Sunday, February 01, 2015

Memory Monday-My School Years

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday
I am joining Retired Not Tired for Memory Monday
I went to the same schools all through my early years. My elementary school was right at the end of my street.  In those days the buildings housed K to 8th grade and I started in the first Kindergarten, the first year the school had opened.  The school was renamed and re-purposed to a middle school in the 90's.  

James Madison Elementary School

Since it was so close to home, it seemed we were always on the playground. I still have friends from school, as we all graduated and went on to the same high school.  As I worked on this post yesterday I found a few more on Facebook.

My mom was very active with the school and was often on campus when a room mother was needed. Which was somewhat problematic, if we wanted to fly under the radar.

We were the first graduating class that went through all the grades at the school.  That week of graduation, many of us got sick with the measles (no immunization in those days).  I had come in second in the graduation speech competition and had to be ready to step in, I was so scared that I would have to get up in front of everyone and speak, but I dutifully practiced, just in case.  Thankfully, Tommy H. was well enough to give the speech and I was reprieved.  We were both sick with the measles the next morning, so our summer vacation started by feeling poorly.   

The teachers through the years, were good but I the one I had that year, was truly dreadful, many of my insecurities began here.  I wrote about it before, that it was a defining moment in my life.

"However, if one counts the teachers who had a negative impact on me, it would be my 8th grade teacher, Mr. Ginsberg, I even remember his name after all these years.  I was on the chubby side when I was 12 or 13, I also was developing my breasts and was self conscious.  I tended to stand around with my arms crossed over my chest.  He called me Buddha, all the time,  and I was hugely embarrassed.  I guess I could have objected now, but at the time, the late 50's, there was no political correctness or anti harassment. It was bullying pure and simple. I guess he thought he was being funny....Not!  He was a terrible person and should not have been a teacher." 

When we moved back to California from Michigan, the kids were still in elementary school. We stayed with my folks for many months while we looked for a house, so DD1, went to 4th grade at the school. It was a few years after that, when the rebuilding and re-naming happened.  Mom and Dad had nothing but traffic and parking problems as the school grew. More memories of these years here and here.

I went to High School at SGHS and have written about it several times. They were not my best years, only OK.  I wouldn't go back to high school again for a million dollars.


  1. I had a grade 8 teacher who was also demeaning and especially cruel to the girls although he even picked on some of the boys. Good thing we won't let it happen to our children or grandchildren.

  2. What an insensitive man your teacher must have been! My daughter once had a teacher who gave her lower grades because my daughter was shy and didn't participate in class. My husband and I thought this was ridiculous, and he pretty much told the teacher so, in a nice way. Our daughter's grades improved after that conference.

  3. I loved primary and junior school but not so much my senior years, I was glad to leave and start work.

  4. Your memory of the measles and the graduation reminds me of the chicken pox I had just before finishing elementary school. I recovered just in time for the graduation ceremony. :-)

  5. I hated school. Thankfully, I never had a male teacher although some of the female teachers could be quite cruel. It wasn't the done thing to complain in those days.

  6. Oh, my! That teacher! As a teacher myself, it's SO very important to be a positive, encouraging role models for ALL students. I was never ridiculed by a teacher in school, but I have a close friend that was. Even now I feel that *I* should have said something for HIM, to have stood up for him as I was stronger and more outgoing than he.