Thursday, January 8, 2015

Things I'll miss about having a child in elementary school

Every year since 1999, we have had at least one kid attending Wickliffe Elementary School, a stately(?) old brick building that stands majestically on Lincoln Road and contains vomit residue from generations of students.

That's what I think of when I think of elementary schools: puke. I don't know why. It's not like there was a kid barfing every day when I was a student at the now-defunct Mapledale Elementary School in the 70s and early 80s. But it did happen occasionally.

The only time I upchucked in school wasn't actually in the school building. It was at our end-of-the-year second-grade class picnic at Twin Lakes Park (now Orlando Park...things it goes). We had just eaten lunch, and a bunch of us had taken our gloves over to the dirt field for a quick game of softball.

It was hot, and as I said we had just eaten. And I'm sure I was wearing jeans because there's no way they would have let us wear shorts. And suddenly, well, as I stood in the dusty infield, my lunch (which I'm sure somehow involved a couple of slices of Fazio's Italian bread) decided to make a reappearance all over second base.

After I had expelled the contents of my stomach and felt much better, Vince Boyce very casually yelled, "Time out! Scott barfed." Just like that. I don't remember what happened then exactly, but I think we just covered it up with dirt and resumed our game. Little boys are like that.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Yeah, the things I'll miss about having a kid in elementary school. Our youngest, Jack, is in fourth grade, which means next year he'll move next door to Wickliffe Middle School, and the long line of Tennants at Wickliffe Elementary will come to an end.

By the way, speaking of Tennants in Wickliffe schools, our family has been in the system for a long time. It started in the spring of 1963 when my siblings moved from Euclid to Wickliffe and enrolled as students at Mapledale. There was then at least one Tennant in the school system without interruption until I graduated from high school 25 years later in 1988.

Then, after an 11-year absence, we were back again in 1999 when my oldest, Elissa, started kindergarten. So assuming Jack doesn't drop out of school to become a crime lord or something and graduates on schedule in June 2023, that means there will have been Tennants in the Wickliffe schools for 50 of 61 academic years spanning from 1962-63 to 2022-23. Did I do that right? I'll trust that my Wickliffe education was sufficient to ensure that the math is correct.

Anyway, the things I'll miss about having a kid in elementary school. There are three:

(1) THE INNOCENCE: Yeah, I know that kids are getting more and more street-wise at younger and younger ages.  But elementary school kids are still essentially innocent and fun. I've coached them enough in baseball and soccer, and had enough of them in my house over the years, to know this is still true. Then middle school comes and suddenly there are hormones and drama and the emergence of The Bad Kids and...I don't know, it's just not the same. I'll miss the innocence of elementary school.

(2) THE CHEESY SCHOOL PROGRAMS: Nothing beats a first-grade play for sheer unintentional comedy value. Nothing.

(3) THE TEACHERS: I can only speak from my experience as a parent at Wickliffe Elementary, but I am blown away at the extent to which the faculty there genuinely cares about my children. Not only professionally, but emotionally and socially, as well. They're great people, and they've obviously played a huge role in shaping my kids, and for that I'm eternally grateful. I'll miss every one of them.

1 comment:

  1. Fazio's Italian bread... so many memories.

    Oh, and what was that horrible "saw dust" barf cleaner that they used to throw down? I can still smell it, and it always smelled worse to me than anything yakked up by a kid....