The highlight of my first year of school was the day Thomas climbed out the window and ran home. He was everybody’s hero! He wore overalls, had red hair, and freckles.
It was 1949. There was no air conditioning and the windows were open. We all were in awe of Thomas from that day forward. He did what we could only dream of doing.
Truthfully, I loved this new world of chalk dust, ABC’s, Dick, Jane, & Spot, along with recess and jump rope. I would not have gone through the window had I been brave or even thought about such a thing.
Our teacher was Ms Ryan and she was ageless. Later, when I was in my fifties and Ms Ryan was still living, I knew that she must have been very young, but to first graders, she had no age. She simply represented security, and all the things we did not know, with her auburn hair in a bun and her dark dresses that all looked the same.
That first year we learned the important things of life. Things like: Never break line, never laugh when someone is hurting, iodine stings but when peers are watching, don’t cry, it is better to endure some indignities than to tattle, and life isn’t always fair.
Somewhere along the way, we also learned reading, writing, and arithmetic, but it seemed those things just happened while the real lessons became the memories.