Come to School with Me!

During the school year when leadership in the U.S. changed over from Dwight D. Eisenhower to John F. Kennedy, I was a 3rd-grade student on the top floor of the school pictured, above. Already outdated by standards of the day, my building held dark, steep wooden stairs leading up from the first floor and a bell rope hanging over the stairwell, for some lucky kid to pull and dangle from while announcing the start of the day. A chilly cloakroom stood at the top of the stairs, and the classroom was furnished with the old sleigh-style wooden desks, fashioned with inkwells where bottles of ink had once rested.

That same year, some changes had taken place in the leadership of our school, as well. We had a new teacher! Miss Spaude was special for many reasons, I am certain. But the most obvious difference her students noticed right away was that she was bald! This teacher is my favorite and most memorable from elementary school, and I have incorporated her into several of my written works. Happily, my rhyming story, “Miss O’Blair Has Lost Her Hair,” is now published at Storyberries! I hope you will enjoy reading it (for free) as much as I enjoyed writing it, while walking down “memory lane.”

I would like to thank Sue Clancy, writer and illustrator extraordinaire, for the information she generously shared on her blog about Storyberries.

I hope you enjoy the visit to my old school through this post and in the linked story. Just several years after my tale was set, a more “modern” brick building was erected next to this one, and my white frame school was leveled. I felt very sad about that, and I like to keep the memories alive through my writing!

80 thoughts on “Come to School with Me!

  1. Hi Becky,

    I appreciated your sweet poem, and had to smile…

    Around 30 years ago, having recovered from a severe illness after losing four people, including my dear parents, I lost all my hair and eyebrows, and it’s never grown back. Hey ho.

    The thinking was, after retiring from a secretarial job, I needed a part-time one – in between writing two books – and a post was available as an assistant/dinner-lady. I took the children for poetry once a week and helped two lads with their reading, which I loved, and did the lunch-time watch.

    Well, you will know…how observant children are and they watched my hair gradually thin and made the odd remark, until I decided I should buy a wig. I had a lot of strange stares and a few comments and one of my favourite lads, said “Cor, you look cool Miss!” Bless him! They soon got used to it,. and never referred to it after the first occasion. I worked at the school for 10 great years.

    All the best. Take care

    Sincerely, Joy x,.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. It was a most important role so – naturally – I felt the weight of responsibility upon my shoulders. Without ink, no one could learn. Because – after all – learning meant writing down what the teacher dictated or wrote on the blackboard. But I think I took it in my stride.and acquitted myself with, may I say it, dignity if not actual distinction.

        This is what the position entailed: Every morning it was my job to take up the large ink bottle in the teacher’s cupboard. It was glass, held maybe half a gallon, and had a metal spout. My job was to go around to every desk in the classroom and fill up the porcelain inkwell slotted into the wooden recess at the front right. (Left handed?- Too bad! Get over it.) And then, when the bottle was empty, or nearly empty, to go the the “office” to get it refilled. And that of course brought me close to the seat of power and authority. The power and authority were dizzying but I like to imagine I did not abuse it.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I WAS the ink monitor at my school. It was a position of great pride and responsibility and I took it very seriously. I did my best to exercise my authority appropriately. It was tremendous preparation for the school administration positions I took up decades later.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As a former teacher, I can think of no greater compliment than words of praise from one of your former students. Last month I got to go out to dinner with one of my former sixth-grade students. I had not seen him since then, and he’s now forty-two. What a fabulous time we had, remembering those days!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Congratulations on the publication of your story, Becky! I just listened to it. It’s wonderful!! Is there a picture book in the future? I went to a school similar to yours in Colebrook, New Hampshire. It, too, is no longer, as it was burned to the ground by squatters after it had fallen into disuse.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. What a delightful story poem. It wonderfully expresses how children can be easily confused by unusual circumstances and strange vocabulary but also how they accept and embrace these as adults guide them with love.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. A lovely story, with a strong message. You handled the rhythm and rhyme very well – while they are classics, they are often used in humour and parody, and this poem was neither. And thank you for this lovely peep into your schooldays:))

    Liked by 2 people

  6. How wonderful, and honourable that you keep the past alive through story telling.
    If no one does what you are doing, then anyone can recreate the past, dishonestly.
    We make movies and recreate the past. The best for those of us that do that, is we have authentic material to learn & chose form.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Those are wonderful memories, and such a fun poem! I’d never heard of Storyberries — reasonable enough, since I don’t have grandkids, and rarely am around children. I enjoyed seeing your school, too. Those memories do linger. We had those desks with holes for the inkwells, too — but ours held ink, and it was third grade when we were expected to learn cursive, and learn to write with ink! I still can remember the smell — and the blotters that we collected.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I was so touched by both your story on Storyberries and your photos of your old school and yourself. What wonderful memories! You really made the situation come alive with your writing. Great job!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. What a great story about how a child can become afraid when not knowing the facts … and then get past what frightened them. I’m glad it didn’t take too long before you knew that Mr. O-Peesha was not coming for you! Love the old school, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. My old school was in two halves, separated by a road. Infants one side and we ‘crossed over’ to juniors after a couple of years. The infant’s building was really old and beautiful. It’s now been converted into expensive apartments, but the other side is still going.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Your old school building is beautiful. I love the bell tower. I went to a modern (for then),low-slung, brick school. “Mr. O’Peesha” made me laugh.:-) My daughter had a teacher with alopecia too. The kids didn’t seem to even notice after the first week.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I love those old schools. Yours sounds more like the one that replaced it, with not much character:( I’m happy to read that you got a kick out of the story! That’s how I felt about my teacher, too…I just forgot about the hair thing until years later, really.


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