It is that time of year again-it is the time of year that puts fear and excitement down deep in your bones. School is getting ready to start. I never was fond of school. I would have preferred to stay at home and helped Dad but mom did not think that was a good idea. I went to Wilmore Grade School and I had a great first grade teacher- Lila Miller- she was wonderful. She taught first and second together. We had a large class there were 17 or 18 of first and second graders Mrs. Miller played the piano and we sang “Jumbo Elephant” among others and a good morning song we sang each morning before we started our school day. She also made sure that we washed our hands before we went to lunch and we prayed before we ate. Mrs. Miller sat at the head of the table at lunch to make sure we used our table manners and also showed us the proper way to hold a fork and a spoon. I can remember looking at the head of the table and it made me feel secure, kind of like being at home. I can not remember her ever yelling at us, I am sure that she must have - if we did not mind she was so disappointed and that made us feel bad.
The school bus was something that we moaned over, but that is where I learned to play cards- pitch-crazy 8’s- war and gin-rummy. We had great drivers- Wade and Ernestine Ziegler and Irma Downing. One year the school let the senior boys drive the little vans (this was before suburbans. I can not imagine that happening now. So Zearl Ziegler was our driver. One time we got stuck in the mud out in the pastures and he radioed his mom, Ernestine, and asked her pull us out and bring us food. She came and got us pulled out and brought us cookies and apples. What a great lady!! Every time from then on we were not worried about getting stuck because we thought that we just might get something great from Ernestine’s kitchen. We really had a good time on the bus. We kept track of the antelope in Gregg’s pasture and watched for other things out of the ordinary. When it was extremely muddy the driver would have all of us sit in the very back to give him more traction in the rear, either that or he was trying to get us as far away from his seat as he could. One time two boys were picking on each other and Wade got tired of it and he stopped the bus and had them get out and fight to get it out of their system. When they got out they decided that they did not want to fight anymore. It was very quite the rest of the way home.
My brother never got one school year without having a sister on the bus. That was cruel and unusual punishment. Vickie was probably better than I was, Virgil would pay me a nickel to not tell on him- I took the nickel and sometimes rat him out anyway. That really proves that I had a good brother, he probably should have pounded me a time or two and I would have thought twice about squealing on him. But he never did. I really do not remember him doing anything that would have gotten him in trouble but at the time it must have seemed important.
I can remember that when I got on the bus or went to school that the bus driver and the teacher could have ended my life at any time. I knew that I had to behave or else. School is where you learn to tell your folks what happened before someone else would tell them their version. I found that it was always better to fess up and let them know what was going on and why you did what you did. What is the saying better to be forewarned than forearmed?
The neat thing about starting school was school shopping. That was one of my favorite memories with my mom. We would take a whole day to shop for school and Mom would let me pick where we would eat. It was wonderful. My mom can spot a sale rack in a store across the street. She is a wonderful bargain hunter. We would check all the $5.00 racks and try on clothes all day. I always got new shoes and new gym shoes. Buying two pair of shoes was not a common occurrence. And a buying a new note book was exciting. Sometimes Mom would tell that I could use the year before notebook and I was horrified that everyone would know that I did not get a new notebook. We always got new crayons I thought that I should get the big box of crayons. Then when I would break the first one it was disturbing.
Remember taking an apple or candy to the teacher is not a bad way to begin the new year.