nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘elementary school

remembering place – Grade Four, part one

with 2 comments

School-wise, Grade 4 was a fragmented year.  I began the year in Medicine Hat at Webster Niblock Elementary.  And then my family moved to a new community forty miles away, and I completed Grade 4 in the school there.

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Webster Niblock Elementary School front yard

Webster Niblock Elementary School front yard

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I have lots of memories of Webster Niblock.  First, there was the walk to school (red path in the aerial photo below).  On one side of the road were houses, but on the other side of the road was prairie.  Today there is a row of houses on that side of the street, but in 1963 the prairie was undeveloped and raw to its very edge.  I was not allowed to wander on the prairie by myself, or to take a shortcut to school.  Later my Dad told me he was always afraid of rattle snakes when we lived in the west.  But I could see the plants that grew at the roadside.

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my route from home to school

my route from home to school

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I still remember the orange-red Prairie Mallow, also known as Scarlett Globemallow (Sphaeralcia coccinea), and the Prickly-pear cactus (Opuntia) with its grape-like berries.  At the corner where I turned from Second Avenue to 11th Street (blue star) was an expanse of pineapple weed (Matricaria Discoidea) – I don’t remember picking or smelling them … to me, they looked like a miniature forest of pine where tiny people could walk.  I think my interest in plants must have begun during those years, encouraged by my Mom who knew the names of all the flowers.

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'Pineapple Weed'

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I also remember specific conversations with my best friend Laureen as we walked to school, including the disagreements we had.  I remember that we talked about my moving away.  We decided we would write letters to one another and we laughed that we would probably carry on our childish fights in those letters.

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Another place I remember well is the ‘courtyard’ where we played at morning and afternoon recess (yellow star).  Spinning tops were all the rage and my Dad made me a wooden top from an empty spool of thread and a matchstick.  We also played marbles and I always lost.

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It was common practice to bring a ‘recess’, a treat to eat at the morning recess break.  My Mom usually sent a small square of fudge wrapped in wax paper or part of an apple.  When a new little girl joined our class, my Mom, who wanted me to make friends, was determined I would be nice to her.  Every day Mom sent a ‘recess’ treat for the little girl.  And every day, I would run up to her, shove the treat into her hand and run away.  I was generally shy and I don’t ever remember of saying a word to her.  I often think about her – today she is a woman of about sixty years who may, from time to time, remember a peculiar child who used to bring her a square of fudge every day and run away.

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Webster Niblock Elementary School rear yard

Webster Niblock Elementary School rear yard (we played with tops in the area by the red post at the corner of the school)

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 11, 2014 at 7:19 am

remembering place – Grade Three

with 4 comments

Grade Three, for me, is 52 years ago.  Therefore, I am not surprised how little I remember of that year.   I can only name two other students in the Grade Three class photo!

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I do remember my teacher, Miss Heather Johnson, a kind gentle teacher, always smiling.  I also remember her because as a high school student she was taught by my father who was also a teacher.

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Miss Johnson's Grade Three class, Crescent Heights Elementary School (I am in the back row, seventh from the left)

Miss Johnson’s Grade Three class, Crescent Heights Elementary School (I am in the back row, seventh from the left)

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My only real memory of Grade Three is of my Dad.  I remember him joking with me as he studied my Report Card.  I always had good reports, and this time I had a whole row of ‘H’s (H was the best grade possible).  I can hear him booming in his deep voice ‘I thought ‘H’ stood for Horrible!’

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Crescent Heights High School - once Crescent Heights Elementary School (the school is barely recognisable, there have been so many additions; when I went there, the school was a long low brick building)

Crescent Heights High School – once Crescent Heights Elementary School (the school is barely recognisable, there have been so many additions; when I went there, the school was a long low brick building)

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 6, 2014 at 7:35 am

remembering place – Grade Two

with 6 comments

After a mix-up resulted in my attendance at the wrong school in Grade One (see   https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/remembering-place-grade-one/ ), I finally found the right school in Grade Two, Crescent Heights Elementary School.  This school was only two blocks from home and easy to walk to.  I also was in the same class as my best friend, Laureen.

