Saturday, February 15, 2014

School Days

Today's pictures bring back many memories (most of them good!) of my days as a kid in grade school. My navy family moved a lot, so I went to many different schools, and yet there was a sameness to them too, whether it was on the East or West coast.

Can't you just smell the industrial floor cleaner and chalk dust? Maybe some wet wool and the linseed oil smell of old linoleum too. All those kids are trying not to be fidgety. Finger paintings adorn the walls (there must have been a sale on red finger paint) - each one is a jewel worthy of exhibition. I assume that the lady in light blue is the teacher, but who are those women to the right? The animal cutouts are fun (a polar bear and a giraffe with a monkey passenger). That may or may not be a stack of new textbooks on the table in the foreground. 

I have no musical aptitude, despite years of piano lessons. But I was always a little bit envious of the kids in the school band; it just looked like fun. This 1950's slide was labeled "Junior Band - Ranch Days", which explains the occasional cowboy hat. 


Nanook said...

I have spotty memories of elementary (grammar) school. But one I've never forgotten was the live, caged monkey in my second grade classroom. No foolin'. Even odder, this was in an LA Unified School District classroom. Can you imagine all the "rules" this situation would violate these times-? (We were waaaaay beyond red, finger paint art).

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Perhaps those other women were Room Mothers? That is, if they had such a thing back then. When I was in elementary school we had designated Room Mothers that would come and help out with our holiday parties.

Geez, how high is the ceiling in that first pic?

Anonymous said...

I can't decide which photo I like more! I'll bet Junior Band was really cool cuz everybody could wear their cowboy hats indoors, and the best girls allowed!!

I'm with Tokyo about the Room Mothers. Today, they would be soccer moms with vans.

Awesome images Major. Thank you!

Bill in Denver

K. Martinez said...

The coat racks are a familiar fixture from grade school memories.

These class rooms look rather old fashioned compared to the grade school I attended as a child. When I started grade school in 1965 it had wall-to-wall carpeting and modern desks with separate plastic chairs. Of course the school was newly built and touted as all modern and state of the art. I do remember the pre-school I went to having linoleum floors though.

Speaking of chalk dust, I remember us kids slapping the chalk erasers together to create chalk dust clouds in each others faces. I wonder how healthy that was.

Nice set today. Thanks, Major.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

@K. Martinez

It wasn't safe at all. The bad seed in our class had to stay after school every day and clap the erasers and I heard later he died of the dreaded "white lung" disease from the constant exposure.

I went to catholic elementary so we had caged penguins (nuns) and they whupped us when we got out of line. Also not happening in todays school.

I like the second picture. I remember we had this Freddy Kruger like contraption that held 5 pieces of chalk so you could draw the lines on the board for music class. Also worked good for writing five times the punishment lines (at the same time)on the board after school. So I'm told anyway. ;-)

Nanook said...

Our grammar school had an electric eraser cleaner. Basically it was a self-contained small vacuum (w/cloth dust bag), which had an 18" long channel with guides that had a small slot perpendicular to the guides which sucked the chalk dust out of the erasers. And it worked really well.

I never saw the results of what happens when it came time to empty the bag. I'm certain the surrounding area resembled that of a mushroom cloud.

Anonymous said...

At my school in the 60's, it was considered a privilege to go outside and "clean the erasers" by slapping and thumping them against the exterior brick wall. It left a mess on the walls but keep the dust outside too.

Chalk that one up to being a teacher's pet.

Bill in Denver

K. Martinez said...

@Alonzo P. Hawk

I didn't think that chalk dust was good for you. Oh well, too late now.

I went to a Catholic pre-school and remember one of the nuns leading me down the hallway by pulling my ear until it hurt if I didn't keep up with her. A little harsh for a 4 year old.

Man, I remember those Freddie Krueger like contraptions. One of the chalk pieces would always fell out when I used it.

Chuck said...

I occasionally used to stick small pieces of chalk in the space between the felt pads on the erasers so that when the teacher tried to use them, she'd end up writing on the board instead.

I can remember my third grade teacher, Mrs Hauser (who was only a year from retirement in 1977 and definitely old-school), using one of my booby-trapped erasers, going into a rage, and hurling the eraser across the classroom. She apparently failed to see the humor in the situation. I discontinued the practice immediately.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nano ok, man, I thought we were cool with a bunch of polliwogs, but a caged monkey trumps that any day!

TokyoMagic!, that is actually a movie set, not a real classroom. There is no ceiling! And room mothers is a good guess, it makes sense.

Bill in Denver, the band does look like fun, but there's at least one or two girls!

K. Martinez, I went to an old school in Virginia, and a pretty old school in Pennsylvania, so they remind me a lot of my childhood. I never got to clean the erasers, as much as I wanted to.

Alonzo, it it so funny, I totally remember those chalk holders that drew the music lines, I want one just to have!

Nanook... An electric eraser cleaner. Now I've heard everything!

Bill in Denver, remember the big erasers with the chamois on one side? I really liked those!

K. Martinez, I am very glad that I didn't ever have to deal with angry nuns!

Melissa said...

Man! There are a few bored and fidgety kids in every class picture, but every single kid in that shot is bored and fidgety, even the goddy-goody overachievers in the front row. Even the teacher and the classroom mothers look bored and fidgety. Maybe it's the last day before winter break and everyone has a cold. Even the monkey climbing the giraffe's neck doesn't look like his heart is in it. Must be radium or Kryptonite something in that blue and white box on the floor.

My parents were too cheap to spring for a band instrument, but Mom felt sorry enough for me that she got me a decent recorder and I taught myself to sight read and finger with it. So, aside from playing with early-music ensembles, when I got to be an adult I could pick up most wind instruments pretty quickly. I still get that pang of envy when I see school bands, though.

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