Some might ask, how do you remember so many things, so many memories? As I begin to embark on my 60th year, I know more memories have been forgotten than I will ever remember. Sometimes it is just a look someone gives, a place you visit, or even a smell that will send me back in time. My 2nd grade teacher, Mary Dale was my all time favorite, she was genuine, she was beautiful to look at, with skin like porcelain, nonjudgmental and so deeply caring. She knew what kind of life most of the kids lived outside of school, but especially she understood the hardships in learning and she treated us all well. That was a great achievement for someone who did not have children of her own. One could feel her deep commitment for children and the love for her work. But, most of all, the perfume she wore I remember more than anything, that’s what for whatever reason leads me to this story. It was soothing, warm and smelled so pretty. She was pretty. Only thing is, I don’t remember the name of that perfume. Occasionally, I will pass someone with that familiar smell and am automatically thrown back to the 2nd grade like a shake shifter. As I walk into her room, her desk is at the front of the room. She had the walls decorated with educational posters, mostly hand made during her school breaks. I will never forget the chalkboard. She would turn the handle for us to put up our jackets and about 8 or so doors would open, revealing a closet room behind the chalk board. As well as her perfume, I remember Valentine’s day when my classmates and I would have decorated paper sacks hanging to put Valentines in. Some would be all glittered up and some might have a sucker or candy cane in them. After a head count was done, we would say The Pledge of Allegiance with the intercom, along with Ms. Tippen in her office. Our elementary school was named the Alamo. I can smell the strong smell of Crayola’s and see the Big Chief tablet and the number 3 pencil we used to practice our cursive writing on, drawing circle after circle until one nearly became dizzy. I can see Ms. Pearl in the school auditorium where we had music class and the notebooks we would write our scale on. On occasion she would take one student and put them at the bench of the tall, upright piano with her just to hear their voice. I remember my classmates and I singing every day. I remember my good friend Gwen singing a solo on stage one day, she sang Standing in the Need of Prayer. I believe the curtain was red. When it was not drawn a beautiful wooden floor could be seen. She was one of the first of our classmates to understand that song, for she has been in heaven for many years already. I wonder how many schools allow that song to be heard today? As a child the auditorium was very large, there were at least 3 radiators on either side of the room, with windows that let in a lot of light. A boiler was outside and at times you could hear he creaks and groans as the boiling water came rushing into the radiators. There is a turn handle on the end of each one of them to regulate the temperature. I always liked sitting by the radiator. Memories were made there. Every year after Christmas break, we would have what was called show and tell day. Each kid would go across the stage with one gift they had gotten for Christmas, one at a time. I usually would bring cap guns and maybe a holster. On school days, around 1030 or so I guess it was, we began to start lining up in the halls, one room at a time, getting ready to be bused over to the high school for lunch. The Alamo was for kids grade one through three. My first-grade teacher, of whom many know, and love was sometimes very moody. I will leave out her name and just call her Ms. S. and most will know who she was. I never had my ear pulled by anyone so many times in my life as by her. I nearly learned to more than dislike her, but that word is a little strong today. Thank God for Ms. Mary Dale, because third grade didn’t get any better than the first. Ms. Bernita was my 3rd grade teacher, an old spinster that had never married and really didn’t have the knack it took to be with kids of our age, many of us often thought she should be in high school, although many parents loved her over-authoritarian teaching skills. What I thought was mean at the time was probably her way of learning routine and respect, for respect was one thing we all learned in my era. If not, there was always a paddle waiting in the office. If you were made to sit in the hall, you knew a paddle was coming a short while later. In later years, as adulthood sat in, we became quite good friends and I learned that I cared for her very much. All these wonderful ladies are gone today, but they, along with many other great childhood educators left their impression on me in one way or the other. As the school attendance began to fall, there was hardly a need for 3 schools, elementary, grammar and high school. So as time went by, the Alamo stayed vacant and wear began to take its toll on the beautiful rock building. As years went by, the school was finally torn down secondary to a large amount of asbestos. There was a rock wall that went all the way around the school, with an arched walkway that had to be entered in to. Today a nice memory park sits where the school used to be, inside the great wall that all of us walked on illegally during school hours. There was a large swing set with the old modeled curved seat made from some type of heavy material, tall slides, seesaws and a merry go round we probably all sport wounds from. There’s not a lot to say about this great childhood building and the memories that are only shadows today, for she is gone. One thing is for certain though, I will always remember the Alamo.
Copyright @coffeewithcharles.blog (Charles D. Grant)