Friday, September 3, 2010

First day of school

I remember the very first day of school, when I was seven years old. The year was 1927. I was surprised the other day, when I read a story comparing Education in various countries, when I saw that beginning School is still when you are seven in Sweden.
My first day was wonderful. First the smell in the class room. I have often wondered what it was that smelled so promising. Was it coming from the pencil sharpeners, or was from the black surface on the floors.
 Somewhere in a drawer I have a picture of our first class. Most of us looked scared but my face showed no fear. Froken Andersson, our teacher, looked happy to be there. She was old. Now that I am ninety, it seems wrong to say she was old. I know she was under 65 for that was when people were pensioned. And I know she taught many years after my one year stint in her class. So maybe she was in her fifties. 
We had a small class. I remember a girl whose name was Gerd. Her father was something like a coast guard. She was next to the youngest in her family of many children. It was before the birth of Kleenex and the poor girl had a nose that needed one, but she had learned how to keep whatever was happening to herself. She had to keep her mouth open so she could breathe. I think it held her back. There was one of the Petterson girls. Stina, Brita and Greta. I don't remember which one was in my class for all three of them became friends through the years. Their father was a carpenter. Their mother must have been a seamstress for they all had cute clothes. The school was located on the main street of Viken. Our entrance was from the back of the building, but the teachers living quarters had an entry from the main street. Next door to the south was a clock maker's store. His name was Holm and he was a very dapper gentleman. Next door to the clockmaker was the 'smidga' The horses went there to get re-shoed. 
I knew how to read before the first day of school. I think I must credit my sister Birgit with that.


Arinn said...

It's amazing how much you remember! My first day of school was in 1989...but I don't recall a thing.

Danielle said...

I must agree with Arinn! My first day was in 1987 and not a single memory! Thanks to my mother, who put together a school memory book with pictures, newspaper clippings, and awards I will will have an "idea" of what happened but I have no memory of any of it.

Sadly, my daughter's first day of school was in 2004 and I do not have a memory of it either...just pictures. I have also started a memory book for her as well, just in case she has my affliction.

Thank you for sharing your first day and ALL your other memories!!

Cathy Jo Cress said...

The first day of school is so universal in some ways. The smell of the pencils and the floors. The scared smiles. the old teachers- who were old to you at 5 though not old. Such a beautiful portrait of your past and everyone's past too.
Cathy Jo Cress

dianne said...

My first day of school story is about my son(he is 20 now) On his first day of kindergarten I walked him out to the sidewalk in front of our house all the while reassuring him and making him feel special.
All of a sudden my other son(then aged 3)ran out the front door crying for his brother. Everyone at the bus stop turned around to see a totally naked child running down the driveway. So much for a calm departure!

Anonymous said...

I love hearing your memories - you have a way of retelling them so that I feel like I'm there with you! Thank you!