Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

School Days--what's still there



Third grade was split—the smart kids in one section, the not-sos in the other. I was with the smart kids, and I knew it. I'm sure those who didn't make the cut knew what they were too.  

What remains in my mind of third grade is all great. The teacher was a consummate professional. I had loved Miss DeVries, but I had absolutely no similar feelings for my third-grade teacher, who I respected her immensely.  I don't her remember her being harsh or strict, or somehow without tenderness. I suppose I was simply getting older and some of the childishness was disappearing, loving morphing into respect.  When I see it in my imagination, walking into her door was a good, good thing because good things happened in that classroom.

I don't know where educational theory is on tracking these days--for it or agin' it.  But I know this--it was a big deal to be among the bright kids, and I wonder if maybe I wasn't pushed along simply by the knowledge that more was expected of me.  I can't imagine that those third-graders who stayed back in the second grade room didn't find themselves also affected by the choice the teachers made some night before school started. But for me, there's no question--it was a good choice.

It helped to listen to fourth graders, too, which is why when country kids my age revel in their one-room school memories, I buy their charmed nostalgia. You couldn't help but listen to the older kids, so it was like getting two grades for the price of one.

I remember Mrs. LeMahieu as a master teacher, entirely capable of juggling two grades at one time without missing a single beat.  Kind, judicious, and always interesting, she was, I think, some kind of teacher, always a soft voice, always in control.

One of my classmates was her son. Once that year, he invited me to their farm to stay overnight, the first time in my life I was invited to what my granddaughter fetchingly calls a “sleepover,” maybe even the only time.  At dusk, we went out to the barn with BB guns and shot sputzies in the rafters, the first time I ever killed something otherwise alive.  I wish I could say I was horrified, but I wasn't. 

I felt like a man. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The picture of that bike killed me when I saw it.

Jim, do I remember that bike! 100's of trapping, swimming, baseball in the park trips were taken on that bike! I was peddling along side of you with one of my brother's hand-me-down bikes.

i remember one time when we were older [you were in 8th grade] and headed to Dr. Kuhn for an athletic physical and I being one year younger was riding along to observe this right of passage to athletics in public school.

None of us liked Dr. Kuhn. He had a horrible beside manner [as a gruff kinda guy] so as young boys we dubbed him " Ed Geene", the notorious real-life women-killer from Adams County Wisconsin. Boys were boys.

Back to the bike. On this momentous trip you had to negotiate your bike with a bag in hand. The bag with your WIAA physical form and the quart jar [only a thimble size sample was really needed] with your urine sample in it.

I think you hit a gravel patch and you took a spill and your bike, your body and the urine sample parted ways. There you were sprawled-out in the roadway. I think we gave you a "10" on the landing.

Well you recovered from the spill and headed to your physical, there were a few drips of the precious liquid in the recovered broken jar so Dr. Kuhn managed to conduct the test.

However, he rejected the WIAA physical form cause it was "contaminated with urine".

Laughed a lot!