My memories of this school and my experiences there are good. However, it wasn't without its moments!
I don't remember whether I was excited about going to school or not, but the first time I was inside was for a physical examination at a clinic being held for kindergarten enrollees. Now I am sure I went along willingly with my Mother, and remember standing in line for my turn. But when my turn actually came up, vividly I remember throwing a FIT and I mean such a big temper tantrum that my Mom had to give up and take me home. The fit was?? Because I had to remove my shirt for the doctor. A doctor I had never seen before! My Mom was upset, extremely upset with me because now she would have the added expense of an appointment with our doctor for something that would have been free. On top of that, she did not know how to drive which meant she would have to walk two little girls to the trolley stop to travel downtown for the exam. Oh well. Of course none of that meant anything to me. Poor Mom. She told me that when I first began kindergarten, each day I would be crying because I had to leave, and my little sister would be crying because she had to stay!
Kindergarten was fun with Mrs. Crews and one of the things that stands out about assignments was being told one day we were to draw a picture of a cat! Imagine that? I didn't want to draw a cat. Never had a problem with turkeys at Thanksgiving, paper chains at Christmas or Valentines in February. I remember the large room, construction paper, the smell of the white paste, crayons, taking naps and spinning around on the floor until I wore holes in my panties! I'm sure we learned something in kindergarten (how to tie our shoes) but these days, our grand kids already knew how to read and print and do simple arithmetic before beginning kindergarten.
First grade was wonderful! Learning how to read all about the adventures of Dick and Jane, how to write, and arithmetic. Laddie pencils, pink erasers, fat crayons and wide ruled tablets. Reading was my favorite subject and our teacher divided the children into groups according to skill and assigned names to our groups. Since I was such a good reader, I was in the top group called The Blue Racers!! I thought I was pretty hot stuff.
I loved and adored my teacher. Mrs. Brown was especially kind to me and it was a treat to stay after school with her to help clap out erasers and little chores like that which gave me a chance to have special time with her. One day as we talked, I was feeling a little full of myself and I guess wanting to impress her, so I told her about riding my bicycle to school. That was a big fat lie, er uh, story. Apparently this upset Mrs. Brown to think that a six year old girl was riding a bicycle so far to school and so she contacted my parents about her concern. I don't remember getting a spanking or any punishment for this, but it was a little embarrassing to have my Mom refute my story and have my hero find out I had fibbed. I told quite a few stories in my younger days, and guess I wasn't very good at it, because I always was found out. A verse my Mom told me many times was, "Be sure your sins will find you out."
|On my first bike in front of our house|
Really and truly, I was a good little girl and a good student, but gee, these little things don't sound much like it when I see it here in writing, do they?
I kept Mom on the run. We always walked to and from school, no matter the weather. We walked with a group of children in the neighborhood, always together. As an adult, I have driven our route from our house to that school, and I can tell you it was a "pretty fer piece" for such young children to walk. Now there were a couple of times I had a tendency to want to go home with a friend after school -- so I did. I just did without asking permission. Mom had to leave my sister with the neighbor to come searching for me ... on foot. It's a mystery to me as to how she found me since I had gone off the beaten path. Do I need to mention that was only repeated a couple of times, because I recall there was a nice skinny branch off one of our trees that wrapped very nicely around my legs. Jumping and hopping, I learned that lesson well.
One of the nicest things I remember about Mark Twain Elementary was that once a week in the last period of the day, our class would walk in line single file to the church across the street to listen to a Bible story, do a craft of some kind, and color a picture of whatever we had studied that day! Do you find that simply an amazing thing? A public school being allowed to coordinate special sessions with a church for us to hear about the Bible and God? I have never thought to ask anybody else whether this was something unique to Mark Twain Elementary or if it was something standard for schools in the 1950's.
Second grade at Mark Twain was a delight as well and I progressed and adjusted to school and everything about it. My teacher, Nancy Olmsted was young and pretty with ivory skin and she wore bright red lipstick and tied small silk scarves around her neck. I can still hear her voice as she read Snipp, Snapp, and Snurr aloud to us. She was the only teacher I ever enjoyed listening to read a book as I have always preferred reading to myself.
Just before I was to enter third grade, my parents bought a new home across town. Although it was exciting to find out our family would be moving (to a house with a swing set), it was a great disappointment to me to learn in 1957 that I wouldn't be able to continue at my first school with my friends and beloved teachers.
Ah, the memories of your early years of school days. Mark Twain was in a poorer section of town and my understanding is that it is even more so now. We did not know we were poor then. We had everything we needed.
But what I discovered in my little search for a pic of my first school was a very cool story involving children at Mark Twain of second grade and below. There is an annual coloring contest for which the prize is a new bicycle for the winners. All the children were gathered together to hear the names of the winners. Each child was instructed to stand as their name was read. Now, imagine the surprise of a child hearing their name called and then to hear the name of EVERY child read and ALL children standing as they learn they would each have a new bicycle. That story brought tears to my eyes.
The Tulsa World would not give permission to share the photo, but here is a link to the story about the bicycles and who gets credit for the gift of the bikes.