Thursday, August 28, 2008

School Daze

There's just something about the beginning of school - it brings a certain feeling to the air around me. I was only 5 when I began first grade. There was no kindergarten in our little Batesville, Arkansas town - and we lived way out in the boonies on a campground. But we had our own little built-in play group (which is what kindergarten was mostly in those days - now if they don't know their numbers, letters, colors, they're behind already!)


I have a September birthday, as does my sister, so we almost always got new dresses for school - usually some form of red plaid. I still get those feelings of excitement that are ingrained in my body when school starts - the smell of a school is the same everywhere, every generation.

My "official" first grade picture


Then the first day of college - oh, the excitement! Setting up the dorm room is top priority, of course.

When you're the teacher, there is another level of excitement and hard work - and panic! Especially that first year.


When you live in a neighborhood with lots of kids, as we did when our own family was growing, there is electrictricity in the air on that first day - especially when they all gathered and walked to school together. Those are our two blondies on the left.



Then I began working for the school district, so we all geared up for the first day of school together. I remember my first day at the middle school - I had worked there for a couple of weeks before school started, and thought it was a really neat place to work. Then the kids arrived! Oh, my, goodness - the energy in that building full of 6th-8th graders was palpable. I was exhausted every afternoon!

Sending your firstborn off to college - another huge school milestone and memory. We were on our way to church just before leaving Kristen there that afternoon.

The move to the position at the university was a good one - the excitement of the first day of school was still there, but we worked all summer, so there wasn't such a delineation for me. But that first day for freshmen - I put up brightly-colored signs to direct them to classrooms, or we didn't get anything done but give directions.

So now I'm retired. But the excitement in the air is still upon us - because the next generation is going off to school. The circle of life continues.

Care Bear's "First Day of First Grade" shot



Sammy said...

This is a great post, Dawn! I love the your official first grade picture. You were such a little cutie-pie! :-)

And seeing the lunchboxes in everyone's hands in the next picture brought back memories. Of course, I had the exact same kind of lunch box--plastic, with it's own thermos. I remember feeling so grown-up because of that thermos.

And Care Bear looks so sweet and all ready for school! I hope she's having a great time there!

nancygrayce said...

I always loved the beginning of every school year!

Yes, my grandchildren have a wonderful mother! I am so thankful to God every day for her.

Needled Mom said...

There are so many memories from school days. Being a hyperactive child, the best part of starting school was the purchasing of the supplies. I really hated school until I got into nurses training and got to study what I was interested in (math and sciences) and got to be active in the hospitals. My husband always has a secret desire to go back when the kids return to classes each year - a thought that is the last thing in my mind!

Great pictures of everyone heading off.

Barb said...

You're so right, Dawn. Some things never change and one of them is how exciting the first day of school is!

Susie said...

Hi Dawn,
This was such a fun post with all the "then and now pictures". The first day of school always seems like a new beginning, doesn't it!
I couldn't help but compare the background on your pictures of your neighborhood. You just would not believe how similar ours look! I know it's about the same vintage and we also live on a court.
Enjoy the rest of the week. It's blazing hot here..

Karen said...

Fun pictures! I love the one of my dad, I see bits of my own little ones in that picture of him.

Care Bear looks so sweet!

Judith said...

I love the children's eager and expectant faces, and those lunch kits bring back such memories. But I must go now, to the nearest store for some new pens, and crisp notebooks.

Robin said...

What a great chronological essay! There is something amamzing about those "first days!"
Your little Care Bear looks totally excited!
And I love the red plaid still today - it makes me feel warm and good all over.

Jess said...

How long did you live in AR? Batesville is an hour drive from where i live.

Enjoyed your post.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

The first day of school was always so exciting for me! After first grade, you always looked for old friends and made new friends. I dreaded moving to junior high because we had to change classes and I was scared I'd get lost and be late for class on our huge campus. In reality our campus is teeny tiny compared to most but at the time it seemed like it was spread over miles!

Can you believe that Monday is Sept. 1? This Summer has sped by and Fall is fast approaching!



Linda said...

