Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kindergarten & grade school memories

Here and there when I have time, I've been writing down some of my childhood memories, with the idea of publishing it into some books for my kids to keep. You know, there are many sites now that will publish a book at low cost, and you can just order the number of books you want. So I decided to start writing from the beginning, and tell my kids the story of my life.

Many years from now, when they are having insomnia, they can read it in bed as a cure.

Here's an excerpt (sorry, not terribly exciting, no drugs, no police raids or anything):

In about 1970, I started kindergarten. I attended a Lutheran parochial school called Trinity Lutheran School. It's still in operation along with Trinity Lutheran Church in Utica, Michigan.

We didn't have anything like pre-kindergarten back then, just preschool, and that was mainly just playing I guess. I don't even remember learning anything in kindergarten that was incredibly hard or meaningful. The hardest part was being away from my mom for what seemed like a long time - but it was just half-day kindergarten! Kids now have a much longer school day in kindergarten. I remember my teacher, Mrs. Graebner, helping me put on my winter coat. It must have been quite a job to get all the winter gear on a whole class of kids in Michigan wintertime. Mrs. Graebner didn't have any 'parapro' or helper like kindergarten teachers have now. Mrs. Graebner was like a grandmother. She was really nice. Her husband, Winfried M. Graebner was the principal of the school and I also remember him kindly. I remember he had really beautiful penmanship, with swirls and loops. I thought that was very cool. I'm glad that I asked him to autograph my yearbook one year. It means a lot to have his impressive signature to remember.

I attended the Lutheran school from kindergarten through 8th grade. Many of the people who went to the church and the school were German. I didn't know any different, so I didn't think anything of it. Now I think it was pretty neat. When I look back at my yearbooks, I see so many German names, like Huemiller, Mueller, Kuschmann, etc. The school employed many married couples. I would sometimes have the wife for English class and the husband for Social Studies.

I remember in third grade, our school had a new teacher, and all the kids were so excited, because she was Japanese. She was young and also pretty. She was very exotic to all of us. I can't remember her name right now, but I remember being disappointed that she wasn't my teacher that year. I ended up getting Miss Sundermann.

Note the 'Miss' and not 'Ms' like you use today. Nobody used 'Ms' back then, at least not at my school, unless they were protesting for women's liberation. It had a negative connotation at first. Women who insisted on using 'Ms' were pushy and angry types, or so we all thought.

Miss Sundermann was the one who inflicted the recorder on me. It wasn't her fault I hated it though. The recorder is a flute like thing, about 12 inches long and sounds horrible even when played by a very talented person. I was not very talented with the recorder. I didn't understand music notes either. One look at all those lines and notes and I was repelled. It seemed like a schematic diagram. It seemed too much like math. Yick, get that away from me. I only practiced when I had to - when my mom remembered to make me!

You get out of things what you put into them, and I didn't put one ounce of energy into the recorder. I was deemed unfit to play in the recorder concert our class had. I felt like a failure, something that we don't allow our children to feel much these days.

I still hate recorders.

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