I didn't have the opportunity to go to kindergarten, so all the things that I should have learned there, I am still trying to figure out. Living a in rural community in the 1950's, I began my education in a two room school. It was an old two story brick building with wide steps on both sides of the front, with huge double doors. They opened into a spacious hallway that had hooks on the wall for coat hangers. My classroom was on the first floor directly opposite one of the entry doors. I shared that room with perhaps 25 or 30 other first through fourth grade students. First graders were in the first row next to the tall, triple hung windows. If I remember correctly, there were about 6 or 8 of us. How did the teacher manage to educate 4 separate grade levels in that one room, I often wonder? Perhaps we all sat in our seats, did as we were instructed and had respect for the teacher as well as the other classmates. I remember at times, having completed my assignments, I would try to do what the older kids were doing. I remember that I was able to learn cursive writing by the end of first grade. And my teacher allowed me to continue writing in that manner rather than printing, as was the custom to do until you were well into your third grade year. I remember often being the one selected to lead the class in a song at the end of the day. Favorites such as "Davy Crockett", "She'll be Comin' 'Round the Mountain", "Shoo-Fly", were at the top of my repertoire, along with "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and "The Bear Went Over the Mountain". I guess I've always enjoyed writing and singing. After school, I would usually walk home with my older brother and cousin, about a mile of dusty, graveled road. I never minded doing so, it was just a part of life. Plus it was always fun to pick the berries or wild flowers along the roadside.
Probably never met more than one or two cars on the walk home. Sometimes we would make a short stop at the country store and visit with other folks, or share a 5 cent RC Cola, if my brother was feeling generous. Simple, quiet times. Never thought about being too hot or too cold, whether I had the latest in clothing or home decor, or even what was happening in the rest of the world. Life was good. Guess that's what I learned in first grade. Enjoy life's quiet, simple times. Continue to enjoy writing and singing. Take every opportunity that presents itself to learn as much as you can. Just remembering those times makes me feel quiet inside.