Memories of grade school

I went to Robert Frost Elementary in West Valley City, Utah.

In the late 70’s when I was in 6th grade I recall a teacher I really liked. He was Mr. Kranz.

He had this table next to his. It was for the ‘misbehaved’. I’d purposely misbehave so I’d sit there.

I think he sent me and another kid to kindergarten for a day for misbehaving. Can’t recall why. – – I can still recall that the kindergarten room we went to was on the southwest corner room of the part of the building that sticks out to the west (which is not where it was when I was in kindergarten). I actually had fun there. I recall that we had to do what the kindergarten kids did. On one assignment we had to draw a tree. I was stunned how kids drew trees. Many didn’t even resemble a tree at all. One boy drew a brown rectangle and then put the leaves all along the outer edge. They did the leaves with a sponge that was dipped in some green ink. – –

It seems he had a moustache that were pointed (like the ‘handlebar moustaches’ of the old west). I think his hair was sand colored.

Once, one of our projects was to make a kite. I wanted to build one that looked like the nazi badge of the eagle holding the swastika. He gave me this big lecture on how bad the nazi’s and Hitler were. To be frank, I didn’t know anything about what they were about, I just thought it was a neat looking.

I recall telling him, in the last time I saw him (right before I went to Jr. High) that I wanted to be an Architect. He seemed proud. I didn’t become an Architect, but I have been a draftsman for almost 17 years now.

I can recall my first day at school. When was it . . . 1972? I lived right across the street from the school. I walked across the street with my mom. I had these pants on that had footprints all over it and this really wide leather belt (I got a picture of it, I ought to see if I can find it). The kindergarten door was on the south side of the building not too far from my house. I went in with my mom. There were all these boys and girls I’ve never seen before. I recall the teacher saying “line up!” Alot of us just stood there as if to say, “what?” Me included. A couple knew what to do. At that time the boys were in one line and the girls in another. Since I lived in that house til the early 2000’s I saw the kids over there all the time. Sometime in the 80’s, I think, they began to have the male and females mixed in the lines. That revolted me and disgusts me to this day. Sort of interesting. – – I recall the teacher would put her hand out and say ‘boys . . girls’. Then we’d line up there. Then we’d follow her as she walked, two lines like two tails following behind her (I always thought that was comical). My recollection is that when we face forward boys were usually on the left and the girls were on the right. It wasn’t always that way though – –

I recall how I’d do anything to get out of doing anything in the school plays. We had to do one every year, I think. I’d try to be in the choir and hide in the back so no one would see me. That cracks me up when I think about it today.

I recall how all the classrooms were open. That is, they were not in a single room. Many had three walls though. I recall Mr. Kranz’s class was in the open with no walls at all. Some time in the 80’s we went in the school. It wasn’t like when I was in school. I think all the classrooms were enclosed and the open space where Mr. Kranz’s room was was now enclosed. My dad told me that when I went to school he was told that there was a theory that open classrooms were better for learning. “I guess they found out it wasn’t true,” he said.

I recall, in the 70’s, all that women lib crap. Several times, when we came in for recess, I’d open the doors for girls and they’d say, “male chauvinist!” – – actually, they called us “chauvinist pig!” which, to me, is like an insult (if a girl called me that today I’d probably smack her in the face) – – . This took place at the door on the north western side. You know, the one facing north. One time I nearly slammed the door in the girls face. I thought it was rude to call someone a name for being nice to them. I talked to a number of guys who felt the same way. I know that some guys did slam it in their face too!

When I was at Robert Frost it was in Granger. I can’t recall when they changed it to West Valley City. I think it was in the early 80’s.

I have this recollection that my dad told me the school was designed in California and was originally going to be built there. For some reason they built it here. I also seem to recall talking to the janitor, in my later years, who told me the same thing and that the building was not desinged for this climate. As a result, they were having all sorts of problems with the roof. It seems like it was ‘experimental’ or something, with the open classrooms I guess. I don’t know how true this is though.

I know there is a plaque by the front doors that tells the architectural firm who built it and I believe they are in California. I seem to recall it said it was constructed in 1969.

I have always loved the architecture of Robort Frost Elementary. It’s a building I’ve grown to love.

