Monday, August 2, 2010


Since a new school year will be starting back up later this month, we decided to write about our memories of that first day of school.

Grandmother:  School bells will soon start ringing.  When I attended school years and years ago, we had a custodian who rang the hand bell to summon us in to start the day and again at the end of the lunch period.  Sometimes he let one of us ring the bell.  My schooling started with first grade and I attended the S. D. Largent school in Great Falls, Montana.  The first grade teacher was Miss Odegard and there were 15 to 18 kids during that year.

The one thing that I can vividly remember was I had a new box of crayons with all the tips, no broken ones, no tooth marks and crisp paper on each brilliant color.  I treasured that box and used them very carefully.  I lived on a ranch and my Dad took us to school when he delivered milk.  At the end of the day I would walk from the school down Central Avenue to where my Grandfather sold insurance.  Grandpa came to the school each day for the first week and we walked to his office.  The second week I was on my own so I dilly dallied down the avenue and came to his building.  Unknown to me, Grandpa was a block behind me on that first solo walk to make sure I got to his office okay.  Needless to say I think he had some choice words for my folks when we got home.  After that I walked a little faster.  The beginning of school was the first time I ever had a friend that was not a relative.  Many members of that first grade class continued to the sixth grade so the friendships were lasting and fun.

Daughter:  The first day of school was almost as big as a holiday in our household.  There were weeks of preparation beforehand.  Buying freshly sharpened pencils; brand new, crisp folders; and of course finding the coolest, most colorful trapper keeper.  Then there was the search for a new backpack.  Should this year's be blue, purple or red?  It was always a crucial decision.

And of course, if you know me, you know the best part about a new school year is new school clothes.  Every year, we always had a budget to spend on new outfits for school.

The night before the first day of school, our outfits would be laid out perfectly pristine next to our bed with our backpacks stuffed full of all kinds of goodies.  We'd go to bed in anticipation.  And the culmination of all this preparation was the first day of school photograph.  I'm pretty sure we have pictures of the first day of school from kindergarten through to high school.  And of course it was important to model just so, so you could see my pretty new dress and my brand-new backpack at the same time!

Mom:  It's funny how some traditions are passed down from generation to generation. I remember my mom photographing all those first days of school and I continued that tradition with my kids.

Backpacks hadn't become a major school item, but lunch boxes were and every year I got a brand new one. It always was a Barbie lunch box with a neat matching thermos...I was sooooo cool!

Since my mom made most of my clothes when I was younger, the best tradition I remember about the first day of school was the annual shopping trip with my Grandma L. She would treat my girl cousins and me to a day of shopping at a local fancy dress shop. I never got any clothes at that store except when Grandma would take us to get a new outfit for school each year. We would have a ball trying on all different types of dresses and it was agonizing making the final decision on one outfit. There were so many I wanted and Grandma L. would have bought them except my mom sternly directed me to pick just one.

I could hardly sleep the night before school being so anxious to show off my fancy store bought dress and imagining myself to be the prettiest girl in school. Remember that when I went to school girls were required to wear dresses. It wasn't until I was in high school that we were finally allowed to wear pants. Since I grew up in Montana where the winters were cold, we were allowed to wear pants under our dresses but we had to remove them when we got to school. Boy have clothing styles changed since then! Mom

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