So me and Bill Erickson got to talking about things and I had been really concerned with some local news I had been reading concerning the state budget, local school budget cuts and the basic needs (assistant principles, aids for disabled students) being forced to be let go in an effort to meet the significantly tighter budget demands (all thanks to Tallahassee and their lack of willingness to raise taxes to fund education)….
Bill started telling me about his childhood days and how, after moving down here, he was years ahead of the public school children. The same was true for me, we got to rambling about elementary school and I had an memory from 3rd grade rear it’s head into my mind while talking about Ms. Webber (my 3rd grade teacher).
Singing “America the Beautiful” on the morning PA at Sylvain Avenue Elementary School in Blue Point, New York.
Oh man, I couldn’;t believe how I remembered the story so well. Some things come to you with clarity and some things come to you really weakly. This story started out with Ms. Webber getting done with the roll call very early on one morning and having me (and someone else, I think) take it down to the School Nurses office. I was walking real fast trying to make it before the announcements go tot to the Pledge of Allegience but didn’t make it. I started to recite the pledge while walking down the hall. The principle – Mr. White – pulled me into the office because I was being disrepectful by not looking at the flag or something like that (he wasn’t reprimanding me).
Anyway, so the pledge gets finished. We’re still in the office, and immediately after the Pledge they would play a tape of America the Beautiful – which they did. I sang along to it like I always did in class and everyone in the office started looking at me (not kids – the teachers, principle, secretaries, etc). I got finished and Mr. White remarked “Beautiful.” I don’t remember the exact things that happened right after that but they wanted my name and my teacher.
So a couple of mornings later, I had gotten to school and was sitting in class about a few minutes before the morning announcements and the PA came on requesting me to go down to the front office. The class all went “Ooooooooooooh” as third graders would when they thought someone was in trouble. I got up and left. I can’t too clearly if I knew why I was going down there or if I was nervous because maybe I was in trouble? Now that I think about it – I did know what was going on.
I got down there and I sang “America the Beautiful” on the PA. Just like I usually did it in class (though in class I would sing it to myself, not real loudly).
After I got threw, I went back to class… Now, I didn’t enjoy Ms. Webber so much (and if by any chance and elder Ms. Webber finds this journal entry — it wasn’t you that I didn’t enjoy. It was the fact that my parents didn’t deal with me in the proper way when I brought home a notice from your class that I was in trouble. I think I might have been a year too young to be in 3rd grade as well and not focused enough) but on this day I think she had told the kids in class to react when I got back… And they did. I got applauded by them. I hadn’t expected it and it was a real plus.
I had done it a few more times after that. Then they had other people start doing it and it lost it’s mystique. It was real cool for a time though.
Anyway, my friend Kari from the University of Tampa is going to be heading over here soon and we’re going to go out and get her car title and just hang out for a while. Don’t know what is going to go on but I’m sure we’ll find something – and that’s got me worried.