I lived right across the street from it from 1972 to about 2004. There are two white brick houses directly in front of it. Mine was the one to the east, next to the orange house. For me the school and it’s grounds became more than a school. Every time I walked out of my house or looked out the front window it was there . . . for about 32 years! Whenever we wanted to play we went over there. I jokingly called it my ‘other back yard’. I’d take my nieces there to play and I’d go for walks around it. The school, I guess, sort of grew on me. I hated to see any alteration to it or it’s grounds.

When I first went to school in about 1972 or 1973 the Kindergarten was in the southeast corner of the south extension of the building. The doors there went into the classroom. That’s the doors I went through on my first day of school. I seem to recall it was one long room. One area would be for one teacher and another for another teacher, it seems. I can’t recall how many teachers there were, maybe 2 or 3. We’d also play games and that in the square right to the south. I seemed to think it was neat cause I could always see my house. I don’t remember my teachers name.

Oddly, after I was out of kindergarten I don’t ever recall going in those rooms again.

It seems my first to third grades were in the rooms to the west of kindergarten. These rooms consisted of ‘niches’ really. In reality, it was a big open area. Along the outside walls they had walls coming out creating niches for classrooms which all faced a main central area. If I recall right the niche walls didn’t even connect to the outer walls, as I seem to recall going from classroom to classroom that way. I remember having a class in the room on the southwest corner (I believe it was second grade). One to the east of that (first grade?) and one to the north of it, next to the entrance (third grade?). I don’t remember any of my teachers names.

My fourth grade was at the corner where the west extension and the north extension meet (which would be like the north west inside corner). Later, we moved one classroom to the west (so we were between the corner and the door). There were no walls at all. The classroom area was separated, I believe, by tables, filing cabinets and that. It seems my teacher was Mrs. Paynter.

My fifth grade room was on the north west corner of the west extension of the building. This area was similar to my first to third grade area. There were walls creating niches. It seems some of the walls were connected to the outer walls and some weren’t. It seems, though, that we had to move outside to some temporary rooms they set up in the flat asphalt playground to the north east of the building. My teacher was Mrs. Hoffling.

My sixth grade was sort of in the open area in the middle of the west extension. Again, there were no walls and the area was separted by tables, filing cabinets and, I think, small temporary walls. My teacher was Mr. Kranz.

Oddly, I never had a class nor went in the rooms in the north extension while I was there. I did walk up there in the 90’s though. It was all new to me. To be frank, I didn’t know there were class rooms there.

In the latter years I was there I was amazed how much of the building I’ve never seen. Still, to this day, there’s a lot of that building I’ve not seen. I recall, in my last year there, being with a friend in the room behind the stage. I had no idea there were anything there at all.

I recall, in fifth grade (1977, 78?), me and some friends were out back playing during recess. We were on the slope right to the north of the building. We were to the west of the telephone pole. I don’t know what we were doing but we were playing a game. I think there were two teams, one on the top of the hill and one on the bottom. I think we were trying to pull kids over from the other side to our side. Once they were pulled over they were ‘out’. Anyways, I don’t know if I was the last guy or what but I became like a tug-of-war rope with both sides pulling me. I had, it seems, 10 guys pulling me on my arms and another10 guys pulling me on my legs. It apparently was quite a thing as I recall one of the teachers (it could of been Mrs. Hoffling) thought it was so hilarious that she took a picture of us. I’d like to see that picture now.
I then recall that a number of other kids would try to imitate us so the teacher would take a picture of them. That made me chuckle back then.

Approximately on that same spot in fourth grade I broke my left collar bone, the only bone I ever broke. We were playing ‘army’. You know how army guys would jump forward and roll across their backs? Well, we were doing this down that slope. Apparently, I landed too hard on my left shoulder. I felt something that hurt and had to stop playing. If I recall right I was alittle dazed. Anyways the bell rang and we went inside. I was in Mrs. Paynters class (which was just east of the door) and the pain was too much. I started to cry. Everyone looked at me and the teacher came over and asked me what was wrong. I told her my shoulder hurt and what we were doing. She took me down to the nurses office. Except for one other time this was the only time I was in the front office area. They had a bed there in this small room. I layed down and they called my mom. While I was laying there one of my best friends, Kris Magnusson, came to see me. I remember this stunned me to think he’d come and see me. Later my mom came and got me. Oddly, no one believed there was anything serious with my shoulder. Finally, at about 10 pm, since I was still in pain my dad finally took me to the hospital. I had to wear one of those arm brace things, that forces your shoulders to go backward, for I don’t know how long. It apparently did even more damage as later my shoulder kept going out of joint. I had to have surgery to repair a torn ligament. This is the only surgery I’ve had. I can recall going back to school with my brace. Everyone seemed sad for me, which surprised me. I didn’t have to do any physical activities and I remember that made me feel left out.

