Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Back to School . . .

The best known part of the song is its chorus:
School days, school days
Dear old Golden Rule days,
"Reading and 'riting and 'rithmetic
Taught to the tune of the hick'ry stick. You were my queen in calico, I was your bashful, barefoot beau, And you wrote on my slate,  "I Love You, Joe" When we were a couple o' kids.

Do you remember singing this song? I don’t really except the first three lines. Yet the nostalgia this song imparts will always remain in collective consciousness’s until those generations who do have passed on. And just for kicks, when I use to complain about the long walk to the school bus stop, my father would repeat once again, “Lizbit. I use to walk miles in the snow to get to school…” and then I said, “Ya, I know. And you use to write on the back of s shovel.”
He laughed.

All this may seem strange, but it really wasn’t that long ago that kids walked miles to school and depending on where you lived, particularly in the country on a farm, school days were determined by the farmer’s crops. Here is a short story for why kids go back to school the day after Labor Day:

Kids didn't always have summers off. Summer vacation as we know it is a pretty recent phenomenon. When the public education system started in the 1800s, calendars varied depending on the needs of the community. In cities, schools were open practically year-round, up to 240 days a year. Rural schools, on the other hand, were open for only about five months over two sessions, in the winter and summer. Fall and spring, school was out so children could help harvest the crops and help with planting. Of course, this does not apply today. In fact, many school begin in August. Bah humbug! Oh well . . .
In our Family Museum, there are many things that bring back school day memories. From first day outfits, really cool lunch boxes, and class photographs. Here are a few of them: Lizzie's school books, Keith's High School Sports Letters, Tiffeni's cool denim jacket, and Charlie's lunchbox.
Charlie was homeschooled after going to public school through the fourth grade. All of us helped with school lessons; his dad did math & science, mom did art & history, and his sister did English & writing. She was his main teacher, but we all enjoyed teaching, learning many things for ourselves along the way. The best papers & drawings were saved in a big school box for both Tif & Charlie.
We all have memories of school days. And if you have anything from those years, don’t keep them in boxes. Take some time and rediscover those papers, artworks, photographs, even perhaps a few souvenirs like sports letters, yearbooks, trophies, report cards. These all mark life’s paths, rites of passage, experiences, etc. This history is your history. Be proud of it. Show it off. Share it with others and have them share theirs with you.
Happy School Days to You!   


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