September thoughts...

In September of 1952 my mother walked me to the Maple Street School for my first day in the first grade. Not having been to preschool or kindergarten, this was my entrance into the world of formal education. The Maple Street School was so close to our home that I believe you could see at least the roof of it from our front door. Still, the walk to that big yellow building seemed a long one that morning. I remember telling my mother that my stomach felt strange. Well, truth be told, I probably said my tummy felt funny! She held my hand a little tighter and said, "Oh, don't worry. That's just butterflies in your tummy."

I panicked.

In my already anxious state I tried to figure out how butterflies got in my tummy, why they would want to go there and worst of all: how would they get out?

I think my mother realized right away that I was unfamiliar with the phrase so she assured me it was just something people said when they were nervous or excited about something about to happen. Nervous? Yes! Excited? Not so much.

But it turned out that my first grade teacher was Mrs. Winn (or was it Wynn?) In those days, parents had no say in classroom placement so it was the luck of the draw that won me a sweetheart of a middle aged woman who was kind, soft spoken, warm and, I recall thinking, quite pretty.

I weathered that first day quite well. I'm not sure how the butterflies got out or where they went but by the end of the day they were nowhere to be felt or seen.

Right away I liked school. There were new kids there, plenty to do and lots to learn. Every day Mrs. Winn led us in morning exercises which had nothing to do with calisthenics. She would read the 23rd Psalm from the King James Version of the bible, lead us all in the Lord's Prayer (Catholics dropping out at the appropriate moment) and have us stand to salute the flag with the Pledge of Allegiance. And all of this was two years before the words "under God" were added to the Pledge.

Thus began an academic history inclusive of a total 21 Septembers when I had to face the first day back to school. As much as I enjoyed it all, I'm glad that my formal education is now behind me. How about you? Any memories of your first day at school? Or perhaps you're preparing to walk or drive your own child to school for the first time. Do you have butterflies in your tummy as your son or daughter takes that big step?

Any September thoughts you'd like to share?

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