There are a few memories I have that I’m not exactly sure where they fit, so I thought I’d do one last hodge-podge entry and stick them in here. I hope that’s okay with you.
Some of my teachers were outside the grade level structure – the art teacher, PE teacher, and music teacher all taught any level that had those classes, so I think that’s why I get confused about where some of these memories should fit.
For a while in elementary school I was on a pretty big Texas kick. I’m pretty sure it had everything to do with the Dallas Cowboys, but there it was. I also, for a while, had a belt buckle kick. I had a belt buckle that looked like 5 bullets, a Spider-Man belt buckle, that sort of thing. For a brief amount of time, my Texas kick coincided with my belt buckle kick (it seems a natural pairing now, actually), and I had a belt buckle in the shape of Texas. I bring this up because I remember having to do sit-ups in PE and the upper part of Texas kept jabbing me in the stomach, much like the real upper part of Texas does to Oklahoma.
Art class wasn’t my thing. While I wish I could draw and all of the other artsy things, I just wasn’t naturally adept at them, and I’m not one for working at stuff I’m not good at it. It’s actually my least favorite thing about me, but that’s a topic for another time. While everyone else was woodburning pictures of cars or horses on their bookends, I did a geometric shape. My doodles tend to be squares and things with angles. I’m no Piet Mondrian, but I get by. My mom still has those bookends…
I really liked calligraphy, and I’m not sure why. Maybe because I could write fancy-like when I couldn’t normally.
When we made wallets, there were two different types of stitching: simple one-over type, and a more complicated weaved type. Our art teacher told us the weaved one would be more sturdy, but we didn’t have to do it because it was harder. Something about the idea of sturdiness and having it last longer led me to try the weaved pattern. I was the only one in the class to try it, and I think the other guys thought I was trying to show off, but I just wanted my wallet to last longer. As it turned out, as we all started using our wallets when they were done, everybody else’s kept falling apart. Last time I saw mine, it was still in good shape. My mom might have that somewhere in the house, too.
I had a few run-ins with the music teacher over the years. Miss O’Neil and I just never seemed to see eye-to-eye. I think the looser structure of a music class coupled with my tendencies towards class clowning were not a good match. She wouldn’t let us sing “Tom Dooley” in class (probably because of the murder/execution themes, but still!) and if we got too rowdy, her method of getting our attention was to turn off the lights. It was more successful at making us laugh, unfortunately.
Miss O’Neil sent a letter home to my parents once because she had said to the class at large “Grow up” and I, of course, snickered to my buddies, “Throw up.” She detailed that in the letter, and it’s one of my first memories of my parents looking at me like I was a little weird.
My favorite memory from music class had nothing to do with me, though. One recess, Jim S., Matt M., and I were serving time in the Music Room, no doubt for some fooling around in Music Class. Miss O’Neil left the room for a few minutes (after warning us, of course), so we were all alone. Jim says out loud, “I wonder if I can lift the piano?” It was an upright piano, and I suspect he was wondering if he could lift it off the ground at all, not completely above his head or anything. He decides to try it. He goes to the piano, hunkers down in front of the keyboard, and lifts.
The laws of physics and gravity being what they are, his lifting of the keyboard had the effect of tipping the piano completely over onto its back. There was a mighty clamor, a surprised Jim, a laughing-in-disbelief Matt and Mark, and a furious Miss O’Neil running through the door to see what had made the racket.
The piano was in need of repair, of course, and I don’t know how Jim worked all that out, but I do know he earned himself a few days off school for that one. There’ll be a little bit more about Jim in 9th grade, but even if there wasn’t, this’d be enough, I think.
I think that’s pretty much it for elementary school. Other random bits pop into my head here and there, but these are my strongest memories. High school’s next, and I’ve got yearbooks for those years to help jog my memory.