Goody, Goody! Goody, Goody!

The first and last days of school I got called down for running my mouth, and probably every day between. Born without a muffler or filter it paid off handsomely if not happily. My sister, Phyllis, on the other hand was the model of decorum and every teachers’ darling. It was unlikely she ever got scolded, but she often had to be told to “let someone else answer.” Of course, she knew all the answers, since she did all her homework as soon as she got in from school. From her earliest days, it was obvious she’d be a wonderful teacher, which she was. All her games revolved around playing school, especially after my teacher relatives passed discarded textbooks on to us. Many of those books were still in use in our classrooms. Imagine her joy when she poured over them and started school way ahead of her class. I was not so much interested in the textbooks and playing school. That’s where our trouble lay. She expected me to be her perfect student, as we went from reading to math to science to geography.
I was all in to the reading lesson, but ready to go when we moved on. That wasn’t how her school worked. She’d get her fly-back paddle after me, so school was over and the fight was on. I never hung around too long. She’d go to Mother to back up her discipline and get disappointed time after time. Home-schooling just didn’t work for her.
To my great joy, Phyllis did get in trouble one time. In the first grade, she shared a desk with Richard. Travis sat right behind them. When Mrs. Hanks passed back their work, Phyllis and Richard got an A. Travis got an F. Phyllis and Richard turned around and sang to him, “Goody, goody Travis.” Mrs. Hanks called them to the front of the class and made them sing to each other, “Goody, goody, Phyllis. Goody, goody, Richard.” Of course, Phyllis came straight home with the story of how she’d suffer, only to get more trouble. That took care of their classroom “Goody, goodies” but I think I still heard it at home a few times.


Outclassed and Outsmarted

schoolGetting our kids off to school used to be a dance with the devil. The devil definitely knew all the steps. I always laid out shoes and clothes, (no substitutions allowed) lunches, backpacks packed, papers signed with everything ready to roll the night before. That created the illusion of sanity and was good for a laugh. I was up at five a.m. to get my shower, dress, and cook breakfast. The kids always wanted hot breakfast, so I was guilt-ridden to make sure they had eggs, grits, and toast. As soon as it was on the table, I woke Bud and turned to circus over to him. He was supposed to railroad them through breakfast, get the dishes to the dishwasher, make sure they brushed their teeth and hair, and got out the door with everything. About fifty percent of the time it worked as planned.

Sometimes one of them would let the dog escape, fall in a puddle on the way to the truck and have to change or remember they’d hidden the note saying the Science Fair Project was due today and start bawling. Occasionally one would throw up or discover a rash at breakfast or the bus stop. Once Bud left them at the bus stop with some other kids and they all stayed there till after nine before walking home to call and let us know the bus never ran. (so they said) Once my daughter sneaked back in and changed pants. Bud had to pick her up as soon as she got to school because she had a “stomach ache.” As soon as she got home she changed pants and was miraculously cured. He took her right back to school.

I do miss those little daily struggles.  If only my fertility could be restored and I could started all over!  Ha!

Snotty Girl Club

I spotted my “sometimes friend” Betty Green deep in conversation with Rita Lawson, the principal’s snotty daughter. The choice of friendship each day was Betty’s.  I was a friendly kid and would have played with a rattlesnake. Betty turned her back, making it clear she didn’t want my company when she finally had Snotty Rita all to herself that day.  Continue reading

Tested and Found Lacking

Having attended a tiny rural high school, fearing I could never compete with those from large urban high schools, I was sensitive about my educational shortcomings. Expecting to be labeled a bumpkin and hustled back to the farm “with my own kind,” in my mind, I had gotten to college with little to recommend me but a good vocabulary, a love of Continue reading

Her Facts Didn’t Run

Our school was tiny. So tiny that even with two grades sharing a room and teacher, there were still usually less than fifteen students in the two grades.  The good news was, if you didn’t learn everything you should have in second grade math, you got another crack at it in third grade while the new second grade covered the same material.  Though each class used different books, the lessons sounded much the same. Continue reading