, Newburyport, MA


October 9, 2013

School days not like they were for me


I went to the French School from kindergarten through grade 3. Learning the French pronunciation proved difficult. To me it didn’t seem masculine enough, speaking it. I persuaded my parents to allow me to transfer out. That proved to be a large mistake because in a few years I was a soldier in France. Since my school days, the French School closed.

My elementary education got mixed up. For one reason or another, I attended three different schools. The Brown School was just across the street from me on Prospect Street. As I recall, it was a great school with classes only to the sixth grade. We had a terrific large playground, the boys on one side and the girls on the other. When school wasn’t in session, we played many games on their grounds.

I spent a couple of years at the Immaculate Conception. Having some difficulty with English grammar I switched for grade 7.

The Jackman School wasn’t far from the Brown School. That worked out terrific for me. It didn’t have a cafeteria or a gym. We brought our lunch to school. We did have some sports and competed with other schools. One day a week we walked to the high school for manual training for the boys. The girls took home economics. I still remember the shop teacher, Charlie Pierce. When he spoke he whistled his s’s. He didn’t turn me on to woodworking.

We never realized back then how beneficial it was for us to attend small schools. We knew all the kids there and the teachers as well. We all got along just fine. If there was any bullying, I wasn’t aware of it. In the Brown School we could walk home for lunch if you lived nearby.

All this has changed since those days. The city built larger schools and closed the neighborhood ones. Consequently, they had to bus all the kids.

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