Monday, October 24, 2016

October 24

We're writing poetic letters this month!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Chatham Township Public School,

    I started first grade in your classrooms and
    attended there until we moved south
    in the midst of third grade.
    Your cafeteria served lunch to all
    and I became acquainted with chile con carne.
    When I described it to mom, she said it
    was probably chile con beans. I didn’t
    get the joke until years later.
    We rode to your site in carpool cars,
    although we could have walked
    if we’d started off earlier in the morning.
    We passed the honeysuckle-covered woods
    and then the swampy skunk cabbage woods,
    turned right, and pulled into the circular drive.

    I learned about different kinds of trees
    in Miss Swartout’s first grade class.
    My dad burned “Sugar Maple” into a wooden
    sign with his soldering iron for me to place
    in your woods. Our project was
    to label everything we could name in
    those woods behind your playground.

    One day, I was all dressed to come to you
    and mom said, “You don’t have school today.”
    “Why?” I asked. “Your school burned down,”
    she said. It wasn’t true. You had a fire that
    messed up the kitchen, but the rest of the school
    was just fine. For the rest of that year, we had
    to bring our lunches and eat outside
    no matter how cold it was. But if it was
    raining, we ate in our classrooms.
    The other girls knew how to knit and carried
    tubes made into knitting boxes, with yarn
    coming out of the tops. I was entranced
    and asked to learn to knit but my mom
    didn’t know how so I never learned.

    In second grade, I had Miss Belcher.
    I practiced phonics every morning using
    an alphabet posted across the blackboard.
    Miss Belcher pointed to each letter in turn
    and we said its name and its sound. I learned
    to read and read every book in your
    second grade classroom that year.
    I don’t think you had a library.
    We learned numbers and very simple
    addition plus a little geography but
    words and phonics were the stars of
    the curriculum that year.

    In third grade, I was there only three months
    in your classroom so I can’t recall the name
    of my teacher that year. I do recall that
    Disney released Snow White that year and
    one day, I paid no attention all day because
    my friend Judy Tegge was taking us to see that movie
    in Summit, a bigger town nearby.
    I mostly listened and learned every day
    I spent in your rooms though. You
    gave me a very good start and
    my love of reading, still a joy today.