Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pinehurst: Fourth Grade (1)

Mrs. Smith was my fourth grade teacher. As I already alluded, I was disappointed that I didn't get to be in Dorothy Caldwell's class, and I didn't have either of my close friends in my room. Mrs. Smith was strict, but a good teacher. I liked her a lot. She read some very interesting stories to us after lunch, which was the practice in those days. One story was about an island that was slowly sinking into the ocean and how the people who lived there were going to cope with the situation. I have always wanted to find and read that book, but haven't any idea of the title. We were also introduced to Laura Ingalls Wilder, and had her first two books read to us that year.

At the start of the day, after roll call, the pledge, and lunch stats, the teachers would typically read a passage from the Bible to us. I remember Mrs. Smith explaining to us, that teachers were no longer allowed to read the Bible to us in school. I wondered why, but being a kid, I quickly moved on figuring "that's just the way things are." (This was Sept. of '63 when prayer and Bible reading were taken out of public schools.)

The third and fourth grade classrooms at Pinehurst were in the old building, east of the main building, across the 2nd grade playground, but connected by a breezeway that ran between the buildings. (The breezeway was a covered walkway, that kept the snow and rain off but allowed the wind to "breeze" through.) The one at Pinehurst school overlooked Main street, had 4x4 painted posts and bordered a driveway for the busses to pick up and drop off students. The old building where we had class was sided with "wavy" aluminum, and contained only 6 classrooms, a teacher's lounge, boys & girls restrooms. I was probably the "original" Pinehurst school building. My class was the second on the right coming in the front door, and overlooked the 2nd grade playground. (The old building has since been removed and replaced by a larger play area.)

Our playground area was to the east of the old building in a large dirt area with a few bushes and Ponderosa Pines. We had some swings a little south of the dirt area. We had to share our playground with the 3rd graders. There was also a large cement structure the school used to burn old textbooks and papers. It drew the curiosity of many a student, and after school hours some kids probably climbed inside, and were covered with soot. There wasn't a fence along the side, and the older (Jr. High) kids would cut across our playground to get to the stores during lunchtime.

Along the front of the playground, there was a strange "fence" made of posts strung with wire cable. (The cable was thick, and before and after school we would try to walk along the cable, like we were high wire acrobats). During recess we would swing on the cables. We also played on the breezeway, mainly jump rope and Barbies. And after the 2nd graders went inside, we got to play on their playground.

One of my favorite "games" in the fourth grade was to pretend I was a queen. E. Larson and some other guys would be my body guards and horses (draped with a jumprope for the reins). My castle was in one of the bushes. This particular bush had a "doorway" made from two upright branches and a root that ran across the bottom of the doorway between them. Past the doorway, there was only room for one person - "me". I would stand inside the bush at the doorway, and give instructions to my minions, who immediately obeyed me without question. Since I was a "good queen," I never asked them to do anything bad. (Mostly, they just waited on me.)

I learned a lot of jump rope rhymes that year, and I loved to jump. We did the usual jumping with rhymes and double dutch (with two ropes going opposite directions at the same time. ) I loved to "run in" and "run out" of the ropes & jump along with others. My favorite jump rope game was "high jumping," where we would raise the rope (like you raise a high jump bar), and we would take turns jumping over the rope. If you caught the rope with your foot or couldn't jump over it, you were out. I was usually one of the highest jumpers. (I was also one of the tallest in my classes, until I reached 6th grade, also).

My love for high jumping may have been one reason I went out for the High Jump in track during my High School years. I wasn't tall enough to score points, but it was a personal thing to see how high I could go. (Besides I was a lousy runner and we had to participate in two events.)
But I digress. I made a lot of new friends at Pinehurst, many of them on the playground where the girls mainly played with girls and the boys with boys. (Except for the pretend things like being "queen.")

I met one girl on the breezeway, who had a broken leg. I remember she had silver crutches - something I had never seen before - and she liked to swing those at people like she was going to hit them. Her name was N. Colombo, and I thought she was really mean. But after her leg healed she and I used to high jump together, and she was really good.


InlandEmpireGirl said...

Now that girl with the broken leg cuts my Mom's hair! Small world! It is fun to remember the games we played on the playground.

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Nannette was the Instructor at Millie's Beauty Salon in Kellogg, when I went to Beauty School from Dec '77- Jan '79. Then I worked at Georgine's all of '79 and the first part of '80, until I got married in May.

Millie's was owned by Nannette's mother-in-law at the time: Millie Linhart. Nannette and I hung out together a little our senior year, when we were dating guys who were friends. (Particularly one time when they took off skiing and left us at the lodge).