You've captured it perfectly Dawn, with your words and pictures.
I, too, always loved the first day of school (after kindergarten - where I cried for days). I love getting new shoes and a new outfit,but what I always loved best was the new notebooks and pens. I still love those!!

PEA said...

Reading your post made me feel the excitement I remember feeling on the first day of school!! Mom always made sure I had a new dress and new shoes. I remember getting to class and being so thrilled when the teacher would give us each 2 pencils, an eraser, a ruler, glue and notebooks:-) I so loved seeing all your pictures. Care Bear looks so pretty for her first day of school!! School doesn't start here until after Labour Day so the kids are enjoying a few more days of vacation! xoxo

Mary said...


Ah yes, the first day of school goes on for generation after generation. I loved my first day of school. At that time I went to a one-room school that held grades 1 to 8. After two years we went to another school that was a two-room school and then after two years there we had a brand new six-room school. In my opinion nothing could compare to that one-room school of so long ago.

Love all the photos. Why don't you stop by and enter your name in my Harvest Giveaway.


Mountain Mama said...

I can certainly relate. Your post is very well written, so much so that I can smell the new erasers and pencils. It was a simpler time.
I have great grandchildren in school now. I wonder if they will have the same memories of the first day of school.

Coe said...

She looks so excited about going to school. I know she will have a great year.
When I was in 1st grade I got in trouble and had to be sent to the principal's office. I had lipstick all over my face. Well my mom taught at the same school and the principal knew me well and he can't keep a straight face. So I think I ended up in the nurse’s office to have my face washed. There were advantages going to school where your mom taught!

Sioux said...

Wow, Dawn. I love this whole piece. It's funny...there's a whole lot about teaching that I don't miss, but I do miss the kids and that feeling you get on the first day of a new year. Two of my daughters are aides, and I hear it from them. They both work with juvenile delinquents, but they both get excited about the first day of school!!

Love to Care Bear on the first day of school.

You know, I started first grade in 1948, and not only did we not have kindergarten, but we had only half day first grade because there so many of us pre-war babies in Stephenville, Texas.

Christa said...

Ah, the first days of school. It is so exciting, even as a teacher. Yes I agree the 1st year is scarry, but each class is different. The lesson planning....
Love your 1st grade picture and Care Bears, I see a family resemblance, a couple of cuties.
God Bless

Maine Mom said...

Great post! The start of another school year does change the atmosphere and routine everywhere. It will be different here on Tuesday when I send my 3 oldest to school. I'm looking forward to it. :-)

My Mom is in the middle of the Freshmen coming to our local University today. She was not looking forward to the extra traffic, but she was looking forward to talking with the parents as she works at an information table this afternoon.

Care Bear is such a cute First Grader!

Mary said...


I've entered you in my Harvest Giveaway. If you win, you get the house and the gooseboy and some other goodies instead of the candles. How does that sound? I understand allergies and wouldn't want you to feel left out. ;-)


Mountain Mama said...

Hi Dawn. Just want to say I found you at BigDadGib's. I am also CBO.

Theresa said...

What a lovely post. I love the excitement in the air on the first day of school.....and the last day.

Sioux said...

Hi, Dawn. I did what you asked and posted a short story about the ring. Thanks for asking!!

groovyoldlady said...

Our excitement was a bit subdued this year since we had school off and on all summer. I didn't even need to buy any paper or #2 pencils. Really anticlimactic!

Linds said...

My school days seem a very long time ago, but I remember them so clearly. Mind you, so do my children's first days at school! But I remember the buzz of getting ready so well!

Mimi said...

I always loved getting the new book the lower grades... and the zippered notebook in highschool...

these backpacks they use now are so very handy...too bad they came along after I was an old lady..

good memories are those of our school days...

Sharon Lynne said...

Good memories! My first day of school is 9/4. I'm looking forward to being back with the kids. (But I wouldn't mind a few more days of summer!)

Barb said...

Hi again, Dawn,

I thought I had your new email address in my address book, but apparently not.

Will you email me? You just won The Angels of Morgan Hill in my latest giveaway. :-)