New York Years "Sand Lake Elementary School"


Going to school was a new adventure - rather exciting, but also scary. My father taught pre-first in Miller Hill Elementary School (K-3). My brother, Phillip, was in kindergarten in the same building. I attended West Sand Lake Elementary right across the way.

Sometimes, I rode with my father and Phillip, but usually I rode the bus. I made friends on the bus with Sharon Hitchcock, a very smart and pretty girl that was in my class. She had a younger brother, and Phillip and I often visited them.

Phillip had a few adventures on the bus that took him home at noon. One time, he decided he wanted to visit Joey Hitchcock, and the bus driver didn't question it. My mother was quite distraught when she got the phone call from his mother. Another time, Phillip had bumped his head on the bus and came home with blood dripping down his face. (I'll share other bus stories later.)

Even though I had finished fourth grade with my cousin Paul in the Bahamas, my parents decided to hold me back to do it again. (also since I was a year ahead anyway)It was a good decision. There is more to changing schools than just reading and mathematics.

It was an election year, and I had very little knowledge of the government of the United States. My father had taught me about our flag and some history, but words like "election", "voting", "Republican" and "Democrat" were brand new to me. We don't realize how much little children absorb through just living in a culture.

I missed the Bahamas, especially when winter came. I missed the palm trees and thought the bare trees looked ugly. I liked the snow, but it was cold.

School was fun, but it started out with a BANG! My classroom, with Mrs. Koenig, had around 20 students. The desks were 3 rows, with the 2nd and 3rd rows on platforms. I was assigned a desk on the top platform. The first time I pushed myself back to stand up, my chair fell backwards off the platfrom. I was moved to the front row on the floor!

Also that autumn, I got a bad sty on my eye. In the Bahamas, it wasn't uncommon to contract an infection, like a boil or sty. Once it's in your body, it takes years to get rid of it. This sty was bad and the swelling almost closed my eye. It was hard enough making new friends without looking like a monster. I was so glad when it finally popped and healed.

We had recess in the auditorium. That was fun, only the girls wore dresses and had to change into pants. I wasn't used to changing in front of other people. Recess time was torture to me. I like the swings and slide, since I never played on big ones like them as a child, but once winter came, it was very cold and we had to go outside. I often just huddled out of the wind, talking with my friends.

I remember the day that I learned about adjectives. We must have been also learning about nouns and verbs, but I was so happy to learn the name of those words that gave painted pictures in my mind.

There were so many new things to learn. Mostly it was a year of learning how to fit in. I made some good friends. I can still see their faces in my mind and remember some of their names.

(next week, I'll tell you a little about our church)

1 comment:

Sherri said...

I love these stories based on your childhood, Vonnie!


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