Wednesday, August 5, 2009

First Day Memories Of First Grade

My first day of school was in September 1965. I remember my mom driving me the mile or so from our house on Allenwood Drive to the fairly new Barksdale Elementary School on Madison Street in Clarksville.

I posed for the obligatory picture in front of the school entrance in my yellow short-sleeved shirt and black slacks. Then we entered the building which became my home away from home for the next six years. We found our way to the gymnasium where a lady asked me my name and then we entered the noisy gym where first graders were congregating before room assignments.

The principal, Albert E. Alcock, made brief comments and introduced the first grade teachers: Mrs. Morrison, Mrs. Edmondson, Mrs. Council, and Mrs. Head. (If anyone reading this could let me know of any errors I would be obliged). I believe the names were read alphabetically and as our names were called we were to come forward and form a line behind our new teacher.

When it was my turn, I was called to Mrs. Martha Edmondson's class. After the roll, we began the first of thousands of single-file trips down the hall to our new classrooms. The desks were also arranged alphabetically so as we entered the first kid in got the first desk and so on until we all were seated.

I was amazed that the upper right corner of my desk already had my name taped in big letters. How did they know? My seat mate to my left was one of the cutest little girls in the world - Martha Murphy (now Davis and a facebook friend). She had lived five or six houses down the street from me but had moved a couple of years before first grade.

John Wood, Lucy Rogers (Goad), and Libba Watson (Crook) were some of the other classmates. Mrs. Martha was a very sweet older lady who was near retirement in 1965. I have only very vague memories of her other than to say she was about the most perfect first grade teacher a kid could have.

One of the best memories of first grade was we had a milk break and nap near the end of the school day. It was during one of those naps I wiggled out my first tooth! I was looking at Martha who was also awake and I held it out to show her my prize. We grinned and kept quiet lest trouble were to befall us.

The classrooms for first grade had bathrooms attached and we had to raise our hand with a one or two finger symbol to signal what business was to be done.

The highlight of the school year was field day. We brought lunch from home and had organized competitions and enjoyed a day long recess.

One of my facebook friends, Laughrie Bryant (Tucker), is now a kindergarten teacher at Barksdale. She wrote about field day a couple of months ago and I was taken back those forty-plus years to Barksdale and the happy days we spent there on Madison Street in the late 1960s.

Birthday Greetings!

Happy Birthdays to my father-in-law Roger Knott, my mother-in-law Ann Burt, and my brother Tim Nelson!