school building

Source: Creative Commons

Entering into the fourth week of the new school year, I finally have time to return to my blog. The flurry of end-of-summer activities and back-to-school preparations somehow always catch me off guard. This year, I had to double my efforts as my second child officially entered the school system.

As is customary for many children, my kids were filled with both excitement and trepidation on that first day of school. My oldest was excited only for the fact that he would be seeing his friends every day. My youngest was eager to be a “big” kid and see firsthand what “real” school (apparently, preschool did not count) was all about.

I planned to provide them with a great breakfast, get them there before the masses arrived, and take Pinterest-worthy photographs of their big day.  In reality, I overslept, fed them cold cereal, and broke the speed limit only to stand in line with a throng of other highly stressed parents and children as we endured the new security procedures. As for my post-worthy photos, I had to be content with a sour-looking expression from my oldest and a partially blurry image of my youngest as he moved with the crowd into the school.

Despite my failures and the chaotic start to their school year, they are enjoying it, making new friends, and they are creating memories. That realization got me to thinking about my own school memories. I do not vividly recall my very first day of school (not until college, anyway), but I do remember many other things. My education began with half-day kindergarten where making cottage cheese and playing instruments in music class come to mind. Elementary school was filled with wall-mounted pencil sharpeners, cleaning chalkboard erasers, cherry-bumping kids on the teeter-totter, spelling bees, learning multiplication facts in fourth grade, learning to play the clarinet, and being startled by the sudden THWAK of a serving spoon (wielded by the cafeteria monitor) hitting a lunch table to subdue the din caused by all six grades of students at one time in a combined gymnasium and cafeteria.

As for high school, I loved it. There are so many memories, I could write an entire book about them. Thus, when my personal history clients are having a difficult time knowing where to start or what to talk about, I often recommend discussing their school memories. No matter what their experiences – whether good or bad – they remember a great deal about their school years. That one topic includes a variety of categories (i.e., friends, teachers, rules, transportation, meals, discipline, sports, and classes) that can then lead to deeper discussions about the society and events of that particular era.

What about you? What are some of your school memories? Share them here in the Comments section, and be sure to document them privately for your family as well.