Page three of my autobiography

December 30, 2012 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

Yesterday I chose my own topic, to commemorate someone I knew. Today I’m going back to the WordPress Daily Prompt The Early Years: Write page three of your autobiography.


Photo: My one-room school was converted to apartments by the time I was in Grade 8 and in another school. Essentially it looks the same as it did when I went to school, only there was a large tree in front that we could sit under, then a bike rack beside it. In the field in the foreground was our ball diamond, because that’s what we played most days at noon hour when the weather was warm. Photo  by C. Wilker.

Page 3

If you’ve ever attended a country one-room schoolhouse, you’ll know that we had one teacher and eight grades. At least when I began school, we had grades 1-8 and no kindergarten. Later, we’d have up to Grade 5 and that was it. That one teacher was in charge of teaching every subject to every grade level. Music and Art were two subjects we did together, with older students helping the younger ones as needed.

I walked a quarter mile to school every day, though some fellow students had much further to walk. I got a ride to school on my first day  when my mother took me there. After that I walked with another student who lived on the eleventh line.

Arriving at the school, with my lunchbox in hand, I  stood in a line with other students at the Girl’s door, some feet away from the boys waiting to get in their door. When the teacher came out and rang her hand bell, we’d enter, go up a few stairs and into the cloakroom where we hung our jackets, and in winter, put our boots. I’d set my lunchbox on the shelf above the coathooks and then go to my desk in the large classroom.

The blackboard would be filled with assignments for the first part of the day. The teacher used different colours of chalk for different lessons. There would be words and numbers as well as a map for geography or history lessons. Our teacher must have arrived very early to put all that up before we arrived. Then by noonhour we’d be done with those lessons and we’d have new ones.

Our desks were lined up in a row too. The desks were two parts, a seat and the small table top with an inkwell and pencil slot. In some desks the top was on a hinge and we could lift it up to put our things in the box inside and then put down the lid. In others, there was merely a space under the desktop where we could put our pencils and books. I remember sitting at my desk and my feet didn’t quite touch the floor in those early years.

The primary students got a fat red pencil that was easier for small hands to hold, and older students got a blue pencil, a little slimmer than the red ones. We each received a new notebook, some of which had coloured lines in to practise our printing, and others just with lines like a regular notebook.  There was one pencil sharpener in the room that I remember, and we’d have to put up our hand to be excused from sitting to go and sharpen or for any other important reason we might need to leave our desk.

Each morning, we stood up for opening exercises, said the Pledge of Allegiance to our country, sang God Save the Queen—with the Queen looking down on us from her picture on the wall— and then we said the Lord’s Prayer. We had a flag in our classroom and one of the older, bigger students got to hold it during the Pledge and song. I don’t remember ever getting to hold the flag, and I’m not sure why. Was I too shy to put up my hand ( I was shy) or was I too small to manage it and a boy or older student beat me to it.

I learned reading easily and enjoyed that part. Writing in my notebook sometimes took a long time since I was very careful to  do my work well. And I remembered we learned to read from Dick and Jane books in that first year.

end of page…


Entry filed under: community, education, photography, storytelling, writing. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

In memoriam for Darleen Clay Canadian Writers Who Are Christian–Turn over a new leaf

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