My Brain Peanuts Remembers: First Grade

Hello Dear Readers and welcome to this edition of  My Brain, Peanuts, Remembers.

 Today’s Topic: First Grade

I never went to kindergarten.  I don’t know why.  I think maybe it hadn’t been invented yet so by the time I started first grade,  I was so bored out of my gourd at being stuck at  home — that I was as ecstatic about becoming a “real school girl” as Pinocchio was about becoming a “real boy.”

What are we celebrating, the fact that she's not made out of wood or that she's in first grade? Both
Me –100 Percent Wood Free!

At first, I loved school with every fiber of my color crayons.

Sitting at my desk, drawing letters with fat pencils, every once in a while having the thrill of needing to get up out of my seat to sharpen it,  learning to love the small, repetitive vocabulary describing the barely perceptible lives of  Dick and Jane . . .

Dick and Jane and Spot
Dick and Jane — Ah!  the Halcyon days of looking and seeing.

And then there was learning to distinguish — through the cutting-edge technology of film strips — which old. bald men were good (Eisenhower) and which old, bald men were evil (Khrushchev).  What was not to love? (Except for Khrushchev, of course.)

I've got more hair than you do! No you don't! Yes I do! No you don't I will bury you.
“I’ve got more hair than you do!”
“No you don’t!”
“Yes I do!”
“No you don’t!”
“I will bury you.”
“Who care’s? I’ll still have more hair.”

Biting the Bubble

Oh you should have seen me, Dear Readers.  I had such a wonderful school attitude!   I took to heart the film that warned us about the dangers of putting our mouths directly over the spigot of the drinking fountain and just sucking  — a fate worse than heroin addiction in those days.   (And nobody “bit the bubble” with as much gusto as I did, nobody!)

I was becoming an indoctrinated first-grade fool and loving it!  

I always made sure to “stop, look and listen before I crossed the street,” and never to accept a ride with a stranger because, you never knew– they might be a poor driver — and, of course, I also learned how to properly carry my chair when we marched down to the multi-purpose room to have our little brains washed by current affair film strips ad communnauseum.  My education was all going so well.

Here’s a 50’s vintage film showing children how to walk 18 miles alone to school through the streets of Los Angeles:

It was all going so well until the day Eddie Sickles threw up

Then one day, while I was trying to color my picture of wheat in my workbook as well as  Claudia Hevel, who was the smartest girl and best colorer in the class,  my teacher, Mrs. Combs said, “okay let’s turn to the next page now” and that’s when the futility of school hit me like a ton film strips and transformed my attitude of good citizen to reluctant participant — plus Eddie Sickles threw up right next to me.

What difference did any of it make?

Suddenly a horrible realization washed over me. What difference did it really make how well I colored? Or bit the bubble? Or knew which bald-headed old man to hate?  What I really wanted to do with my life was to get away from Eddie Sickles and go outside and play,  watch Popeye cartoons,  and eat Trix.  Was that so wrong?

"No silly rabbit!  Trix are for juvenile deliquent first graders!"
“No silly rabbit! Trix are for juvenile delinquent first graders!”

I’m sorry to say, Dear Readers, that First-Grade  Futility of School feeling never really left me.  I never liked school from that moment on.  Oh I still went everyday.  (It was just pathetic how sick I never got.)  And I tried to have a good attitude.  But I never went to school again with a song in my heart.

The best I could manage was a hum in my spleen.

And there you have it, Dear Readers.  My brain, Peanuts, remembers first grade. If you have any first-grade memories that you’d like to share, my brain, Peanuts is all ears!  

Until next time . . . I love you

46 thoughts on “My Brain Peanuts Remembers: First Grade

  1. That’s just hilarious that you remember the exact moment when you stopped enjoying school. I’m wracking my brain trying to come up with such an epiphany in my life but it just must not be that profound!

    “A hum in my spleen,” that’s a saying that I will be adding to many conversations in 2014.

    Keep up the great writing!

    • I know it’s kind of sad, Brantley, that I remember that. I can remember almost everything about first grade but I can’t even remember what I got for Xmas this year! It’s funny how those old memories are burned into your DNA. And I’m delighted that “hum in your spleen” put a hum in your spleen!

  2. Wonder why they didn’t include “walk” and “don’t walk” in the Dick & Jane readers? Those seem like real important words to kids in the video. I didn’t attend kindergarten either. It was only for the rich kids in those days. Here’s the story of my first day at school as told on Tales From the South.

    • Russell!! LOL!! You are just as funny as I imagined you. ! I loved your story of first grade! And you tell it so well! Have you ever thought of sending this to NPR? You should!

  3. I loved the film strips! I always wanted to be immortalized in one…
    “Here, the Guapo is freezing his tiny brain while surfing in icy water.”
    “Notice how the Guapo doesn’t even realize his brain is frozen.”

    • Oh El Guapo freezing his tiny brain would have been vastly more interesting than Khrushchev freezing his brain — instead of turning blue it turned red. Well that’s what they told us in first grade anyway.

  4. I think you were just an old soul who knew learning to add fractions was pointless. After all you were the only 3 year old who knew Santa Claus was wearing a mask!!!

