“Recess and lunch are the best.”

The sun was bright and warm earlier this morning. Now the sky is cloudy, and the day has darkened. No rain is predicted so I figure the sun will be back in a bit. I have a few errands today then I’ll do nothing productive for the rest of the day. The laundry still sits in the hallway. I don’t really care. It can sit another day.

My elementary school smelled of chalk, polish and on some days wet wool jackets. In the winter the radiators hissed steam and the windows were fogged so much you couldn’t see outside. That didn’t matter as there wasn’t really anything to see but the school yard in the back and on the side a couple of houses separated from the school by a fence and a driveway size exit from the back lot. I used to wonder if those people kept their windows closed whenever we were allowed out. That would be in the morning before school, recess and at the end of the day. My friend Kathleen lived three houses down from the school, and I envied her that. She came just before the morning bell, went home for lunch and after school was home in less than five minutes. I once had a pajama party at that house. I think I was ten or maybe eleven.

I have the strongest memories of that school. I remember standing on the top floor and looking down at all the stairs. Between each set of stairs was a landing and in the corner of every landing was a statue of Mary or Jesus or some easily recognized saint. They were small statues on shelves. The old stairs creaked and were so worn the middles of the steps dipped. Wood was everywhere. Every classroom had a cloak room right outside and every cloak room was too small for all the jackets. The classes had at least 35 kids and many had 40. So many jackets and coats were on the hooks you really couldn’t walk from one end of the cloak room to the other without having to pick up the jackets you dislodged.

That school is over a hundred years old. It is still in use. The old windows have all been replaced with more energy-efficient ones. Nothing else I can see on the outside has changed. I wish I could get inside. I want to see how well my memory drawers have kept the school alive for me. I can remember walking through the doors and seeing the first set of steps in front of me and on the right another set of steps going to the basement where the bathrooms were. At the top of the stairs I can look right and see my first grade classroom with the cloakroom right outside. That’s the room I remember the most because it was the first, the only room which made me nervous and a little afraid for the first few weeks. After that I was an old hand at school.

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9 Comments on ““Recess and lunch are the best.””

  1. Morpfy Says:

    a great day to be alive and healthy

  2. Morpfy Says:

    Point to Ponder–
    1.If you could re-live the year of 1999 would you do it again?
    2> Or would you like to receive $2000 in cash instead?
    Which do you choose ? ? ?

  3. olof1 Says:

    We’ve had a so so day here, some sunshine and when the sun shone it was nice and warm. Mostly it has been cloudy though with some drizzle and then it was rather cold. I could turn off the radiator though so I guess it was more good than bad 🙂

    I do remember my schools very well. I was in one really old (it was over 100 years old when I went there) up until sixth grade and from seventh to nineth I went in a school two hundred yards away. Both smelled just the same as Yours, today they don’t since all schools now have white boards. Those pens just don’t smell at all 🙂 I wonder why they changed to that since it must be much more expensive and they always complain about how much everything costs!

    I lived around 50 yards from school but never went home during lunch breaks, we get free lunch in school and to be honest I loved that food. Most people usually complains about it but as You know my mother could destroy even the easiest meal 🙂 🙂 for me it was like eating luxury food when I ate at school 🙂 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      We’ve had a good day today, some sun but not all that hot. A breeze would have been nice , but no luck that way.

      The white boards would have been great for me as I am allergic to chalk, and I used to get splits in my fingers from using it. The chalk boards have to be washed to be completely clear but not the white boards. They are far more efficient.

      WE had no cafeteria in the elementary school so we brought our own lunches. The school sold milk for little money so we could have it to drink with lunch. Most of the time we just have sandwiches anyway, once in a while soup.

      Have a great evening.

  4. Birgit Says:

    Recently we’ve got a new internet site with aerial photographs of my region and you can switch between 1926, 1952, 1969, 1990,… and now. Very interesting and good to see which memories are real and which are mixed up and how the region looked in the past.
    Of course I couldn’t smell or look inside my elementary school, to be honest I don’t want to know, but it was interesting to see my old school and schoolyard and my childhood surrounding back then and how much it changed over the years. It was also nice to see that my garden was previously a field and not part of a nearby former steel mill or other poisonous industry. You shouldn’t dig too deep here anyway, you may find an old mining shaft or a WW II bomb.

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      I know the town where I grew up has grown. Houses seem to be everywhere. The stores have all disappeared or changed. In my mother’s day the square had tracks running through it for the streetcars. She used to give us a bit of the history of the town having moved there in the 40’s.

      The church I went to, right near the school, has changed considerably for the best. They’ve added an elevator and redone the front where the altar was. My old neighborhood looks exactly the same.


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