Posted tagged ‘fifth grade’

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

December 13, 2014

The clouds are back, and the day is gray. The limbs of the oak trees are silhouetted against the sky in a jumble of branches. The morning is cold. Maddie has her head under the lampshade to get warmth from the lightbulb though the house isn’t cold. Fern and Gracie are having their morning naps. It is the usual start to the day.

The week or so before Christmas seemed to have a spark, an edge of excitement. I remember the early darkness and all the houses and front bushes lit up with the big colored lights which always got hot. The square was strung with garlands across Main Street and a huge lit wreath hung from the middle of each garland. A bandstand of sorts was erected in front of The Children’s Corner, a long ago store, and every night a different group sang Christmas carols for the shoppers. When I was in the fifth grade, we got to sing. I remember how cold it was and how we huddled to stay warm. We each had one of those carol booklets John Hancock gave out. The nun would tell us the page rather than the name of the carol. It was quicker that way. I remember feeling proud and important and hoped there were neighbors who would notice me singing. In those days the square had all the stores, and the sidewalks were filled with shoppers. You always ran into someone you knew.

Tomorrow is the Dennis Christmas stroll. All the stores are open, there are singers in the bandbox, a horse-drawn wagon takes people up and down the road, the library has a crafts fair and there is food in a tent and in many of the stores. The insurance company usually has hot dogs and the fire station gives out hot chocolate. At the Cape Playhouse there is a sing-a-long. Mrs. Claus is usually there. Mr. Clause wanders a bit. Many of the towns have strolls but this one always seems local to me, filled more with people from Dennis than from other towns. I always meet lots of people I know.

Today I’ll be going off Cape. Gracie has a sitter, her Uncle Tony. The cats are fine on their own. It’s our traditional Christmas play day and then out to dinner. My mother started the tradition, and my sister and I keep it going. My favorite was the year my mother took us to see Death of a Salesman with Brian Dennehy. After the play, with tongues in cheeks, my sister and I thanked her for such a merry Christmas offering then we all went out to dinner.

“Education is wonderful – it helps you worry about things all over the world.”

September 2, 2013

Today is damp and cloudy. Maybe rain, even a v, is in the forecast. The whole weekend has been the same. I don’t think we had as many tourists for the weekend as usual. The forecast was spot on.

In kids’ parlance today is not Labor Day. It is the day before school starts. The buses roll tomorrow morning. My neighborhood has kids now, little kids, and four of them are headed to elementary school together: two to kindergarten, one to first grade and the oldest to second grade. They’re outside riding bikes now. I suspect their heads are not filled with images of new clothes, buses and the first day of school. They still have the look of summer about them.

The red spawn of Satan got the hose treatment again this morning. A short time later it was back but ran as soon as I walked on the deck. It didn’t take long for the hose and me to have an impact.

If I were to go back in time, to my elementary school days, I’d choose the fifth grade. We got bused for a while to the next town while the new school was finished. It was an adventure which also shortened the school day. We had the same hours as the rest of the school so we were on the bus for a part of the morning and a part of the afternoon. We always got back just as school was letting out for the day. In the spring we moved into the new school. My room was on the first floor. The nun I had that year was a jovial sort. She used to hand out pieces of candy as prizes. Seldom did she leave her desk chair to walk around the room so she’d toss the candy to the prize winner. She periodically had contests like who could list the most homonyms, now called homophones. I remember that contest because I won, and this was before computers. My prize was a miniature book with Bible verses. I was intrigued by the size of the book and not so much by the verses. I don’t remember what I learned that year, but I figure it was pretty the same as all the other years. Nouns and the other parts of speech never seemed to disappear and once we hit decimals and fractions they followed us everywhere. Columbia and coffee are forever linked. There was only so much geography. As for history, I have no idea what we studied in the fifth unless it was the Pilgrims, but in those days history sort of hopscotched all over the place.

We were still young in the fifth grade. We jumped rope during recess and giggled about boys. Fifth grade was when I punched the boy who constantly teased my friend and wouldn’t stop when asked, even nicely asked. That is probably my favorite memory of that year. I learned to stand up for friends and I learned I had a strong right.