BY Tamara Hillman Sept. Edition
Back to school time!
Okay Moms, admit it—Your thrilled at the prospect! I know I always was. Time to get some routine back in your days, and quiet time to garden, and finish up preserving those fruits and vegetables. Speaking of vegetables, how’s that sweet corn comin’ along? My favorite! I never minded harvesting the corn because it was eye-level to us kids, so no stooping to find the crop hidden under green leaves as so many other vegetables were.
It seems like only yesterday when I was anxious for school to start, to see all my friends, and wear my new clothes. We didn’t get scads of clothing like children of today, but a couple of dresses for me, and two pair of jeans and shirts for my brothers got us ready for the first day. We each got a new pair of sturdy shoes to last the nine-month school year, and every other year, we got a new winter coat, (with matching snow-pants for me to wear under my dresses when snows were deep and very cold in the Methow Valley). In those days, it got real deep real fast, but winters have been milder in more recent years, (and NO, I’m not alluding to the theory that Global Warmer is the cause.)
Anyway, back in my school days—Girls wore dresses, and boys wore blue jeans. Boy’s hair was cut short, and girls wore theirs longer. It made it MUCH easier to tell one from the other that way. Today, I get confused and often mistaken trying to decipher boys from girls.
I remember, Mom used to take a picture of us kids out in the front yard on the first day of school every year. We never wanted to pose, but now, we’re so glad she insisted because we can see how much we grew and changed from year to year, (and how hair styles and clothing have changed.)
I remember that bony girl and those two boys in the pictures as we passed through each phase of growth during school years. Calling myself bony might be an understatement since some naughty, older boys on the bus, (pestering everyone) called me Olive Oil after Pop-Eye’s girlfriend in the cartoon. Now, I promise you I wasn’t that ugly but I was that skinny! We were more than well fed on the farm, but kids of that time ran any calories off they might accumulate, and fast food was not everyday fare.
We weren’t couch potatoes. We only watched a couple of hours of TV at night with the folks, (once we got a television—I was eleven by then), and there was no lying around the house all day playing video games. Even during the school year, we came home, ate a quick sandwich, changed into play clothes, and then hopped on our bikes to go play with kids in the neighboring farms. Busy, busy, busy! I out ate my brothers and still was built like Olive Oil because there was no time for calories we took in turning to unwanted fat in our active lives. Sadly, that skinny body is now gone forever.
Our bus driver was Mr. Wells, an older-gentlemen who was as steady as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. I can still see him, eyes straight ahead as he safely drove us to and from school in all kinds of weather. He kept control of the bus and us kids too, but he couldn’t see and hear everything that went on, so, of course, there were always a few bullies in the back who teased and kept the younger kids riled up all the time.
I remember one high school meanie, (last name of Hermann but I forget his first name), who loved to pester me. One day on the bus trip home, he said something smart to me, as usual, and I turned around and let him have it over the head with my Dale Evans lunch pail. It really rang his chimes because his eyes were watering when I looked into them with an attitude of, “Take that, Jerk!” Needless to say, the lunch pail was pretty bent in the middle, and I thought I’d get in trouble when I brought it home, but my dad just pounded out the dent, and laughed at how it came to be in such poor shape. I think the folks figured that particular kid had it coming. And he did! Everyone knew he was a bully. He never teased me again though, or anyone seated nearby for fear I’d come to the rescue and belt him with my lunch pail again.
I think the number one thing I loved most about going back to school each year was the fall season. Those crisp, golden days waiting for the school bus still warm my memories. The colors of fall were so beautiful in the valley, and the cool breezes after a long, hot summer were always welcomed.
Have fun and study hard this year, kids!
Read Tamara's new Poem about School Days