Flashback Friday…Back To School Memories

I can’t remember any special back-to-school traditions while I was growing up, other than always getting some new clothes and shoes.  Those shoes had to last me  for months, so I was very particular which ones I chose.  We only had one or two pairs in those days!  One year I can remember chosing black and white “saddle oxfords”.  I loved those shoes!  They made me feel like a cheerleader!  Another year I can remember chosing a “loafer” with tassels on top of it.  I always wanted a pair of “penny loafers”.   Everyone would tuck a penny in the slot on top of the shoe!  I thought that was so cool…   For some reason, I could never find a pair that would fit, so I settled for loafers with tassels. 

my face isn't clear, but check out my shoes!

I was never eager to start back to school.  I always hated my birthday of August 30, because back then, school always started back around that date.  I could never look forward to my birthday with much happiness because I knew that I would be going back to school about that same time.  Once or twice school actually started ON my birthday!

I don’t remember any big deal about buying school supplies.  In those days, the choices were pretty limited.  It was always fun to begin the year with a new 3 ring binder though–all fresh and new, just waiting to be doodled on!  We used to have those denim blue binders and everyone wrote on the fronts of them.

I have a horrible” first few days of school” memory.  When I was growing up, school began in first grade.  Our school  had an immaculate lawn surrounding it, and there were “patrol boys”(older students) to supervise the sidewalks to make sure nobody stepped on the grass.  I was playing around on the sidewalk and accidentally stepped onto the grass.  To my horror, I got hauled into the principal’s office!  Nothing happened to me, except I received a warning, but the terror remains with me today!  Imagine, getting hauled in for stepping on the grass– in comparison to what it takes to get sent to the principal today!

When I was in elementary school I always ate in the lunchroom.  One of my favorite school meals was ravioli.  I never got it at home, so I looked forward to ravioli days.  When I was in the fourth grade, my parents lived across the street from the school for a few months.  During those months, I was allowed to walk home for lunch!  I liked that because that was something that not many kids got the opportunity to do.  When I was in high school I took my lunch almost every day.  My girlfriend, Karen, and I ate outside on a bench most of the time.  I brought my lunch in a brown bag, but I had a quart sized thermos of iced tea to go with it!  Those are my most vivid, happy memories–lunch with Karen every day.  Karen and I have remained friends all of these years.

Karen and me posing on our "lunch bench"

I had the experience of walking to school, riding the bus, and riding in a car–all during different years, of course!  I didn’t much care for riding the bus, but I didn’t have to ride for very long before we moved to town.  I lived way across town from the school, and it took me about 45 minutes to walk the distance.  Fortunately, a neighbor began offering me a ride to school each morning.  She worked at school, which meant that I had to arrive  early, but it beat walking any day!  I still had to walk home in the afternoons unless it rained. 

Several of us would walk through downtown, and if we had money, we’d go to Strickland’s Pharmacy and buy a hamburger and a coke.  That was the popular after-school thing to do.  After walking through town, I had to turn left and walk  another 3/4 of a mile to my house.  This last leg of my journey was walked alone.

Once while I was walking that last part of my journey, I was stopped by a car filled with several suspicious-acting older men.  I was probably about 13 at the time.  They acted like they wanted directions, so I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to see what they wanted.  They began talking among themselves while looking at me (as if formulating a plan).  I got scared and high-tailed it out of there!  I ran all the way to my house, went inside, and locked the door.  Then I called my daddy who was working at a grocery store downtown.  He called the police and reported the men harassing me.  The police went to check things out.  When the police arrived, the men were still sitting in that car beside the sidewalk.  They had been drinking, and earlier in the day they had been asked to leave the restaurant near where they were parked.  I guess they were just looking for trouble.  They were asked to leave town.

It makes me shudder when I think of the things that could have happened that day.  I could’ve easily been abducted, and never seen again.  They could’ve followed me home.  After that frightening experience, I began walking a different route home from school in the afternoons.  I missed going through town(and getting an occasional hamburger), but I was never bothered by anyone again. 

Hop on over to http://www.mochawithlinda.blogspot.com if you’d like to read more “back to school memories”, or maybe add a few of your own.  I am also linking up with Java over at http://www.nevergrowingold.blogspot.com for Friday Follow Bloggers Over 40.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Published in: on August 13, 2010 at 7:10 am  Comments (23)  
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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a lovely post. You may be interested in this from the other side of the Atlantic:

    http://caughtinthemiddleman.wordpress.com/2007/06/27/early-education-part-3-3/

  2. I HATED saddle oxfords! My mom loved them, though, and loved for us to wear them.

    Love the flowered pants in the bench picture!

