It is official my friends…..School started today here in SW Florida…and I can’t help but remember the old country school bell ringing…announcing to all that classes were about to begin, and bright yellow/gold school buses are everywhere.
Actually, I never rode the bus to school. The only time I ever rode a bus was in my junior high, many years later, traveling to and from sporting events.
I know my children believe I came across the prairie in a covered wagon….carrying my walking stick for support on the dusty ruts of a trail, my large floppy sun bonnet blowing in the hot Kansas wind.
But tain’t so…..not quite, my little grasshoppers!
Although in later years we did own a covered wagon and drove the team in parades, often times carrying the Governor of New Mexico.
But way before that….I went to a one room school for my first grade year.
We literally lived in the middle of a wheat field and I walked the half mile on a sandy, gravel road to an old country school, similar to the pics below.
Sadly, after I attended the first grade, that building, near Mentor, Kansas was no longer used and it was torn down.
(I don’t think the tearing down of the school had anything to do with me and my academic struggles!) 🙂
However, looking back…I cherish my one and only year in that solitary country building. The class room looked like the picture above.
There were no inside bathrooms, or baseball fields or extensive playground equipment, except for a lone “A” frame of poles that held two swings behind the school. The round, rusty poles were surrounded by foot-tall prairie grass which surrounded the small patches of dirt underneath each swing. Evidence of plenty of use during the 15 minutes of recess twice a day.
There were no sidewalks anywhere on the school ground, just narrow dirt paths leading up to the front door of the school and around the south side of the building! At this point, the single path divided into three paths. One led to each of the outdoor outhouses (boys and girls) and one to the swings. Sunflowers sprung up in odd places, but we gave them no never mind. They were very common. I guess that is why we stayed on the dirt paths and never noticed or felt the tall grasses or sunflowers except to spy a grasshopper or two, which was always fun. We loved to watch the grasshopper spit up “tobacco”, as we called it and if the grasshopper spit on someone else….that was even better.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the single merry-go-round that sit lopsided in front of the school….similar to the one above, only difference to this picture is we never saw green grass ANYWHERE on the school property.
That reddish, paint-chipped, squeaky disk served two purposes.
One it was the most dangerous, as one had to have a death grip to keep from being flung to the far reaches of the school ground as the older kids pushed it as they ran in circles faster and faster, with the hopes that a younger human projectile would come flying off the wheel.
Second, it was a great place to eat one’s lunch, that is if you had not participated in the momentum spinning of the merry-go-round and still had a calm and quiet tummy.
We would squeeze in between the handles of the merry-go-round, position our tin lunch boxes behind us on the nubby platform and use our feet to slowly sway back and forth, eroding the dirt path around the contraption even further. We didn’t mind that our shoes were shrouded in the dusty firmament…or that our anklets that were once white were now a tan-ish brown sporting a prickly, sand burr or two that had become entangled in our socks if we got too close to the prairie grass.
Those sand burrs had “tiny spikes” all around the orb, but they were not the dangerous ones.
The ones we really hated to pick out of our socks was the Mexican sand burrs. Those had “long slender thorns”, resembling the spoked living room clocks adorning the walls in the 50’s and 60’s….and if one poked you…it left a burning sensation that seem to take forever to go away. AND If you got one in one of your bare feet…one was sidelined until one could hop to a sitting place and gingerly remove it, all the while scrunching up one’s face as if that would ease the pain.
Yes, I have been there, done that!
Today, I see these yellow buses everywhere and at all times of the day. It makes me wonder just what are the hours of school? I have been told that now-a-days, the hours vary depending on the age of the student.
Do you have memories of your early school days?
Share them please, I would love for you to comment.
Have a great week-end!
And if you are driving, watch out for those school zones….