In fifth grade (about 1978?) we moved out to some moveable classrooms to the northeast of the school. They were situated on a spot that was originally a playground covered in asphalt. It seems my classroom (Mrs. Hofflings) was the northeast building. It seems to me that this was sort of a fun time with the teachers. I think that because everyone was in our own building they put forth more effort to stay together. There seemed to be more of a ‘community spirit’, I thought, and the different teachers tried to do things together. In fact, I recall the teachers mentioning this.

I can recall one incidence. A couple of kids kept causing problems. I don’t know what they did but one of the teachers (I don’t think it was Mrs. Hoffling) said that if they did it again they’d have to run through all the rooms with a too-too (is that spelled right?) on. That’s one of those dresses ballerina’s often wear. Well, whatever it was, they did it and, sure enough, one day they came running into our room. Only one had a too-too on, as they only had one I guess, but they both had to run through each class and dance like a ballerina. It was sort of funny.

I had a class in the building right south of us. Was it a math class? The teacher was Mr. Sorensen. He was sort of an older guy, maybe in his fifties, if I recall right, skinny, tall, and sort of strict. He’d have disputes and fights with some of the boys. I can’t recall for sure, but there may of been shouting arguments at times. It seems he had to restrain himself from striking some of them from time to time. Anyways, one day one of those boys put a thumbtack on his seat. I can still recall it. His desk was on the southeast corner of the building, facing north. He sat down casually, then jumped up and screamed. Then he almost flew into a rage. He knew who did it. If I recall right he grabbed him and practically draged him out of the building. We found out he took him to the principals office and it seems he had to do something, I can’t recall what though. It seems like he had to work in the kitchen during recess or something.

Last night I remembered something I haven’t thought about in years. In ’78 or thereabouts, there was a teachers strike. It only lasted 2 or 3 days, I think. My brother called out to me and I went and looked out our front window and noticed some teachers in the parking lot to the southeast of the building. I don’t think there were many, maybe 10 or so. They were holding signs. It stunned me as I saw several of my teachers there. It was hard for me to visualize any of my teachers doing anything but being a teacher.

I remember having to do fallout shelter drills. I still can’t remember how you get down there. It seems it was somewhere by the main hall. It was like a basement or cellar, if I recall right. It was one big open space that was dark and damp. I recall thinking that I’d hate to have to be with all those kids down here for a long period of time. It seems the whole school filled the room up. I remember that they had a halloween ‘haunted house’ thing down there once. I don’t think I went to it though. But I also might have, as I recall remarking it wasn’t scary at all.

Speaking of halloween, I recall in fifth grade we all had to go in a room. This was the room about halfway along the southside of the western extension. The room was dark. Mrs Hoffling was sitting on a table cross legged with a flashlight on her chest shining upward on her face to make here look scary. She was also dressed up as a vampire or something. I remember that startled me. It seems they told us scary ghost stories. I don’t know why but that always stood out in my mind.

I recall, in that same room, having to do alot of songs. I guess that was where our music class was.

I can remember in that same room, near the end of sixth grade (it might of been our last day as we seemed to just be wandering around), they had some drinks or munchies in that room maybe. My friend, Chad, had a bag and he put his coke in it and pretended it was liqour. That got quite a reaction from some of the girls who were disgusted by it.

I always wondered what my last day at school was like. I have this weird feeling we went to our class in the morning where our teachers made some statements. We then could basically do anything we wanted, socializing and talking to our teachers. I seem to recall going around and talking to some of my teachers. I have this faint recollection I walked all around and even talked to some of my old teachers I had in first or second grade. After a while me and my friend (probably Chad) left. It felt so weird to leave school early. I remember feeling guilty.

I can still remember them telling us how to sit ‘indian style’ in kindergarten. We actually had to be shown how to sit cross legged. I haven’t heard it called ‘indian style’ since grade school. I’ve always hear it called ‘sitting cross legged’.

