Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Where Are They Now?
First day of school. The neighborhood is full of excited children with back packs full of pencils, papers and minds ready to absorb. Lined up in front of their mother and father, they stand smiling for photos to capture the event. Some walked while others biked to the nearby elementary school that I attended as a child.
Meeting new kids from different backgrounds, religions, economic opportunities, and interest. The first real social network.... School!
When my family first moved to this town, I lived a few blocks away from school, so for awhile my mother would walk me up to school and come get me in the afternoon. After taking the training wheels off my bike, I was free to make the journey alone.
School became a release from the parents and placed under the guardian eyes of unknown women. They were not aunts or older cousins to care for you good well, but total strangers who could and would change you life forever.
Seating was arranged, lines were formed to travel from one room to outside activities or to lunch. Everything was ordered and regimented. And if any disruption was to occur, a stern warning was given in front of the class to embarrass the disruptor. If that did not do the job, the principal office was the next step with a letter written to the parents to be signed and returned. Luckily I learned how to write my parents signature at an early age.
The playground exercise period was full of iron jungle gyms used by boys to form rocket ships or submarines while the girls played four square on the blacktop. There was no formal exercise or games, just a bunch of loud screaming kids running around.
The lessons included english, math, cursive writing, history (with a lot of holes left out), and art (while I liked). Lunch was in a large room with a walk through line to load a tray with prepared plates of stuff that didn't taste like real food but served by mean looking sweaty women who did not take any lip. Started brown bagging my lunch at an early age.
Of course the social intermingling of students also brought about the chaste structure of the elite and the first reactions of those who were frustrated or determined to achieve. Today it is called bullying, then it was just kids being kids.
So on this mornings ride, I thought about all those kids and wondered what happened to them. I remember a few names, but so many were separated when we moved to junior high school and then again high school.
And where are they now? These doctors, lawyers, mechanics, bankers, drug addicts, and other pillars of our society.