Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Day of School

It's that time of year again, back to school time. I have made it a habit of taking pictures, of my grandchildren's “First Day of School.”

This year, I took pictures of Mathew sitting at the table eating his breakfast (Charity had already eaten) and Hope walking around with her piece of toast. I took individual pictures of Mathew and Charity standing at the door, walking down the sidewalk, further down the side walk, getting into the car and in the car, also Charity starting the car this year. Then we went back in the house and started all over again with Mathew and Charity walking Hope out to the car and picking her up in the air between them.

In previous years I have even followed them to the school and gotten pictures of the whole family walking in together. 

I don't remember much of my own kids first days of grade school. It was always chaotic trying to get everyone up and fed, making sure they had everything they needed and seeing them off at the bus stop down on the corner of Farnsworth Road and Maverick Lane. I remember other parents seeing their kids off for school with photographs and thinking I need to do that, but I never did and I regret that. Other mother's jumped for joy as their child went off to school for the first time, but I never felt that way.

Jimmy's "First Day of Pre-School" was very traumatic for me.  I had someone watch the other two kids and went with Jimmy his first day.  I was standing there watching him play with the other kids, thinking he would be devastated if I left.  He came up to me and said, "Mom, can you go now?"   

I think it was the year Jessie started first grade that Gary's sister, Cheryl, was living with us. She had a pattern for making Cabbage Patch style dolls. We made Jessie a doll with a blond pony tail, Brian a curly brown haired doll and Jimmy a bald doll. They got their dolls after school was out that day.

The next year on the “First Day of School” we had a birthday party for Jessie's Amy doll. Friends were invited to come with their dolls and of course Jimmy and Brian were there with their Timmy and Ryan dolls. We had a birthday cake, jello and punch. Amy even received presents. This went on for several years, always on the “First Day of School” 
On my own “First Day of School,” I was driven by taxi from our house on Bowers Road to the Second Ward School (?) on the corner of Calhoun and Parks Streets (Currently a funeral home parking lot.) The lady driving the taxi was nice, but we had to pick up another kindergartner, a boy who always messed his pants. The kindergarten classrooms were in the basement of the building. I liked my teacher, Miss Kitely, and I thought she was beautiful. Unfortunately, there was a girl in my class who took my little polka dot purse and wouldn't give it back. After that, I dreaded going to school and would make myself physically sick. I did my work, but never spoke a word that entire year of school. I can't believe I was passed on to first grade.

By the time first grade came around, we were living back on Biddle Street. I walked the four blocks to school. I think my mom might have walked with me. My sister, Patti, was starting kindergarten that year, but I can't remember if she went mornings or afternoons. First grade meant you had to climb the stairs to your classroom. The fire escapes were on the outside of the building and I lived in constant dread of fire drills. I can't remember my teacher's name, she was old and left in the middle of the school year (I wonder if she died) and we got a different teacher. I do remember reading about Dick and Jane, their sister, Sally and dog, Spot. We also played a Hide the Thimble game that I liked.

Second grade brought me to a new school, the E. E. Irwin School. About four blocks away, I walked to and from school twice a day. I ate my lunch at home everyday (except when mom was in the hospital.) Mm, chicken noodle or tomato soups and maybe peanut butter and jelly, tuna fish, bologna, or egg salad sandwiches. My second grade teacher, Mrs. Jessop, was beautiful and sparked an interest in drawing for me. I had copied a picture of a rabbit from a book and she told me how well I had done. Even though I loved my teacher, I was very shy and still dreaded school.

Anyway, the “First Day of School” always brought an awful, anxious anticipation for me.   I was always too shy and didn't think I was very smart.  I wouldn't raise my hand to answer a question, even when I knew the answer. What if I was wrong, it would just be too embarrassing!

I hope my children (and grandchildren) enjoyed (are enjoying) their school years more than I did. I look back with so many regrets...


  1. Wendy, you have so many wonderful memories! You must have all the pictures still in your head, even if you didn't use your camera!

  2. Wendy~!
    I had no idea you blogged! This makes me happy :). I will totally be stalking your blog now!!!
    Hope you have a great day!