Speaking of indians, I recall an indian in sixth grade (about 78 or 79). He was a big guy. To me he seemed six feet high. He was sort of a bully, and it seems he was ignorant with people. Anyways, one day I was walking to school and noticed a big commotion in the playground. In the very southwest corner of the school grounds is where the monkey bars were. Everything, at that time, was made of tubular steel, nothing fancy like today. I found out later that day that he was coming down the hill on his bike and ducked to go under some bars. Unfortunately, he lifted his head too early and his jaw hit the bar. It broke his jaw. Later he’d come back to school with his jaw wired shut. They said he had to eat food through a straw. Naturally, he didn’t bully people after that and it seems he was actually a pretty good guy, though I don’t think he associated much with other kids.

Sometime before this I had a weird incidence involving him. As I said, he was sort of a bully. I recall sitting at some tables to the west of Mr. Kranz’s classroom (about in the middle of the western extension). There was a boy and a girl there. I mentioned to the boy that “one day someone isn’t going to take his bullying anymore” or something similar. This was an almost word-for-word repeat of what my mom actually said when I told her about him. Later I was told that the girl told the indian that I wanted to fight him. I was stunned. I never said that nor implied it. I even went to the boy I was telling this to and asked him about it and he agreed I never said this. Anyways, I was scared and, during lunch, I went to Mr. Kranz and told him about it. He told me to meet him after school and tell him it was a misunderstanding and that I had never meant anything like that. And so, when school let out, I actually did wait for him. I can still remember waiting for him near the sidewalk on the south side of the building, sort of southwest of the wall, almost directly in front of my house. He came out and walked toward me. The word had gotten out, apparently, as there were many kids there. I stepped out and he walked right on by. I breathed a sigh of relief. After that I don’t think he took much notice of me.

I remember a funny incidence in first grade, I think (about 1973 or thereabouts). I was in the room sort of in the middle on the very south of the southern extension. The room to the west was on the very southwest corner. My desk was situated so I was sitting with my back to the west wall. I had to go to the bathroom so horribly bad. But, back then, I was so shy I didn’t dare raise my hand. Finally, I couldn’t hold it. The next thing I knew my pants were wet. It was so uncomfortable I finally got up to go to the teachers desk. I remember looking down and seeing a puddle on the chair. My pants, too, were soaking wet. I remember kids chuckled at me. The teacher told me to go to the bathroom. I went to the bathrooms which were situated by the doors on the south west inside corner. Being a kid, the bathroom seemed 20 feet high and massive. I have this vague recollection it was greyish. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do as I had already gone to the bathroom. So I stood there with my wet pants. Then, the teacher opened the door and called my name. At first I was embarassed: a female in a males bathroom! But I went over and she told me she’d call my mom. Since my house was across the street directly south of the doors I just walked over and changed my pants.

I can still recall going to some sort of orientation for kindergarten. At that time we were not living in the house across the street from the school. The orientation was not at Robert Frost but at some other school. This would had to of been about 1972, I would think. I seem to recall the girls wearing clothes similar to what they wore on ‘Brady Bunch’. They had those short skirts that, if they lift their arms, you can see everything. Recently, I’ve seen an episode of ‘Brady Bunch’ and, I swear, that’s what they were wearing. Anyways, they gave us this big sheet that had all these pictures of the characters from ‘The Flintsones’ on it. The sheet seemed to be like a 11 x 17 sheet. The figures seemed small, like 3/4 or 1 inch tall. There may of been about 20 scattered about on it. I thought that was the neatest thing in the world, I remember.

I remember in about 1977 or so they had some outdoor performance involving the whole school. It was on the asphalt area to the west of the building. They set up bleachers and everything for the parents and that. It seems the bleachers were up for several days as we’d go play on them after school (they may have been up all weekend). We did some sort of a dance involving a top hat (which we made out of cardboard – I have this vaque recollection mine was orange) and a cane. This cane was made out of a yardstick where we put colored paper on the outside to represent a cane. We were supposed to bring one from home but I never did. As a result, Mrs. Paynter gave me hers which she uses in class. I’m not sure but I ended up breaking it in half. I think I sat on it accidentally. We, the school, sat on the slope to the west of the building facing the asphalt where all the performances were. When it was our turn our grade got up and went over and did our dance or whatever. As we sat there, I tried to hide the broken yardstick and put my hat on it. But the hat didn’t have a top on it, as all we did is roll cardboard to make the vertical segment of the hat. Some girl noticed and said, “you broke Mrs. Paynters ruler”. I recall that this made me feel like crap and I felt really bad for it. She wasn’t mad at me at all though.

