Back to school

I don’t know why, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my elementary school days lately. Maybe because fall reminds me of the excitement of going back to school.

I loved this time of year because A) It meant we got to make the annual trip to Kids ‘R Us for a new fall/winter wardrobe, and B) I was a nerd who loved school.

Seriously, nothing thrilled me more than starting my day by hanging my plastic backpack up on my designated hook in the hallway and entering the classroom where the D.O.L. (Daily Oral Language) sentence was already up on the overhead projector, just waiting for me to delve in and correct it.


But D.O.L. isn’t the only thing I miss about my early educational years. So, I decided to make – you guessed it – a list!

Things I Miss About Elementary School:

1. Hot lunch. Hot lunch days happened only a few times each year and they were the BEST. Whether it was pizza, hot dogs or French toast sticks (which was really more like a hot brunch), I was always completely amped up to eat something other than a fruit roll-up and a peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwich. (That was my sandwich of choice, but my mom was always a little stingy with the chocolate chips.) Somehow, the consumption of hot food made the whole day seem special and exciting – there was a spark in the air, a spring in my step, and mostly likely after 12pm, a grease stain on my shirt.

2. Recess. Playing Red Rover, getting “chased” by boys, showing off my gymnastics moves, bouncing around on my sweet neon-colored Pogo Ball or Skip-It, playing four-square and “Hot Lava” on the playground (don’t let your feet touch the wood chips!), practicing our New Kids on the Block dance moves, double-dutch jump roping (ok, I may have just been a spectator for that one) – what’s not to love??

3. New seating charts. You never knew when it was going to happen, but when the teacher announced the implementation of a new seating chart, the classroom instantly began buzzing with excitement. Who you sat by could make or break your at-school social life. Being seated next to your best friend was like winning the lottery (with similar odds – my teachers weren’t dumb). Being seated next to the kid who picked his nose and wiped it on the bottom of his desk was pretty much the worst case scenario. But the best part was the few minutes before discovering your fate – pure adrenaline rush!

4. Room parents. My mom was a room parent. She was also the “Picture Lady.” And a hot lunch day volunteer. And my Brownie troop leader. She spent about as much time at my elementary school as I did. Believe it or not, I thought this made me pretty darn cool. Whenever she was in my classroom, I felt like I owned the place and could do whatever I wanted. My mom was there. Sadly for her, this mentality rapidly deteriorated as I got older. In 5th grade, I actually requested that she un-volunteer for the Outdoor Education overnight trip because I didn’t want my mom staying in the cabin with me and my friends. But then we got stuck in a cabin with our teacher – so that kind of backfired.

5. The President’s Challenge fitness testing. This was my chance to shine. I kicked some serious corduroy-clad butt in the 50-yard dash and I could hang off of that pullup bar for minutes hours. Let me tell you something about me as a kid – I loved to show off. My class and the gym teacher were my audience and that smelly tile gym was my stage. I was pretty sure the President himself must have known who I was since I was awarded the official iron-on decal every year for my achievements. My only downfall? The sit-and-reach. That evil metal box of doom. I was lucky if I could push that stupid marker past my knees. In fact, I’m pretty sure that never happened.

Ahh, now I’m feeling all nostalgic. I better stop this before I get the urge to tight-roll my jeans and get out my old troll dolls and slap bracelets…

5 thoughts on “Back to school

  1. Ahh, nostalgia. I have to laugh because the sit-and-reach was the only part of the presidential physical fitness test that I was good at! But doesn’t that sound like the laziest “exercise” ever?

  2. Wow, it is really gratifying to learn that all my researching artists for Picture Lady, devising games for holiday room parties, assisting on field trips, etc. was actually appreciated instead of merely tolerated by you. Thanks for that, Sweetheart! (You didn’t exactly fall all over yourself thanking me back in those days.) And don’t worry, I quickly got over the sting of rejection when you were in 5th grade (remember, I still participated in the daytime portion of Outdoor Education) because I still had years of volunteering ahead of me for your sister.

  3. Carlie,

    Ahh, you ring a bell of memories for me.

    I remember when my students like to play “hot lava” Kate actually played it when she visited me at school once.

    Having just changed the seats around in my room, I got a feel for how the kids feel. You get to sit by your friends-at the end of the school year. You were probably used as a “buffer” by the teacher. That is my term for putting a positive role model next to someone who needs a little calming down, etc.


  4. I think we must have had identical childhoods. Every single thing you said brought back memories for me. I loved school too!! So so so much. I want to go back! Bring on Pizza Day!

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