Sunday, September 9, 2007

Back to Skool

Back. To. School. Three magic words. Whether you have kids going back or are going back yourself (on either side of the desk), you cannot deny the incredible wonder of those three words.

New pencils, new crayons, new notebooks, new binders. New books . Loved the new books. Especially when they really were new. Mostly what we were handed had been used by several classes before us, but on occasion, we were lucky enough to be the very first to use a particular textbook. I loved listening to the creak of the binding being opened for the first time and sniffing the somewhat oily smell of the shiny pages with pictures (we loved to sniff dittoes, too. We were convinced the smell from the purple ink could make us high. Yes, I’m that old.).

And let’s not forget new teachers! First year or fifteenth year…their experience didn’t matter a whit on opening day. They were new to us and that was cause for tons of anxiety the night before. What would she look like? Did he grade really hard? Would she be really strict? By the end of the year we’d either be old friends or hard enemies, but on that first day…anything was possible.

My favorite and my scariest first day of school both happened on the same day. After eight years in public schools, I decided I needed more focus on learning academics and less focus on survival. My junior high years were filled with violence (not a day went by that I didn’t witness at least one fistfight) and I wanted a change. So I talked my parents into sending me to one of several Catholic high schools in our city.

That sounded great in theory. But I’m one who doesn’t really like change. Keeping the status quo is usually just fine with me. Sure my head wanted the move…but the morning of that first day…my heart quailed. What the heck was I thinking? New building, new people, new everything! Heck, I was even wearing a uniform! I didn’t know a single person of the five hundred and twenty-five ninth graders who entered that building that day (a fact I later realized was wrong. As the year progressed, I discovered there were actually two people I’d gone to school with in elementary school or in junior high…two out of five hundred and twenty-five).

So what on earth could make this become by favorite first day? That understanding would come only with hindsight. Later I understood the tremendous courage I’d had to muster to walk through that door and I still take pride in doing something that scared me so much. I also ended up loving that high school…the teachers, the kids, even the administration all combined to create an incredible experience for this shy, scared fourteen-year-old freshman who screwed her courage to the sticking place and got through that first day. I’d not trade those years for anything.

So what about you? What are your favorite memories of the start of school? What made them so memorable? And more importantly, did ya learn anything?


Ruby Storm said...

Ruby Storm said...
Evenin' to the Divine Ms. D!

Ah yes, the first day of skool. I remember it well. Why? Because I was terror stricken. I didn't start my first day of kindergarten until two and a half weeks into the school year? Why? Because I'd been hospitalized with rheumatic fever. Man, I did NOT want to go to school. I hated walking in that door because all the other five-year-olds had their set routine, I hated it because I didn't know any songs and I hated it because I had to sit next to some kid who had this horrible skin disease on his face, hands and arms. Turns out it was only freckles, but hell, I'd never seen anything like that in my life and was certain that the kid was an alien for sure. make a long story short my best friend in the world sidled up beside me and held my hand (this incidently is the same gal who was my Maid of Honor years later) and she promised me she'd practice all the songs with me until I knew them. You might all be going, ooo ahhh, isn't that cute. Well. Didn't matter. I still thought the entire concept of skool rather sucked a big dick.

What did I do about it? I skipped out. SNORT! Really. At some point of the day we all lined up, held hands (now I'm holding hands with some kid that had green boogers hanging on his lip) and away we filed off to the playground for a bit of recess. Once there I figured to hell with it and decided to leave. Yup, I took off for home which was eight blocks away.

I will NEVER forget the look on my mom's face as I walked up the ally to our house. (I guess the skool called -- of all the damn things -- and said I was missing.) Anyway, Mom tore out the back door of our house with one arm in her coat sleeve as she fought the other one, and raced for the car. It was then that she looked up and saw me standing by the garage. She raced to me, checked to see if I was all right then dropped to her knees and started to cry.

Hell, wish I would have known she felt that bad about me not liking skool. So I figured the least I could do was go back and give it another try.

Hugs, Ruby :)

Lynn LaFleur said...

I loved school. From the very first day of first grade (no kindergarten in my little town), I loved it. There were about 20 kids in my class. The amount went up and down over the years. My graduating class consisted of 16, 6 girls and 10 boys.

My favorite subject, you might ask? English, of course! Followed closely by math. I'm not sure why I liked math. Algebra and geometry never made sense to me, even though I made good grades in them. I loved the business courses too--shorthand, typing, bookkeeping. No computers yet. They didn't make it into the schools until way after I graduated.

Yep, I was one of those nerdy kids who really liked school. I still enjoy learning new things, especially on the computer. There's so much out there that fascinates me! If I hadn't decided to become a writer, I probably would've done something in the computer field.

Hmm, maybe I could write a book about a nerdy computer gal who wins the handsome hero...


Arianna Hart said...

Boy oh boy do I know what you're talking about!

I too left my public school and all my friends to go to a Catholic high school. I was scared to death that first day, but I've never regretted the decision. The lessons I learned there have been more valuable than anything I could have learned in a book. The most important is that I had the courage to do something different from the rest of my friends.
I haven't stopped since!