Tuesday, August 24, 2010

School: Five Things

School is back in session which brings back fond memories for me.
School has changed a lot since I was a student. I thought it would be fun to list five things that I remember about elementary school--five things that probably no longer occur in school.

#1: Milk breaks. I remember forming a line in the hall beside a big machine that held milk. We were given paper cups and one by one, the young students pulled the cold silver handle until foamy milk was dispensed. I always hated the last few sips and can almost remember the smell.

#2 Gym uniforms. Remember when all the girls had to wear matching, one-piece gym uniforms? Ours were navy shorts with an attached navy and white striped top. The jumpers had zippers down the front. I don't remember where we changed our clothes, but I can see Mrs. Gray timing us as we held onto monkey bars or leading the class in jumping jacks.

#3 Paddled by the Principal. This never happened to me (I was usually a teacher's pet and was very shy--imagine that!) but I remember when boys would get into trouble and had to go to the Principal's office for a paddling. Imagine the lawsuits if that happened today.

#4 Wearing Dresses. The first six years I went to school, girls were not allowed to wear pants or shorts. I still remember wearing a light blue sweater, blue and purple plaid skirt and matching light blue windowpane hose. I was a little diva even in the sixth grade.

#5 Playing four-square. That was my favorite game during recess. It's played with a large rubber ball (the size of a basketball) and four squares drawn on the sidewalk with chalk. We had to pass the ball back and forth, keeping it going, until it went outside the lines. I can't remember how we kept score, though.

How about you? Do you remember these same five things--or can you think of others? Please share your long-ago memories.


  1. I remember the milk breaks, but not the same way you do. We had those little milk cartons. Someone went to the cafeteria and picked up enough for those buying.

    Oh those gym uniforms were awful! What were they thinking?

    I don't know when we got to skip the dresses, but I do remember having some measured to make sure they were long enough. Then we had the Maxi dresses and the Midi dresses. And even those were considered inappropriate!

  2. We had to bring a note from home if we wore pants, stating our parents knew we were doing it. Given the length of mini-skirts then, I can't believe they balked at letting girls wear pants.

  3. Recess! Why can't we still have recess? I mean, would it kill our bosses to throw open the doors, ring a bell, and turn us loose outside for half an hour on a playground? I think it might actually increase productivity :)

  4. I remember wearing snowpants under our dresses in the winter. And mittens on a long string that threaded through the arms of our coats to keep them from getting lost. By the time we took our turn in the cloakroom and got into all of our winter duds for recess, it was time to come back inside! I remember little red cheeks and noses running clear in the cold, but we were absolutely thrilled to be released to the outside for a few minutes each day.

  5. Shirley, we used the big milk dispenser until we were older, then we had the little milk cartons--but no cookies to go with the milk!

    I know Diana/Emily/Mia! You'd think pants (and showing much less skin) would have been more appropriate.

    Toni, recess--or at least a 15-minute outside break--would improve productivity and morale. We just have to convince all the bosses.

    Jean, I remember those cold days and the string on the mittens. I also had one of those white, fluffy...What are they called? Round muff that had an opening on each end for our hands. Were they called muffs???

    Also, ladies, remember standing proudly and saying the pledge of allegiance? I wish kids could do that today. What a shame.

  6. Ah yes. The Pledge of Allegiance. Those were the proud days. Very sad that our children and grandchildren don't have that respect.

  7. I must be older than all of you. We got a double connected graham cracker and milk
    in a little glass bottle. Someone was the
    Milk Monitor for the week(Honored Position). They went to the cafeteria and the ladies helped them bring the milk crates back for
    the class. We did not pay for this, the school,URBITA ELEMENTARY provided it.
    About 1950
    Bank of America sent people to our school
    each year to sign us up for a savings plan.
    We took the information home to our parents.
    When they agreed. We got a savings book.
    Every Monday we took our savings booklet deposit slip, and envelope to school with
    our money in it.
    Each Wednesday the teacher passed it back
    to us to take home. Recorded in our
    booklet was last Mondays deposit amount and this started our first banking experience,
    When I went to school our supplies(parents bought) were a notebook binder if we wanted one, a Indian 5 cent lined pad of paper.
    A number 2 pencil was always provided and
    paper given for each assignment, usually printed with what we were supposed to do.
    Ink pens were not used.
    Girls dresses had to be 2 inches below the knees. Dress slacks were preferred for
    boys, but blue jeans were being allowed.
    The Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance
    started our day. The teacher lead both.
    We were taught our Country was good, worth fighting for and we became very patriotic.
    Second Grade Teacher Mrs. Hand, Fifth Grade
    Mr. Dish, Seventh Grade Mr. Wolf. I always thought these names were funny, probably
    why I remember them over all the others.
    I always wanted a white fur muff. Never got
    it. The girl on the cover of a great
    children's book had a picture of one. We
    lived in CA so I really didn't need it, but
    we can always dream of an ideal.
    Four square wasn't one of our games it came later. Dodge ball was played with all the
    class in a circle and you had to keep from getting hit when someone had the ball and
    threw it AT you. Never cared for that one.
    Thether-ball---I was good. Ball on a rope hanging from a pole. One person on each
    half of the circle hitting the ball
    trying to wrap it around the pole, to win.
    Hop Scotch, Jacks, Statues, didn't we have
    fun? Thanks for the chance to remember my
    great childhood.

  8. Okay, this may not be read - I'm skimming through posts - but I had to comment. As a recently former teacher (and still involved with school), a few things are still happening in the classroom. We had milk break every day in the kindergarten classroom and a lot of the older kids had a snack break. We said the Pledge every morning and in some schools, they have weekly school assemblies where they say the Pledge. I do remember wearing dresses - amazing how many girls wear dresses still. We did ask the little ones to wear shorts underneath, since they have no problem flipping on the monkey bars during recess : ).