My first grade school picture!
My son started the first grade last week. That sentence, in and of itself, is somewhat mind-boggling. Wasn’t he just an infant? Weren’t we just in the midst of potty training?And now he’s one of the “big kids” -- at school until 2:30, lining up and playing on the big yard.
Right now, first grade is it -- the highlight of my son’s existence. But I wonder, years down the road, what he’ll remember from this year in his life. Which got me thinking about my year in first grade and the random memories I’ve held on to more than thirty years after the fact.
I do remember liking my first grade teacher, Mrs. Rowell. (And thankfully, my son is liking his first grade teacher as well). I remember Mrs. Rowell had a daughter, a “big girl” in my eyes (really, she was a middle school or high school student), and she had longish finger nails.
I remember our classroom was located downstairs in the school’s main building, not far from the office. I remember Mrs. Rowell had a filmstrip about dinosaurs, and while I’ve never been particularly fond of these extinct creatures, I always kind of enjoyed viewing this filmstrip.
I remember leaving my first grade classroom for part of the school day, to go upstairs to a bigger kids’ classroom for advanced reading. That’s when I learned I was smart. And I remember having an ear ache in first grade. The school nurse thought I was making it up, trying to get out of class. My mother was eventually phoned and quickly came to school, assuring the nurse that I was a girl who loved school, so any claims of pain were real. (My pediatrician later confirmed I had a very bad ear infection).
The rest of my memories are decidedly more “colorful.” I remember that a classmate complained that his stomach hurt. And I remember Mrs. Rowell asking if he needed to make a “b.m.” I was completely baffled by the initials. What could a first grader make, that involved a stomach, and started with “b” and “m”? The only thing I could come up with was a “big mama.” Later at home that day, my mom explained to me what Mrs. Rowell had in mind, but at age six, a bowel movement wasn’t something my family talked about. We pooped.
Along those lines, I have another memory of Mrs. Rowell talking to a student (not sure if it was the same one) about passing gas. Again, I was baffled. Gas was something we put in the car, and first graders were definitely too young to be doing that. Not until I got home, did my mom set me straight. And again, I learned a new synonym. For in our family, we didn’t pass gas, and we didn’t fart -- we made a fetzel (rhymes with pretzel).
At any rate, I’m sure my son will leave this school year with memories that he will carry with him into the future. It’s just a matter of waiting to see which memories he holds on to.