On the north side of that asphalt covered playground to the west of the building they have a bunch of tether ball poles. In the whole time I was at the school I only got to play tether ball a couple of times, it seems. I recall that when recess came we’d all run to the box where the teacher kept all the tether balls, balls, skiprope, etc. I never seemed to get there fast enough to get a tether ball. That’s funny when I think of it now.

Some years ago, I was looking in my old toy box and found a softball with the name “Mrs. Paynter” on it. I’m not sure but I think I found it in the ditch that is on the north of the school grounds. Why I didn’t give it back I don’t know, as I never played softball and have no use for it.

I recall how we used to swing on the flagpole wire. It was actually a plastic coated cable, if I recall right. On the bottom they had a box that they’d lock the bottom of the wire to. Sometimes, that would not be locked and sometimes the wire would just be hanging there. When we saw that we’d all say, “alright!” We’d grab the wire, which had a loop on the end, and push ouselves out. It was sort of fun. If you did it just right you’d go quite aways out. I also recall it’d be like slow motion, almost like you were floating, at least until you started coming back. Then it was quick and you had to be careful so you don’t hit the pole. Seems like I and some of my friends hit the pole a couple of times. When I was there they had a raised concrete base. I’m not sure when (maybe the 80’s) but they cut it back. It seems we’d do this only on the weekends as, even after school, we were worried we’d get caught by the janitor or someone that was there (it seems like the janitor caught us once). As I got older I remember that the wire would hurt my fingers. The last time I did it I think I was in my early twenties and I thought the wire was going to cut through my fingers. I guess as you get older you get bigger and heavier.

I recall having read-a-thon’s at school. I only seem to recall one in fifth or sixth grade. It seems the read-a-thon was all day long. How a kid was supposed to read all day I don’t know. I quickly got bored. I know I didn’t read all day. What I did I can’t remember. Kids brought bean bags and all sorts of stuff, I remember, and we’d all sit or lay on the carpet all over the place. The event I remember was in the western extension of the building.

I also recall buying books from catalogs at school. It was sort of neat because we’d come back from recess or lunch or something and they’d be on our desks. I thought it was neat to get things like that. Just last night I was downstairs looking in my bookshelf and saw a number of books I bought at Robert Frost.

It seems I recall Mrs. Hoffling, I think, being pregnant and having a kid. This was in about 1977, I guess. I recall being stunned how the girls thought it was so neat. I’d sit and watch them look up at her with this admiration and respect. I think they’d sit and ask her questions about it and everything like they were just so fascinated by it. After she had it I think she brought it in to show the class. For some reason I think it was a boy.

It was also in Mrs. Hofflings class (which was in the room in the north west corner of the western extension) that I kept hearing a guys name all the time. It was on the news and I heard it at school too. Everywhere I turned, it seems, I heard this guys name. I had no idea what the big deal was. His name was Gary Gilmore. I didn’t find out what that was about til the late 90’s, believe it or not.

Not alot of people know this but at night the police would drive around the building. I recall when I first saw this I wondered who the heck would be driving on the grass at this time of the day. Sometimes, they’d get the small manuvarable light they have at the base of the window and shine it on the building as they drive around. That’s how I knew they were definately police.

In my early twenties I used to take long walks late at night (like midnight or 2 in the morning) around the neighborhood and around the school. Several times the police came and questioned me and what I was doing. One told me I was actually breaking the law being there at night. I thought I was in trouble, I really did.

I often, for some reason, would stand late at night in the lights by the door at the inside southwest corner and think about things. I didn’t think it was anything bad. I noticed one of our neighbors, a young girl, would always come home late. Since it was always the same time I figured she was coming home from work. I’d watch this day after day. Come to find out, years later my dad hears from some of the neighbors that she called the police to inform them of a ‘suspcious character’ hanging around the building. I guess she was worried she was going to get rapped or something. I told my dad, “Wait a minute! I used to stand by that door late at night and watch her come home every day. She must of been talking about me.” Can you believe it? That just cracks me up.

