Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back To School Memories

Riley just finished pre-school, and wanted to see where her kindergarden room would be back in June!

This time of year always takes me back to when I was a kid and after a carefree summer it was time to head back to school. Growing up in the fifties, was so very different than growing up today. There were no uniforms, there were no gangs, and life just seemed simpler. My folks didn’t have a lot of money. My Dad, after getting out of the Army, went to work for Southern California Edison. My Mom did what most moms did back then, she stayed home with me and my sister and took care of the house. I attended Patrick Henry elementary school here in Long Beach, CA. The school is still there today and my hopes were that my granddaughter, Riley, would go there since she is beginning kindergarten in a few weeks and lives in the house I grew up in. As we all know, things have changed a great deal since I was a kid. Patrick Henry is now Spanish immersion, so she will be attending nearby Bircham elementary.

It’s funny after all these years the things you remember. When it was almost time for school to start, my Mom would take my sister and I school shopping. Now most schools have uniforms and there isn’t a whole lot of variety to choose from. Back then, we got all of our clothes for the school year at once. And of course, I wanted to wear everything all at once. Here in sunny SoCal, our fall weather can bring on the heat before it begins to cool down. I know there were days I was just throwing a fit to wear one of my new sweaters, no matter how hot it was. And I also remember sweating to death as the school day dragged on! Then there were the dreadful “saddle shoes” my Mom insisted that I wear. A lot of my friends, I felt, were so lucky because they got to wear tennis shoes. My Mom always thought those were bad for your feet, thus I was stuck with the saddle shoes until one eventful day. I had a lot of “sass” in me as a kid. I think I was about in the third grade and I had popped off to my Mom about something. Back then it wasn’t a crime to spank your kid with a belt. I can still hear the sound of my Dad whippin’ that belt off. It was like the sound of pulling the cord on a lawn mower, and I use to run like hell to get away! So when my Mom threatened me three or four times more with the belt, as she chased me through our house, I finally stopped running and accidently (on purpose) stepped backwards on her foot. Yep, I broke her foot and off course when everyone asked her what happened, it was, “Susie kicked me”! Nice.

Everything changes as time marches on. I still like to remember all the fun I had growing up on Senasac Avenue. After school when we use to have a mean “Good Humor” ice cream man, whose truck would drive down our street daily, me and all of my neighborhood buddies would hide in the bushes, and yell that magic word, “STOP”! He would get out of his truck and find no one. Realizing he had been pranked again (you would have thought he would have learned after a few times) he would get out of the truck and look all over for us, but we were never caught! And how can I forget the smell of those glazed donuts when the Helm’s Bakery truck would stop across the street. The double back doors on the truck would open, and out would come that very special drawer that held the freshly baked glazed donuts!

Childhood friends from those days on Senasac and attending Patrick Henry still hold a place in my heart. My very bestfriend in those days, Donna Nagel, was my buddy I would always sit by me at lunch time! Of course that was unless my Mom had packed me an egg salad sandwich. She hated the smell so she wouldn’t sit by me on those days! I went to school with Donna all the way until we graduated from Millikan High school longer than I like to remember.
So, as I watch my oldest little granddaughter get ready to start kindergarten here pretty soon, I will also be there watching her walk away, on her own, to her first day of school. Yes, times have changed, and Riley’s memories won’t be like mine, but she will have her own special memories of her own. But, the one thing that will always be the same is when our little ones turn around and wave “good-bye” as they start the school year. Because in our hearts we all know how fast they grow in a blink of an eye!

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