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Crescent Heights Elementary School

Crescent Heights Elementary School (image from Street View)

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Miss McCallum was our teacher, a happy, brisk lady.  These were the days of the Baby Boomers and she had almost 40 students in her class.  I can remember only two of their names in the photo below.

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Miss McCallum's Grade Two Class, Crescent Heights Elementary School

Miss McCallum’s Grade Two Class, Crescent Heights Elementary School (I am Row 2, fifth from right)

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I have no specific memories of being in school in Grade Two.  My world consisted of my Mom and Dad, my younger brothers and sister.  Life was simple and happy, though I’m sure my parents would not have agreed.

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 4, 2014 at 7:35 am

remembering place – Grade One

with 6 comments

On a ‘mind map’ of my life, what places are clearly marked as important, with bright yellow stickpins of internal memory?

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home

home (map from Google Earth)

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Since I spent most of my younger days in school, it isn’t very surprising that many of those stickpins mark the schools I attended.  One of these is Vincent Massey Elementary School in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

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Vincent Massey Elementary School in 2006 - looks just the same as in the early 1960s

Vincent Massey Elementary School in 2012 – looks just the same as in the early 1960s (image from Street View)

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In the early 1960s there were three elementary schools within a reasonable distance of our house. The story of how I came to attend Vincent Massey was probably one of the first dramatic events in my life to that date.

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The school I was assigned to attend was determined by the School Board.   The summer just before I was to attend school for the first time, a delegate of the School Board came around the neighborhood to let the parents know which school their children would attend.  Mom and Dad were not at home when the representative came to call.  My Mom got the information second-hand, from the mother of my best friend, just across the street.

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from home to school in Grade One

from home to school in Grade One (map from Google Earth)

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Mom and Dad were quite alarmed to discover I was to go to Vincent Massey Elementary School, seven blocks away.  This may not seem far today – my son attended Grade One in a community 13 kilometers away.  But in those days, there was no school bus and my Mom had my eighteen-month-old brother to care for.  I would have to get to school on my own two feet.

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My brother and I in 1960 - I had been in Grade One for three months when the picture was taken - I look like I could easily make those seven blocks to school!

My brother and I in 1960 – I had been in Grade One for three months when the picture was taken – I look like I could easily make those seven blocks to school!

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I remember the discussions well – about the best route for me to take, about what we would do about dinner time, about the dangers of taking to strangers.  We did a couple of dry runs.  I can still remember my Mom showing me how to cross the busy four-lane Division Avenue.  Up to this point, I had not been allowed to go beyond our own block by myself.

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Division Avenue

Division Avenue in 2012 (image from Street View) – I remember standing on the curb looking at the traffic whizzing back and forth … no crosswalk!!!!

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The first day at school, the drama expanded.  Mom had told me to be very careful to listen for my first name – Alexandra.  I was usually called by my second name – Jane – so this was a major worry for me.  On that first morning, all the students were assembled in the gymn.  We sat on the floor and our names were called, one by one.  I listened for that long, strange first name as each name was called.  And, at the very end, I was all alone in the gymn … no one had called the name Alexandra.

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The teachers were very nice, of course.  I was told not to worry, and Mrs. MacDonald, a teacher of one of the Grade One classes, came to get me.

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As it turned out, the neighbor had given my Mom the wrong information.  Today, knowing urban planning as I do, I think ‘Division Avenue’ might have provided the first clue!!!!

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I had a great year.  I walked to school with friends.  We stuck to the planned route for a while, but ended up taking shortcuts through various yards.  By the end of the year, I was taking the city bus, dropping my quarter into the slot like a pro.  I stayed with Mrs. MacDonald for my first year of school and emerged from the grade convinced that rabbit was spelled ‘raddit’ (no fault of the teacher’s).

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Mrs. McDonald's Grade One class (I am first left in bottom row; Mrs. McDonald is at upper left)

Mrs. McDonald’s Grade One class (I am first left in bottom row; Mrs. McDonald is at upper left)

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The next year, properly directed by the School Board, I was sent to Crescent Heights Elementary School, two blocks away, and another stickpin on my ‘mind map’ …

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

June 27, 2014 at 7:27 am

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