, Newburyport, MA


October 9, 2013

School days not like they were for me

As I write this another school year has begun. Often when this occurs, I think back to the old days. Schools today aren’t what they were back in the ‘20s and ‘30s.

In those days we all went to the neighborhood schools. We walked there, no such thing as buses. If we lived close enough we went home for lunch. Those who didn’t brought their lunch to school. Milk was provided for those who wanted it.

The schools had large playgrounds. The girls were on one side of the school and the boys were on the other. We all got into various types of games waiting for school to open. With no gyms we had a recess where we’d all go out and run around. I don’t recall any bullying. Everyone felt safe and had fun.

The buildings were made of red bricks with large windows. We could open them in good weather. The floors were wooden with the wooden chairs and desks fastened to the floor.

Things were very simple, no frills. We attended school a full 180 days each year. There were no field trips or half days. Gosh, in those days, kids stayed in their neighborhoods all the time. We didn’t travel any place.

At school everyone knew one another. You knew who to play with or who to avoid. There wasn’t many discipline problems. If anyone was foolish enough to act out, he got taken care of. They didn’t spare the rod in those days.

Being of French descent, all my older sisters and brother went to the French School. That was a short walk to the lower end of Federal Street. The grades went from kindergarten to 8. French was spoken in my house all the while my grandmother was alive. She lived with us, which was common in those years. There were no nursing homes then. So my siblings all could speak the language. My grandmother passed away when I was an infant. That was unfortunate because I didn’t learn the language.

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