Sometime in my twenties I was over there sort of taking a break on the swings there on the south side. It was halloween. I didn’t think it was no big deal. Then, all of a sudden a light shines on me and a car comes down the hill. I’m sitting there going, “what in the . . .” The next thing I know a policeman is telling me to put my hands on the hood of the car and searching my pockets. He’s asking me if I have any distinquishable scars and such. I’m going, “what in the . . . ” The next thing I know he’s asked my name and calling back to headquarters to do a criminal search in their database and telling them to call my parents. I keep telling him “my house is just right over there”. They looked and saw I had no criminal record and he finally let me go. Apparently, there were kids creating problems that halloween. I told him I haven’t noticed anything in the area. That’s funny . . .

I recall we had to make easter eggs in sixth grade in Mr. Kranz’s room. It seems like we made them every year. Unlike everyone else I made two special ones that I still think are pretty neat to this day. One of my easter eggs was the ‘fat man’ atomic bomb used on Nagasaki. It was neat. I made the fins out of cardboard and it was painted black. Unfortunately, it either broke or the fins fell off, I can’t remember, shortly afterwords. I often think I’d like to make that one again. The other one was David Bushnell’s submarine ‘Turtle’ that was used in the Revolutionary War. I made the turret and fin out of cardboard. I painted it brown and put in black lines to represent the board strakes. It also was pretty neat. What is unique about that one is that I still had that in a cup in my bedroom up until several years ago. It seems I went and looked at it and the egg had broken. I guess it broke on it’s own. But it’s interesting I had an easter egg I made in sixth grade for almost 30 years!

I can remember how we used to do valentines every year. We’d all make a mailbox and put it on our desk. Then we would mail letters to people we want. I remember sixth grade (1978 or so) in particular. We had a system that actually resembled the post office. I wanted so bad to be one of the people who were at the post office but I wasn’t chosen. They made, if I remember right, a stamp out of a potato to ‘cancel’ the letter, like they do in the post office. The potato was cut in half and someone carved something on it, I can’t remember. They then dipped it in ink and would stamp each letter. I thought it was neat. I can recall I made a mailbox out of a shoebox that was a robot. Star Wars had come out some time before and I was a space nut at that time. Interestingly, I still had that mailbox when we moved in about 2003 or 2004. I even had the letters inside it I received, if I recall right. I don’t know what I did with it. I hope I didn’t throw it away.

Just something of interest. In my early years at Robert Frost (like first and second grade) I used to get sick from time to time. I’d stay home, of course, and often watch TV. I’ll never forget how I’d get so mad when I’d be watching TV then all of a sudden an image would come up with a room full of people. I think they had the sound of typewriters in the background but I’m not sure, then a name would come up: “Watergate”. And it seems like a guy would say “Watergate” or something. That used to piss me off, I remember, and I’d say, “oh no, not watergate!” and change the channel. If I recall right all it had was people talking. As a kid, what use of a show is that? I didn’t find out the significance of watergate til probably 15 years later. I also remembering thinking, “how can you possibly build a gate with water?” Sort of interesting.

I can still remember the teachers taking the whole kindergarten class into the kitchen area (this would of been in 1973 or so). It was in the area behind where they serve the food. Being a small kid it seemed like a cathedral in there, I remember. I seem to recall that we sat down on the floor and they took out small cartons of milk out of the fridge there and gave it to us. I thought that was pretty neat.

I also remember helping serving food during lunch. I only recall doing it once, in fifth grade I think. It seems like there were maybe three serving tables which had spots on each side for each of the food items. There’d be, I don’t know, three people on each side. They’d get a plate and pass it down and we’d each put the food item we had on the plate. It seems mine was peas. I recall that when a teacher came we gave them more food. I recall it caused quite a commotion when a teacher came and I didn’t put enough food on it. Seems like the ‘lunch lady’ (I think that’s what we called her) got mad at me. For some reason something that simple was hard for me to do. It’s like I couldn’t keep up or something. I know I was never asked again.

In the whole time I was there I only had school lunch two times, I think, and that was not during school hours. I had them at the school fairs they had. I always had a lunch box with a tuna fish sandwhich, chips, drink, and M&M’s (at least in the latter years). Sometimes, it seems, I was the only one with a lunchbox. I’d like to have some of the lunch boxes I had. I recall, in particular, a ‘Planet of the Apes’ one and the last one I had, ‘Space 1999’. These were made of metal, and I recall the ‘Space 1999’ one was really hammered. Some years after elementary school I went to the store and saw they were making them out of plastic and thought, “how cheap”.

