Bytes…Buttons are below for e-mailing, posting on Facebook, or sending all other ways…

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A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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