    And that last story made my heart pound. I’m so glad nothing happened to you. One time I was walking to school and a car pulled around the corner and started going really slow right behind me. The driver may have just been being careful, but I just knew I was about to get kidnapped and scurried to catch up with the kids ahead of me.

    • Linda, I was wondering if anyone would notice those “mod” pants that I was wearing in that photograph! Gotta’ love the 70’s!!!

  3. OMGosh! Kathy! I am so glad you got out of there safely! That had to be the scariest (or almost) thing of your life!
    I like the rest of your story really fine. The other too was well written, I just don’t like to hear things like that. I don’t hardly ever watch war movies either.

    Your pictures are very nice. And you were very nice looking (I got reprimanded for saying ‘cute’ about girls or else I would say that about you in both pictures). And to think you are ‘over 40’ now (per note at the bottom)!
    I think I have a ‘bib overall’ picture but it needs to be scanned. I couldn’t scan it last night as Mrs. Jim was using her computer. Mine is newer and is not compatible with our scanner.
    ..

    • Thank you for your sweet comments, Jim. Yes, that was a scarey experience with those fellows who were up to no good. I enjoy reading your posts each week, as well.

  4. I had a similar experience when I was in elementary school. A guy pulled his car up next to the sidewalk right beside me one afternoon as I was leaving the school yard. He leaned across the seat to open the passenger door and said, “Get in kid, I am going to deliver you to your mom. She sent me to pick you up.”

    A million things went through my head, first off, I could see my house from where I was, why did I need a ride home? Second off, I didn’t know this guy, and third, my mom was dead. Somehow I knew he really did want to take me to see her. I screamed bloody murder. Mrs. Olson came running from the school. Mrs. Kohler and Mr. Anderson came running from their homes. The guy took off. Mrs. Olson chased his car and wrote down his license plate number. I don’t know what happened after that.

    • Wow! That guy left no doubt that he was up to no good! I’m glad your story had a positive ending.

  5. Oh, yikes! How terrifying!

    I think it’s funny that you went to the principal’s office for stepping on the grass. I’m personally a rebel who prefers to walk on the grass whenever possible (it’s so much nicer on my feet than pavement!) I’d be in big trouble if institutions were that strict about their lawns!

    • Better watch where you step…there may be a “patrol boy” lurking about! LOL

  6. Hi there.
    I owned the same kind of shoes. Loved your story.
    Stopping by via the Friday Follow over 40 to say hello. Have a great day!

    http://harrietandfriends.com/2010/08/when-is-it-time-to-move-on/

    • Thanks for the visit and the comment–from one “saddle oxford” wearer to another! LOL

  7. can you imagine going to the principles office at this current time for walking on grass. probable there would be a law suit. It’s good to hear you still have a long term relationship with your school friend, Karen.You were very fortunate nothing happened to you with those mem. take care Rose

    • Yes, Rose, I don’t have a very large circle of friends, but most of the ones that I have, are friendships that I treasure from years ago. Karen is very special.

  8. Wow! I’m so glad nothing happened with those men talking to you like that! When I was about 5, I had seen people standing on the side of the road with their thumbs out. I had no idea what that meant, so I tried it at the corner of our street. A man stopped and told me to never do that and to go home. I thought he was awfully mean to say those things to me, but when I was older I realized how good a man he must have been.

    Loved your post!

    • Thanks for your comment! Thank goodness that man sent you home!

  9. Love the photos and stories 🙂

    • Thanks for the sweet comment!

  10. I walked or rode the bus all the way up to graduation. I begged my mom to let me ride to school with one of my friends but she wouldn’t let me. I was so mad lol I love your memories Kathy and your pics are great!

    • Thanks for the comment, Kat. Where have been???

  11. jumping back saw your comment on my psts re spring cleaning. i wish i had not started, but have to finish. had 2 days i had to help friends so left undone. back to work have a good sunday.

    • Rose, I started cleaning, too, and haven’t finished. Unfortunately, it isn’t going anywhere!!!

  12. Your story brought back the memory of something very similar that happened to me. I was 9 or 10 years old and coming home from the store for my mom, when a guy in a car stopped beside me and offered to take me home. He offered me candy´s too. The good thing was that we had been warned about these kind of strangers and I ran as fast as I could and got away.
    I guess that was a very common way for pedophiles to pick up kids, back in the day…

    • Betty, you are about the third person to say that they had a similar experience! I never realized there were so many mean people back then.


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