Thursday, January 20, 2011

Reminiscing About School

The fastest way for me to lose my children's interest is to start reminiscing about what it was like in "the old days" when I went to school.

Going to school in the 70's was different, for sure.

As a girl, I was only allowed to wear dresses - no pants allowed. On cold, snowy days, we'd be permitted to wear pants on the way to school - under our dresses, of course - but they'd have to be removed as soon as we walked into the classroom.

There was nothing so unpleasant as sitting on a cold, wet classroom tile floor, removing snow boots and pants and hoping they'd dry before donning them again in the afternoon for the trek home.

On days when we had Physical Education, we were required to wear shorts - under our dresses, of course - so as to protect our "dignity" from the yucky, slimy boys and their ever-present quest of getting a glimpse of our sacred underwear.

We would pay our 3 cents for a milk carton at lunch, which would be proceeded by saying a blessing and thanking God, in the classroom. And this was public school, no less.

And no air-conditioned classrooms meant for some really, really hot afternoons which led to some very sleepy and sweaty and smelly kids. I can only imagine what we smelled like when we came in from recess. Poor teachers.

In elementary school, I was a "walker". No bus for me. I lived about a quarter mile from school; our house was at the bottom of a valley - and the walk to school was up a seemingly HUGE, insurmountable steep hill.

Walking up that mountain every day - in snow and ice and rain - was never fun.

The neighborhood kids would joke that we were climbing Mount Kilimanjaro every morning as we'd trudge, ever so slowly, to our perceived doom.

When the school bell rang in the afternoon, we'd race as fast as we could down the mountain. If one of us would be so unfortunate as to trip - that would lead to a 1/2 mile roll, head over heels, down the rough terrain, which was never fun and always embarrassing.

When I reached the oh-so-mature age of 11, I was given parental permission to ride my bike to school.

It was quite a workout in the morning, but I'd be rewarded by the Best Bike Ride Ever each afternoon as I'd go FLYING down the hill - beating all of the walkers by a good 15 minutes home. Catching air every afternoon on that bike was SO worth the effort in the morning.

I once made the almost-fatal mistake of dangling my purse from my handlebars on the way home one day. My purse got stuck in the bile spokes - stopping the bike on a dime - and sending me FLYING over the handlebars - where I met the concrete, face first.

Ouch. Which hurt worse - my nose, or my pride - I wasn't sure. Besides the indignity of the fall itself, I was wearing a dress, if you remember. Everyone and their brother got more than a glimpse of my sacred underwear that afternoon.

That little tumble almost cost me my bike-riding privileges, until I convinced my parental units that it was a one-time only mistake, never to be repeated. Lesson learned painfully - don't dangle a long purse on the front handlebars.

I actually loved school. I loved the teachers, the structure, the lessons, and most importantly - the other kids. I hated snow days - which were pretty few and far between in those days. I don't think schools were as concerned with liability as they are now, and so it was a very rare day for school to be cancelled.

My kids have actually attended school a total of SIX days since Christmas. SIX days! What with snow days, holidays and teacher work days - they've been at home more than they've been at school for the last month.

When I start to tell them how easy they have it, they immediately groan and I can hear their little ears shut down and tune me out.

That's okay. They'll never know how their mother used to FLY down a mountain every afternoon on a bike - and in a dress, no less.

Their loss.




Jenny said...

I love this post! My kids do the same thing...only I'm even older than you so they roll their eyes even more! ha

Terri said...

Such wonderful memories~ I couldn't wear pants til middle school. Then it was ok. I had a short but dangerous walk to/from school as the only one of two girls in the neighborhood!

LDswims said...

What a cute post! Love it all! Someday your kids will want to hear the stories...

lacochran's evil twin said...

We must be around the same age. I can remember being allowed to where a pantsuit (purple and pink--the 70s were a fabulous time for fashion, yes?) on the last day of school because it was the last day of school. Prior to that, I had to wear skirts/dresses. Amazing.

Mental P Mama said...

LOL....I have almost the very same memories. My children cannot fathom any aspect of my childhood either...I think they used to think I was like Laura Ingalls Wilder.....