Once, maybe in fourth grade, I recall one of the adults in the lunch room forcing me to eat my lunch cause I didn’t want to eat it (as I often wouldn’t eat, it seems). I have no idea who that person was. I recall it made me very embarassed. My friends came over and I was sulking-like and asked me what was wrong. I was so embarassed I don’t think I told them.

I remember the whole grade going in a room and we’d sit into rows, as we usually did. We went in with our class so that each class was together. It seems like a class usually took two rows. Anyways, they’d get a number of rows and split them into groups. Then each group would be required to make a sound at a certain time. I recall that one group would snap their fingers, and one would hit the floor with the palm of their hands and another would clap. It seems there were more sounds but I can’t remember. The teacher would then get up and point to the first group to start silently, I think it was snapping the fingers, and increase the sound, then the group that hit the floor with the palms of their hands would start silently and increase the sound, and so on. It was so neat cause it sounded like a rainstorm. Then, at the height of the storm, she’d have one group clap their hands, which represented thunder. Sometimes it sounded like thunder, sometimes it didn’t. Then she’d go backwords, slowly decreasing the sound and that, as if the storm was going away. I always thought that was neat.

I can still remember where I learned to write some of my letters and numbers. It was like a niche, really, on the north end of the southern extension. I don’t even know if you could call it a room, but there was a chalkboard and an area where we sat on the floor. We faced south. To the left, if I recall right, there was a door that went into the kindergarten area. To our right it went into the big area of the southern extension where I had my first to third classes. To our rear was the library. It was all open. If I recall right there were several steps just right behind us that went down to the library level. Anyways, I can recall them telling us stories to help us remember how to write the letters and numbers. Unfortunately, I can’t remember any of them. I remember her showing us how to do the number 5 and how we do the top horizontal line last. I vaguely remember something about the 7, 8, and 9. I was taught to do the 8 with one continous line, not two circles, as some people do. I recall her saying that a lowercase i is not to be drawn like a flower with a circle on top of a vertical line (apparently girls liked to do that).

I also remember where I was taught to read a clock. It must of been in fourth grade as I was in Mrs. Paynters class. This was on the north end of the western extension. You know the door on the north side, well it was in the class room right to the east of that between the door and the inside corner. We were facing east. She had a little clock where you could move the hands. She would get it and show us first and then she would move it to a time and have us tell her what time it is. This was done over a number of days. I don’t know why but that always stood out in my mind

Every recess there was always a teacher out watching us in case something went wrong. When I was in my later grades I can recall looking at the lower grades at recess. Almost always there was at least one girl holding onto the teachers hand during recess. Sometimes another girl would hold onto hers, and sometimes another onto hers, and so on. I recall cracking up one time where one teacher had about eight girls on each side of her. Even now I can’t stop laughing. That’s just so funny to me.

I recall how, in my later grades, we’d rush out to get to the tall swings. Down on the southwest corner of the grounds there is a group of swings that are tall (there were 5 swings in one frame). To the east there are more that were normal height (those were the ‘little kids swings’). We’d used to get pissed when all the tall swings were taken. The ‘coveted’ swing was the middle one, as that one was by itself. That is, there was no swing next to it. There were actually the posts to each side of it. To get one of the other four was a disapointment.

When I was a kid in the 70’s the only playground was on the southwest corner of the grounds. All there were were monkey bars and swings. They were all made out of tubular steel. Originally, the floor was asphalt but it seems they added this green soft foam stuff sometime in the late 70’s. I recall watching them working on it and wondering what they were doing. Later, after I left grade school, they changed the playground area quite abit, adding stuff and adding new playground areas around the school grounds too. I’ve often gone and played on the new ones with my nieces.

There was one monkey bar that I had a riot with. I don’t know how I’d describe it. It was sort of in the center of the monkey bar area and was shaped like a dome with a smaller dome again on the top. Remember that it was made out of tubular steel and so it is really nothing but a framework. To me, it was a spaceship. We’d go and travel through space in that thing. The guy who had his head through the smaller dome at the top was the pilot. We had so much fun with that. Later, when we quit playing that game I’d miss playing it everytime I saw it.

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