First Grade



Where did you attend first grade?

Memory Triggers- Favorite teacher, classroom walls, best 1st grade friend, favorite activity.

I went to first grade at Laird Elementary School in Tempe AZ.  I don't even remember the name of my first grade teacher, although I do know that I loved her.  She was kind to me.  School was about 1/2 mile from my house, and I walked with the other neighborhood kids every day.  This would have been around 1965 and we were not allowed to wear pants or shorts to school.   I had "dirty blond" hair (that is a color by the way and it was not actually dirty!) and also white glasses that were very visible on my face.  

My mother said that I broke everything, so she bought me glasses for kids that were plastic.  They were very old fashioned and I cringe even today when I see things like them come back in style.  Amazing how the things that go around come back around again, even when they really should stay gone.  

The girls all had to wear dresses to school.  It wasn't until I got into the older grades that I learned how to sneak shorts under my dresses.  In first grade, I did not know those things.  I was a tom boy and loved to swing and slide and run and was forever ruining my dresses.  I remember wishing that I could be a boy so that I could wear pants.  

We had to be polite in first grade.  We did workbooks and writing and learned our letters too.  We also learned classical music and listened to it often in class.  I loved school when I was young.  I wanted to do well, but really struggled sometimes.  I think I was a bit of a daydreamer and that was frowned upon by the school.  We were supposed to draw what we were told and write what we were told and really not think for ourselves.  

I learned to read in first grade.  It was very boring stuff called "Fun with Jack and Jill".  I remember because I didn't like those books, but they opened up a different world for me later on.  Our slide was very high and silver metal.  You couldn't slide down it when the sun was too hot.  We had swings and a merry-go-round also.  I loved to grab the bars and "fly" as it twirled.  We also had monkey bars that I loved, but was forever in trouble for getting on because it wasn't "ladylike".  In my life, I came to hate that word!

I was the smallest girl in first grade.  I tended to be picked on by the bigger kids, and my mom was divorced, so that alone made me different.  In those days, parents were supposed to stay together and when they did not, the children were the ones who struggled.  Of course, women made less than men then, so I think it was rough on my mom too.  I remember that she worked every night.  I went to a babysitter's house in the afternoons until my mother got home.  

School was always something that I looked forward too, at least in those early years.  I had friends, and I wanted to do well.  It is so different today than the lessons that I had then.  I think that I was learning in first grade, what my grandchildren are learning in Kindergarten.  It is amazing when I think of how much knowledge these children today are learning.  

One of my greatest Life's challenges


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