I am not really sure just why but it seems almost everything that was going to happen gave me cause to be excited about it. Maybe it was that I had an older sister and brother and every time an event involved doing stuff they had done already and now it was my turn was the reason. It could be I just plain ole enjoyed getting to do things that were new to me and the first time held me in such a state of anticipation. Probably all of this and more but whatever it was I would get hyper about it.
So when I was told I was going to go to school and I would be riding the same school bus as Peg and Ben I was ready to go to say the least. My first year of school was the fall of 1955. The first day was almost always the day after Labor Day or the day before it. So come that first day I was up and ready for the bus a good four hours or more before it was scheduled to arrive.
I should have known something special was up as mom had ordered me more cloths than I could ever remember ever getting at one time. On top of that she had me try them on and as soon as she saw they fit she made me take them off and she put them back in the package. Now that really confused me. Why get new cloths and not get to wear them? Thing was with my mom on matters like this it was wise not to ask her too many questions. I knew she would tell me when the time was right or I would out grow them and mom would have wasted her money and I knew that was never going to happen.
When the day came and they told me that school was starting mom then laid out an outfit for me to wear. (She wouldn’t let me put them on until I had eaten breakfast. When excited I could be a little sloppy with a spoon.) After breakfast and I got dressed mom then gave me a special surprise. A Davey Crockett metal lunch box! Wow school was paying off already! Then mom and dad and my brother and sister all came outside and I was marched over to a spot on the corner of the yard where a huge plant grew and bloomed each year and she made certain I was smack in the middle in front of the plant so they could take a picture of my first day of school. We had a camera that was a box in shape and didn’t have a flash on it. It was used only on special occasions. Wow I had made it to being in a special occasion!
Time had moved slowly that morning but a huge yellow school bus was slowing down at our house and all of a sudden two red lights above the windshield began flashing. It was time to board the bus. Strangely my family stood back from me and the bus but did yell have a good day. When the bus stopped I climbed aboard and Ed Farnbach was the driver and I knew him from our church. He smiled and told me to take a seat close to the front. I saw two boys a little older than me and they encouraged me to sit with them So I did and I liked them so much and I’m guessing it was mutual as they would call to me every morning. Their names were Dave Peters and Phillip Banks. They were two years older than me and when you are six that is a huge age gap. But they were farm boys and we told joke to each other. This made bus rides enjoyable and they went by quicker.
When we arrived at Moscow school there were teachers standing there to sort us out and point us in the right direction. When I got into the classroom I saw that my teacher was Mrs. Warden. She wasn’t a person who smiled a lot and most of the students were a little afraid of her. I wasn’t as I had her as my Sunday school teacher and knew she was a kind lady. She got us seated in the places where she wanted us and wrote down our names in a black book that I soon learned was the book she kept our grades and attendance and all important information. This was safe to say her bible of the first grade for that year.
Next she called off our names and we were told to answer here! So we did. Then she had us stand and we all looked toward the American Flag and she told use to follow her as she gave the pledge of allegiance. We were then told to take our seats and she had us bow our heads and again follow her lead as we all said The Lord’s Prayer. (I am telling all of you this part as it is missing in the schools today and in my opinion that is a shame for them to be missing in a country that boasts of our great freedoms yet not allowed to exercise them.)
Once we finished all of that she collected our milk money. It was .02 cents a day for a pint of chocolate milk! So I quickly pulled out my hand kerchief and untied the corner of it where mom had tied my dime in so I could make certain that Mrs. Warden got my dime so I could enjoy a bottle of chocolate milk each school day and without question. Again score another point for the school. I must admit that after all that had taken place that morning the rest of the day seemed dull and when school let out I was more than ready to go home.
Looking back I must say my first day was a really special day to me. However the rest of the next twelve years kind of dragged. I made ok grades and stayed in the B area but just between us I really liked to socialize more. Who knows maybe I just talked too much. I guess that could happen.
Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. If you are interested in reading more of his stories they can be found in his books ‘There are Places to Remember” and’ Memories ARE from the Heart.” He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.