Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Dale Girls somehow survive Elementary School

(winthrop school was this scary. ask anyone.
or better yet, just ask me.)

I'll admit it. I was a puny, shy, overly sensitive child. Which probably explains why I am a puny, shy, overly sensitive adult.

Some people would blame their parents. I blame Winthrop Elementary School.

Winthrop was a huge, hulking brick cube with two stories of classrooms arranged around large central hallways. It was full of terrifying things.

First, there were the teachers. They were all over 100 years old. Every one of them. Well, except for Miss Swanson, the lovely blond student teacher who graced my 4th-grade life for six months and who never stopped smiling and who, I'm sure, would have been delighted to adopt me if only I could have summoned the courage to ask.

Then, there were the fire drills. I was terrified that there would be a fire drill while I was in the bathroom, and I would have to walk out onto the schoolyard all by myself and try to find my class. Terrified.

Not to mention the air raid drills, where we would cower under our desks wondering if it was really a drill or if the teacher just didn't have the heart to tell us the bombs were coming.

And gym class!! In the dank basement with the boys throwing huge rubber balls at our feet in a dastardly game called dodge ball!

And the lunch room!! Good God, the lunch room!! With the principal standing guard to make sure none of us uttered a word! And the other children scowling as I surreptitiously took yet another smelly cream-cheese-and-olive sandwich out of my Huckleberry Hound lunch box and hid it behind the radiator!

Oh the terror!

Oh the nightmares!

Did I mention that I tended to be a little over-sensitive? Still. It's a miracle I survived.



The Retired One said...

I was an Air Force brat, so we had to move very often..imagine being terrified and "the new kid" at every school. I still need therapy.

Susan R. Mills said...

I was shy and overweight until I was in high school. Boy was I glad when I lost weight and gained a little confidence. It's funny how all that seems so insignificant now.

Rae said...

Yes it is a miracle you survived. Sounds more like torture camp than school. Your new profile picture is great.

Lesley said...

Retired One: Oh my gosh, I NEVER would have recovered from that!! I bet you learned to be very adaptable.

Susan: It does seem like a long time ago, doesn't it? I think our childhood experiences stay with us - for better or for worse.

Rae: Thank you for the affirmation. It is indeed a miracle. lol

~Ellie Kings~ said...

I wore thick eye glasses until I was 16. Why, oh, why didn't they invent contacts sooner? My ears were slightly larger than everyone else's. The kids teased me so much,ie., four eyes, bottom bottle, big ears, dumbo, mickey mouse! It's no wonder I still hide my ears under my hair although they're not big now. And I never, ever wear my glasses around people, even if they're thinned down.

As for Gym, oh the humiliation! I was always non-athletic, shy and with low-self esteem. I could still hear Mrs. Hawkins voice, "Elizabeth, don't you know how to play anything?!! Get yourself up against that wall and just watch the others play! The she-devil!
Oh Lesley... I do know the torture of elementary school very well and I too survived! :)

Fran Hill said...

You made me remember just how humiliated you are at school at that age. I recall being terrified of swimming lessons and getting undressed in front of people because I had a weird bellybutton which went out instead of in. How trivial that seems now! And yet at the time it made me dread Wednesdays. Weird! I must be more sensitive to the girls I teach .....

Lesley said...

Ellie: Isn't that such a shame? I wish I could go back in time and scold those mean children for you. I hope that today's teachers are more aware of the damage that teasing can do. The memories really do linger on.

Lesley said...

Fran: I'm sure you are wonderful with your students. Just keep that belly button well hidden.


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