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By Tamara Hillman
Sept. 2012

Lockers saying Back To SchoolSeptember is here, and it’s back to school for the kids. I know a lot of Mom’s are breathing a sigh of relief, and a lot of kids are dreading sitting at a desk all day in new, stiff shoes, and nicely pressed clothes—Oops! There I go again remembering MY school days when there were dress codes for all students, and haircut requirements for boys. And when teachers wore suits and ties if they were male, while females wore dresses and high heels. If you were a student, total respect was a must for your superiors, and parents backed the school and teacher authority. Oh my, we’ve come a long way in the wrong direction, I feel…

I remember, by about the third week of school, before it got too cold to go outside, we were all lined up in front of the school for a group picture of our class—I still have them all, and can name those sweet, little, innocent faces from first grade on. We looked so excited and bright-eyed in those days. Inside the school, individual pictures were taken to send home to parents for a motley fee. Somehow, my folks came up with the money each year for all of us.

We had a hot lunch program that cost $6.00 a month for each student, that had the best home-cooked meals those country gals could put out. No one complained about the wonderful food that was both hardy and yummy. I can still picture the food cart in the hallway as each class lined up in order per grade in our elementary school, and on large metal trays we walked down the line while servers in white uniforms and hairnets gave us ample portions. There also were chocolate or white cartons of milk at the end of the cart. We skinny country kids ran off all calories in those days, so we were always famished, and wasted no food.

 

We lived on a farm three miles from town, and the bus came early in the morning because school started at eight a.m. and ended at four p.m., with an hour break for lunch—and in grade school, two recess breaks were also included. I loved the jungle bars, swings, merry-go-round, and all playground equipment. For tomboys in a dress, it required shorts underneath so our bottoms weren’t revealed when we hung upside-down.

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At home, summer chores were winding down by September, the fields were reaped for the last time before winter set in, and all Mom’s beautiful jars of fruit, vegetables, meats, and jams lined cellar shelves. The garden was fertilized and plowed under to lie dormant until replanting in spring. Time slowed down, and we kids lay in front of the heater after dinner doing our homework each night. No TV till homework was finished back then. No wonder we got good grades. It was EXPECTED. It was not cool in those days to be the rebel, and ‘F’ student.

By junior-high and high school, rules didn’t let up. No one was allowed to leave school grounds once you were counted in morning roll call. No smoking, no fighting, no gum chewing, swearing, or running in the halls. Hacks were still given by the principle, and parents were informed of your behavior. Ouch! The parents grounded you several days, weeks, or a month according to the infraction. That was painful to miss all the fun dances, ballgames, and activities we were involved in by our teen years.

We never heard the word suicide among our peers, or anything about drugs, or dealers. Yes, you could say it was innocent times, but we weren’t naïve, and we knew all about hard work and responsibilities.

All in all, life was good because families pulled together, prayed together, and worked hard. Church on Sunday was not a choice, but a tradition no one broke. A day of rest one gave to the Lord without question. Sadly, we don’t see this tradition being practiced much in families anymore.

Below is a poem about those good ol’ school days…

 

 

School Days

The more I grow old,
the more I look back
to warm autumn days—
my books in a pack.

New shoes that hurt
‘til they were broke in,
wool skirts and sweaters,
paper, and pens.

Those cool, crispy mornings,
we’d wait for the bus
as it came ‘round the bend,
the door opened for us.

The noise and chatter
of friends in the hall,
sharing stories of summer—
things planned for the fall.

All of our teachers
seemed happy and smiling
while thinking ahead
to homework they’d be piling.

Boyfriends and girlfriends
cozy and bright—
looking forward to dances,
and kisses goodnight.

Football and baseball,
basketball, tennis,
cheerleading,
playing our best to the finish.

We all came together,
now look back where we’ve been,
to share those great memories
of school days again.

Tamara Hillman
©2009



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