52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

Recently I joined Geneabloggers and noted that they have weekly topics that are designed to get you to blog about your own personal history.  How could I pass up an opportunity to talk about myself? 

This is Week 44 and the topic is Elementary School.

I have quite a variety of Elementary School experiences for grades kindergarten through sixth grade.  Initially I started at theSouth Bend Hebrew Day School.  My uncle helped with my tuition so that I could be in the same class with his daughter, Shellie.  I was younger than everyone else in my class by a few months, but liked school for the most part.  It was a small school and I remember having to ride two different school buses just to get there.  As I progressed in school I eventually started telling mom that I wanted to go to the same school as all my neighborhood friends.  My best friend, Erin, was attending the local elementary and I wanted to be with her.  I liked recess and whenever we had art classes.  I remember playing “Red Rover” and playing on the playground which was really nice.  It was wooded and shady and had swings, slides, and more.  I don’t remember much else about the school except that I often faked stomach aches or colds in the hopes of being sent home from school.  My poor mom was divorced by this time and it must have caused a lot of hassle for her to try and get off work to come get me.  

I think it was in first grade when I had my first major injury and unfortunately it happened at school.  I was playing with my friend Jennifer (yes, there were three of us with that name and we went by Jen, Jenny, and Jennifer) and we were taking turns going on the small slide.  It was only about 6′ high and so I didn’t get scared like I did on the 12′ high one.  When it was my turn to go down the slide the boy behind me told me to hurry up and I think he gave me a little shove.  Next thing I knew I was going over the side and landed on my right arm.  I blacked out and when I woke Jennifer was leaning over me and asked, “Are you alright?”.  At first I thought I was okay, but when I went to get up I knew I was hurt.  I couldn’t move my right arm at all.  I was crying a little bit when I realized it and so we went to the teacher on the playground and she told us to go to the nurse.  I remember Jennifer saying that she needed to tell her big brother where she was going and when he saw me he asked, “What’s wrong with her?  What a baby!”. 

Eventually we made it into the office of the school and the principal stopped me.  As I’d mentioned earlier, I was known for faking sick and here is when it became obvious that it had caught up with me.  The principal asked what had happened and then he asked me to move my arm.  At this point my arm was pretty much dangling at my side.  I made an honest attempt to move it, but nothing happened.  Finally, he believed me and got the nurse.  She was so sweet about it and very gentle.  She made a sling for my arm out of a pair of pants that she had in her office and had me lie down for a while.  When mom came she quickly took me to the hospital where they x-rayed my arm and discovered that I’d broken my collarbone.  There wasn’t much that they could do so they set it and then taped my arm to my body and put it in a sling.  I got to stay home for a couple days and the highlight of the time was when the principal brought me a huge yellow card signed by everyone in the school.  It was easily about 4′ tall and I loved it.  For the next couple weeks I had to learn to do things with my left hand and I actually got pretty good at it.  To this day, I consider myself to be fairly ambidextrous. 

In second grade, Mom finally gave in and let me change to the neighborhood elementary school.  I was thrilled!  My new school was James Madison Elementary and was just about a fifteen minute walk from our house and went right past the house that my dad was living in.  I really liked this school and have many fond memories of the two years I attended there.   It was a lot bigger than my old school and had all kinds of kids.  It was a two story brick building and a few years ago I drove past it on a visit to South Bend and it looked just the same to me.  In third grade my mom remarried and so we moved to Hamilton, Ohio.  I was upset about leaving my best friend, my dad and brother, and all my grandparents.  All my classmates wrote me letters saying how much they would miss me.  I still have those letters and every once in a while I read through them and smile at the cute mispellings.

James Madison School, South Bend, Indiana

Once we were in Ohio though I adjusted pretty well and made new friends.  The funny thing was that my new school was named the same thing as my old one!  Yet another James Madison Elementary and the mascot was a Bulldog there too!   This school was a little smaller than my last school, but I had some of my best teachers while attending this one.  I had several good friends and had slumber parties and we talked about the boys that we had crushes on.  I think I had a crush on nearly every boy in my class at one time or another!  At recess we would play two-square, tether ball, jump rope, and even played the occasional game of kickball.  It was a huge asphalt lot that was fenced on one side and was enclosed by the building.  Not the most kid friendly atmosphere, but we didn’t care.  A few years ago I drove by this school and discovered it was boarded up and closed.  They were planning to demolish it I think.  It made me sad, but then I realized how small and run down it now seemed.  Funny how our memories as kids are so much smaller once we grow up. 

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