Thursday, August 28, 2014

Remembering My First Day of School

On this Labor Day weekend, I am remembering my first day of school, and how important it was and how I had looked forward to it.  I had just turned five in July, and because there was no kindergarten in the country schools, I was in first grade.  Scared out of my wits.  Not knowing what to expect.  Wondering how all those “big kids” would treat me.

Miss Piechowski was my teacher, in fact she was everybody’s teacher in the school as it was a one-room country school with all eight grades in one room.  I arrived at school, walking the mile from the home farm with neighbor kids, wearing my new bib overalls, a new shirt, and my special “go to town” cap.  And I had combed my hair.  Ma said I could not go to school without combing my hair.  I hated combing my hair, but I didn't want to get in trouble with Ma, especially not on my first day of school.

In 1939 the year I enrolled, the school had no electricity, no indoor plumbing and was heated with a huge old wood burning stove. Quite primitive by today’s standards.  I soon discovered I loved the place because it was here that I learned how to read and appreciate the importance of books. 

It was here that I learned how to spell, and how to take apart sentences and put them together again.  It was here that I learned that 12 x 12 equaled 144, and that the capitol of Ohio was Columbus.  And it was here that I learned how to get along with Polish kids, Bohemian kids, German kids, Norwegian kids, Catholic kids and Methodist kids and kids who never saw the inside of a church.

 It was here that I spent eight years and developed a great love for reading, for books and for writing.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Learning does not require a fancy place, although such a place can make it easier.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  It’s time to sign up for my writing class at The Clearing (Saturday, November 1). It’s about writing stories from your life—to be shared with families, friends and more. Go to this link for further information.
If that doesn’t work, write or call The Clearing:
12171 Garrett Bay Rd, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
(920) 854-4088.


September 3, 5:00 p.m. Live at Five TV Show, CBS, Channel 3, Madison.

September 9, 6:30 p.m., Monroe Library, Limping Through Life.

September 14, 6:00 p.m. West Salem Historical Society, (West Salem American Legion).  Barns of Wisconsin.

September 20, 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. Stories From the Land, Stonefield Village, Cassville.

September 24, 10:15. Wisconsin Retired Educators, Marriott West, Madison.  How to Tell Your Story.

NEW NOVEL OUT IN SEPTEMBER: The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County can now be pre-ordered. It's all about how a small town deals with the possibility of a frac sand mine coming to their community.  Go to this link for further information:

Here are upcoming launch and signing dates for the book:

October 2, Heartland Forum, Minneapolis

October 7, 7:00 p.m. Barnes and Noble, west Madison,

October 16, 6:00 p.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, WI

October 19, 12:30 p.m. Wisconsin Book Festival, Rm. 302, Madison Main Library

November 1, 4:30 p.m. The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI


Bill said...

Thanks for taking me back to your first years in school, for directing my attention to the building the other kids, the teacher and learning to read. Your post is delicious. Bill Kirby

PS - I have tried your capcha deal to prove I am not a robot. It is too hard to use.

Don said...


As opposed to your yearning for school, I dreaded the sight of the big yellow school bus. And 50 years later I still do. Not that I disliked school, just that I liked summer and farm activities so much better.
The swallows are gone, summer is over, according to my Dad's view of the world.