Monday, February 22, 2016

Four things I remember vividly about elementary school

(1) The Smell
It wasn't a bad smell. It was just a smell that you can only experience inside a school. And for whatever reason, it generally can only be found inside an elementary school. Whenever I happen to be inside a school and I get a whiff of that whatever-it-is smell, I am instantly transported back in time to Mapledale Elementary School in the late 70s.

(2) The Chairs
As near as I can tell, all three elementary schools in Wickliffe at that time were stocked with the same hard chairs for students. They were different colors, but it was the same basic, functional 70s design. The grown-ups, meanwhile, got different chairs that were all this pinkish color. And their chairs were bigger because, you know, the adults were bigger.

(3) The Layout
Mapledale no longer exists. The building became a senior center the year after I "graduated" from sixth grade, and a few years ago it was torn down entirely to make way for new houses (or maybe they're condos?) But I can remember every nook and cranny of that school, because I experienced them all at one point or another. Are you like that with your old schools? I spent seven years there from kindergarten through sixth grade, so I guess it stands to reason that I got to know the place pretty well.

(4) The Teachers
In elementary school, you are of course assigned to one teacher. In the early grades, you are with that teacher virtually the entire day, with the exception of special classes like art, gym, music, etc. That teacher becomes a major influence in your life, which is why I will always hold a special place in my heart for Mrs. Janes, Mrs. Lucci, Mrs. Schwarzenberg, Mr. Blough and Mrs. Grabner. Two of them (Schwarzenberg and Grabner) I had twice. They taught me more than they could possibly know, and they whipped me into shape when they needed to. What a great and awesome responsibility you teachers have.

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