Whoo-Whoo, End of School!

We are talking about memories of the last days of school. Mine were pretty much the same all through elementary school, which for me consisted of grades first through sixth. Almost no one I knew attended Kindergarten, which were all private schools at the time.
Sometime right after the first week of June, we’d have our last full day of school. We would already be wound-down, “Field Day” would have been a week or so before and ‘perfect attendance’ awards given would have been presented on the field. (We never had academic awards; I might well have made those. Perfect attendance was no way in the cards as I caught everything that went around.) Over the next few days most of the teachers made little pretense of lessons. They went through their files and desks, returning papers and artwork to students, which the kids took home.

5th grade class with my favorite teacher

5th grade class with my favorite teacher

[Can you guess which one is me? Second row, second from the left; white sweater, white headband.]
We lugged page after page, workbook after workbook home, not to mention art and science projects forgotten on shelves. One year a couple of us had plants to take home. We had been comparing sprouts that were grown in differing conditions. Mine had been deprived of light in the teacher’s closet, and we had all forgotten about it; it was very sickly. She and I both decided it was beyond hope. I did not take it home after all.

The last full day books would be turned in to be inspected for damage before they were stored away and be distributed the next year to those entering our grade. Although we were admonished never to deface a book,(and most of us were scared to death to do so), I never saw anyone get into trouble for turning in a marked-up book and we often received damaged ones the next year, written in, and sometimes with pages missing.
The last day our desks would be fully cleared out and we’d be told to scrub the tops clean. Again, we were given non-specific, yet horrifying threats about writing or carving into desks at the beginning of the year, but there were always the kids who left permanent scars in theirs with no repercussions. We used brown-bag paper towels and scouring powder to “clean” the desktops; the desks and our hands would be worse for it.
The next day there would be no school but we weren’t finished yet, as the day following that we would have to get up, get dressed,(girls in dresses or skirts, boys in long pants), and make our way to school one more time. We needed to go for about half a day to collect our report cards… and let the schools collect their last blood money from the state for our ‘attendance’. They had to have a certain amount of days to get a dollar a day per student and they would collect it, you better believe it. If we had a lot of snow days off, they’d add a few more days to the school year as they did the year we had a half-day on my sister’s birthday, (Flag Day, June 14th), but we never attended long enough to get to mine, (June 20th; depending on the year, it’s the last day of Spring or the first day of Summer).
And most of us walked home, although some of the boys ran, illegally, with the teacher -on-duty yelling at them. The only other time they dared to run was during the World Series. Our school let out at 3:00, the games started at 3:00 and the boys didn’t want to miss any more than they had to. Only a few kids who would have to cross a highway rode the bus, but they must have been almost as uncomfortable as we were. In those dresses, it was cold going in the Winter and hot in the Spring…the longer the school year, the hotter the days.
And then…FREEDOM. It felt really good.

Diane Davis and me, the summer after 5th grade;(Diane was the Girl Scout)

Diane Davis and me, the summer after 5th grade;(Diane was the Girl Scout)

After decades I have gotten back in touch with a few former classmates, especially Diane, (the Girl Scout in the class picture), and Mary,(fourth row; fourth from the left), and David,(not shown). We are having a really good time these days, mostly online, since none of us still live in the state where we attended school together…and we get to have that fun in casual clothing!
I hope everyone has a safe and fun Summer…(or Winter, and a good school year, if you are in the Southern Hemisphere!)

Diane and I arranged to see each other in Nashville last summer.

Diane and I arranged to see each other in Nashville last summer.

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About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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18 Responses to Whoo-Whoo, End of School!

  1. These were posted on Facebook.
    From David Whitmon:
    5th grade. I know that I was in 5th grade but I’m not sure what memories are what. I remember walking to school. I remember getting in trouble numerous times. I do remember my very first day of school and clutching my sisters dress and not wanting to let go while this giant of a woman with a deep voice, thick glasses and curly blond hair done up tightly on her head was towering above me. The boogy man or in that care woman, freaked me out.
    On the walk home and across that bridge from Lemon Road School there were quite a few times when I would run off into the woods to follow the creek to come out at Hillside Drive. There was a flat marshy plain that the bridge went across. There was one time that Tommy Kendrick and I had made hoods out of old t-shirts. We ran off into the woods along that gravel path down the hill to the bridge. We put on our hoods and ran out onto the plain a couple of hundred feet from the bridge and were jumping up and down waving our arms. I remember a teacher yelling at us to “Come Here Right Now.” We just wiggled our butts at her.

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  2. Oh, now I remember that you were among ‘the bad boys’, David! Were you in on the dyeing of Pimmit Run that time?
    (I was scared to death to cross that bridge the first couple of times, but more scared to break the rules and go around it!)

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  3. From David:
    Then there was the time that Tommy and I blocked the Pimmit Drive end of the bridge and wouldn’t let anybody off. The hand of doom, AKA the crossing guard from up the steet got a hold of us. The bridge cleared and we were taken by the scruff of our necks back to school.

    I loved that bridge…

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  4. The bridge was charming…do you know if it is still there,(or a new one?) Once I wasn’t afraid of falling through the slats, I was fine with it! You WERE a BAD BOY!
    How did you turn out so well?

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  5. From Mary Bayless-Jarvis:
    Your memory is amazing! Thanks for refreshing mine. How did I do that hair?!

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    • I don’t know, Mary; you were always well-turned-out. We had a great class that year. They had realized just how smart you were.(All my memory used to be amazing…the long-term in intact, the short-term went bye-bye.)

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  6. jeff7salter says:

    Enjoyed these recollections, Tonette. And got a good chuckle from David’s comments.
    Davie and me would’ve been buddies, if we’d been in the same class at the same time.

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  7. (I really have to add:REPLY HERE! Today’s Facebook comments BEGGED to be cut and pasted.)

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  8. Yep, here is another cut&paste:Diane wrote:
    “What a fun post! However I guess I didn’ t pay you enough, as my 5th grade pictures are part of it! Thanks for including me in your article. :o)”

    Like

  9. Iris B says:

    love the school photo. I did have a try to find you, but didnt. yes, i needed your help 🙂
    It must be great to be able to have found “old” friends from way back. It’s something I very much like about the “social networks”. I’m sure you treasure that friendship. I know mum (who i’d consider a generation ahead of you) meets her friends/school mates on a regular basis. They love it, although, and quite to mum’s dismay, the group’s getting smaller and smaller.

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    • Thanks,Iris; I have changed.I used to look more like my father’s side and now I look like my mother’s,(although they were mostly nicer-looking.I wish I looked like that side when they compared them to movie stars…and, trust me,I am not very photogenic.)
      I have another fb account with my full name.Mostly I have it for what I call, ‘people collectors’, but if anyone comes looking, there I am.I found one more and we were in touch for a while.Her brother had married another schoolmate of ours and she regularly saw others.I am happy with the three above; we have become closer friends than we were at school. Mary and I have a great story…maybe one day…

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  10. Great school pictures. How adorable you all were. I went to elementary school in Stafford County, Va so we were neighbors but I would have been the pesky little kind since I started first grade in 1967.

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