Friday, May 3, 2013

Remembering What I Forgot

Those who follow my adventures will be aware that I have recently started volunteering at a local elementary school twice a week.  This is a type of therapy for me, helping me to avoid my agoraphobic tendencies and adding to my mental and physical exercise while providing a bit of help for a few teachers and students in the process. Yesterday I told a newly graduated teacher that I had not gone to Kindergarten and that there were no Preschools when I was a child. I'm not sure she actually believed me. The year she was born I was helping monitor preschoolers in family childcare.

Due to my October birthday I entered first grade at the age of five, so what I'm seeing at school probably mirrors my first grade experience. I don't remember doing the story writing that modern American school children engage in. After the initial shock of leaving my mother and entering school I have two memories of my first year at school.  One was learning to write. I was one of perhaps 4 or 5 children in my huge first grade class who was left-handed. The class was instructed on how to place the paper on the desk and how to hold the pencil, then the lefties were instructed to slant the paper the opposite way while holding the fat blue pencil in our left hands. I remember being in the midst of the righties with my paper turned the leftie way and succumbing to that early peer pressure and tilting my paper their way. (This is what encourages the hook-handed posture of many lefties.) I battled the peer pressure/teacher pressure till I went home that evening. My father asked me what I had learned in school that day and as I started to demonstrate writing he observed my method of coping and told me in no uncertain terms that I would turn my paper the proper way for a leftie and keep my wrist flat on the desk. After all, neither my mother nor sister hooked their hands in such an awkward way to write.  I often wonder what would have happened if I had been born into a right-handed family. My second memorable first grade experience had to do with numbers.  I don't really remember what we were learning about them, but I wasn't learning it.  Apparently several chances had been given to comply with an assignment and I had failed to comply.  The punishment was to stay indoors while the rest of the class went outside for recess and working on the now forgotten concept.


  1. It is always so interesting what we remember of those early schooldays. My primary school is having a re-union, and I have been asked to write up some of my memories?? Maybe many more have been too, I hope so, the ones that stand out are a picnic day ( first ice-cream ever) and a calf-club day, when I took my pet rooster, as a decorated vehicle, he towed a little doll's cart my Dad had made. All in about 1950 or so, Are all your family left handed? I'm so glad your Dad came to the rescue.Your volunteering will be so welcome. Greetings from Jean

  2. Mother, sister and I - lefties; Dad and brother - righties.
    My mother was the only one of 10 children who was left handed. No one I am aware of on my dad's side was. To me this makes it even more amazing.

  3. It is so interesting because I, too, have an October birthday and began school at 4. I was beaten with a ruler for using my left hand, but never cured. I hated school, and being a twin, was compared all the time with my successful brother. I hid in the bushes and waited out the day until the kids came by on their way home.
    I was not allowed to tilt my paper the other way so had to drag my hand through the ink.(we wrote with dip pens).
    Numbers were even worse! you got big numbers by adding single ones and you always began with the ones column. I was in my senior year of collage when my father happened to ask me why I was writing numbers that way. What way? from right to left. Huh? I didn't know it was done any other way. No wonder I can't even dial a telephone without getting all mixed up!
    Good for you! get out there and encourage those leftys ... after all, they are in their right minds.