For the first nine years of my life I lived in Springfield, Missouri. It just seemed normal at the time but I now realize it was a very idyllic life. And the friends I made at Boyd School (which was still an elementary school looking very much the same as I remembered it when we saw it a few years ago) were ones I still remember well. Why is it that I remember those faces and those names almost better than many that I have met during my adult life?
My friend Dana and I were Blue Birds. She lived just down the block from the school, and her mother was our kindergarten teacher. This was taken in about second grade, so I guess she and her mama didn’t hold a little misunderstanding on the first day we all met against me.
On our first day of kindergarten, when Mrs. D took us out to the playground for recess, I didn’t understand why we were putting on our jackets and going outside, i.e., the concept of a recess being a play break in the middle of school. So, I thought it must be time to go home, meaning once we got to the playground, I just kept on walking and went home. (It was only a few blocks so I knew the way and it only took a few minutes.)
Mama was at home probably patting herself on the back that she had finally sent her last child to school. She had proudly walked me there just a couple hours earlier so she was, of course, shocked to see me knocking at the door mid-morning (Hey, I was a little kid — I couldn’t open that big door by myself!). And I, in turn, was shocked to see her shock and learn that I hadn’t, as I thought, already completed my first full half-day of kindergarten. So Mama marched me back to school where recess was still going on and Mrs. D hadn’t had time to miss me. I don’t remember hearing any conversation between her and Mrs. D, but Mama may have warned her that I was a slippery little devil and Mrs. D should keep a close eye on me, lest she “lose” me again. That was one of my first school lessons learned — don’t go home until Mrs. D specifically says it’s time to go home. This wasn’t a big deal back in those simpler times, but I’m sure Mrs. D was embarrassed that I had gotten away.
Some of the Blue Birds on a trip to the zoo. I know it was on a Saturday because we would never have worn pants to school. Blue Birds were to Camp Fire Girls what Brownies are to Girl Scouts. There were two sets of twins in our group — Jan and Joan in the second row on the left, and Claudia and Clarissa who are the two in the middle in the front row. I was always fascinated by twins. I think partially because I didn’t have any siblings in my own age group, so having one exactly the same age seemed like it would be an instant, constant playmate!
There is only one girl in this picture whose name I don’t remember — she’s second from the right. It’s funny that I don’t remember anything about her, so I wonder if she was new to the class. The others I remember first and last names — Betty H. (she wore hats most of the time and at the beginning of our first day of kindergarten she climbed under her desk and wouldn’t come out. Obviously, that made a big impression on me since I still remember it happening all these years later), Paula S., me, I’m-sure-nice-girl-but-I-don’t-remember-her and Dana D.
Maybe I remember classmates so well because they were my first friends. Friends are a blessing from God. And the first of anything good is well worth remembering.