Sweet School Days by Susan Okaty

Yesterday’s Daily Prompt was to write about a place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of, that has been destroyed. I usually don’t respond to the Daily Prompts because I can’t think of what to write about. But this one was easy.

Susan Okaty

The only picture of my elementary school. From a newspaper clipping. I am the third from left.

My elementary school, Roger Sherman, is now a parking lot and has been for some time. It used to occupy the corner of Reef Road and the Post Road, smack dab in the center of our town, Fairfield, Connecticut. It was a red brick building with two floors above ground and one floor below. You moved up through the floors the older you got. I suppose today’s children, perhaps even my own, would think my elementary school was primitive. After all, we didn’t have an auditorium or a cafeteria. We brought lunch from home and ate in our classrooms. I remember the milkman coming to our classroom with a crate of little milk cartons and setting them on the radiator. We were given graham crackers for a snack to go along with the milk. The only problem was that by the time we were given the milk, it had sat on the radiator long enough to start melting the wax from the cartons, so we drank warm, waxy milk for snack time.

Since we had no auditorium, whenever we had assemblies, we all sat on the floor in the long, long hallway. Each floor had to take turns seeing or hearing the program. I remember the many times Officer Friendly came to talk about the dangers of blasting caps (I kept my nose to the ground for quite awhile after each talk in case a blasting cap should ever cross my path, but none ever did), and I looked forward every Christmas to seeing The Littlest Angel projected onto a screen from the reel to reel projector. Of course, if your class was at the end of the hallway, you couldn’t see very much.

Susan Okay is a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you’re never too old until you’re dead. Her inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70’s. If I don’t do something pretty soon, though, I’ll have to find someone older for inspiration.  Find more of Susan at her blog “Coming East.”

We also didn’t have a nurse’s office or a nurse when I was going to elementary school. I remember the yearly process of standing in a line, class by class, outside the principal’s office and being marched in, one by one, to have her check our heads for lice.

Susan oKayty2

October 1955. I was in second grade.

During recess the favorite pastime was to play “Crack the Whip,” a game where a long string of children holding hands, would swing the line around and around until the children at the end of the line began flying off. I should amend that to saying it was the favorite pastime for most of the children, but not for me. I was always the tail of the whip and was the first to be flung off into oblivion.

I have such fond memories of going to that school. I never remember one teacher who wasn’t kind. I loved dressing up in the pretty dresses my grandma made for me. Little girls did not go to school wearing pants in those days, though pants would have come in handy when I was playing “Crack the Whip” and landed on my butt. Though the red brick building is long gone, I still remember the echo of footsteps in its halls. No one can knock that memory down.

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