    • It’s true I did seem to be the only three year old in the room who noticed that! Did I ever tell you when I was in the first grade I was one of only 4 kids who got a 100 on our 100-word spelling test at the end of the year and we were all awarded a ball point pen The very latest in writing technology! Unfortunately my spelling peaked in in first grade. I wish I still had that ballpoint pen, it’s looks like ti’s the only thing I’m ever going to earn for spelling.

  5. I sat next to a kid in second grade who loved to…how should I put it? He had more gas than a herd of Guernsey cows. He grinned. He smirked. He blasted loudly and frequently. It was a nightmare breathing the air that hovered like a green cloud over the back of the classroom.. I did not have to sit next to him in third grade which improved my attitude. (And there was no kindergarten in rural OKLA in 1964.)

    • LOL!! I’m so glad you got out of the Guernsey cow section in third grade! Ha! ‘ll bet you didn’t learn very much that year except how to plug your nose. I feel sorry for whoever is stuck next to him today — hopefully he doesn’t have to take the bus to work. It sounds like none of us went to kindergarten. Which is probably why we all turned out so well!! 😀

  6. OMG!! Linda, I have missed you like none other!! I’m just checking in to say howdy. Still on my hiatus but wanted you to know I think of you daily. I miss you and all the laughter. This post is no exception. I think that background music should be the sound track of my life. Such a great counter point to all of my daily anxiety! LOL!
    I hope you’re well, Linda, and that those beautiful grandchildren are getting spoiled. So precious. I hope to be back soon – it’s not like I’m hurting for material or anything.
    Just know that I’ve never been far from you – always there in spirit and wishing good things for you.
    I was in Fryes the other day and thought about you and that hi tech coffee maker… that’s just one example of how often you cross my mind!
    Be back soon!
    All my blogging love to you, lady!

  7. OMG!! LISA!! HI!! ahahaha! I’m thinking of you with that background music on and it’s making me laugh. I am so happy to see you! I have missed you too and was just thinking about you and wondering what and how you are doing!! The last I heard, you mentioned you might be moving to a nice apartment in Chicago that belonged to your friends and now whenever I see HGTV and they are looking at apartments in Chicago I always think maybe that’s like where Lisa is living.

    Oh I really can’t wait until you come back, Lisa. It truly just isn’t the same blogging without you!! Seeing you again really has put a song in my heart! xoxoxox
    Love you,

  8. Dear Linda, I loved the video of Jim and Margie walking to school. I didn’t live in Los Angeles, but it still looked like home. I started to school in 1954; we didn’t have kindergarten either. First grade was first. It seems tha we learned a lot more back then. The mother of the children was at home when they left for school and was at home when they returned. That is the way that it was for me. Oh, for “those good old days.” May I say that “I could just cry?” I am now following your blog; please consider following mine.
    Blessings to you.
    John 17:3
    Pastor/Equipping The Saints

    • Oh we really did get to grow up in the good old days, didn’t we? My mother stayed home as well and I walked to and from school by myself without a care in the world of getting kidnapped. And everything was so wholesome. (I thought he Tarzan movies were scary!) And I must say Dick and Jane were great readers to learn to read from. I’m always on the look out for Dick and Jane books when I go to the used book places! I’m sure there were problems underneath the surface of things back then, but we didn’t know it, did we? Looking back on it now, it seems like when JFK got shot that really ended that innocent time.

      • Oh, my sister, Your thoughts are very true. I had books about “Alice, and Jerry, and Jip, and Mr. Carl.” Mr. Carl used to be pictured in his bed with a big blanket over his big belly. Of course, you could look out his window and see the snow outside. And, I remember when the parents of Alice and Jerry would drive to “Grandma’s house,” The roads were winding, hilly, and pretty. I remember the exact place where it was that I heard the news about JFK. It was truly an end to our innocence. My wife and I would love to have you over to our house to talk about “the good old days.” I could write forever, and that is good, but I’ll close for now. Please keep up the good work.
        Pastor/Equipping The Saints
        John 17:3

    • You have a great ministry to humor. People really need that today.
      Please keep up the good work. By the way, the pictures of little girls and with dresses and socks are very refreshing. And, yes! It would be good to have the “no stress life” of that time.
      Please have a blessed day.
      Equipping The Saints Pastor
      John 17:3

      • Thank you very much. Yes those dresses were nice and neat. We girls were always getting our sashes torn off our dresses because we always pretended they were horses reins. (I haven’t thought about that in years — maybe even since it happened HA! ) But they were horribly cold walking to school in in the winter (I didn’t live in CA then unfortunately).

      • Fat pencils are underrated. I spent twelve years in university, so I went from loving school to loving it only for the girls to loving it only because it was nearly done. By the end, it was pure hatred.

        • WOW! Trent!! Twelve years! You must have a hell of a degree! Are you a doctor? You must have like a PhDoubleD with a twist of lime or something. Seriously though, what an accomplishment! It boggles my mind just thinking about it!

  9. How sad, your disillusion with your schooldays, I have a tear in my eye 😦

    Jon 17:1 (I’m not poking fun at previous commentators, it’s legit because that’s when my birthday is)

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