Recently, Lily Grace’s first grade teacher asked all the children in her class to write a letter to someone older in their family to learn about schools long ago. We loved Lily Grace’s letter! Here is what she wrote:
“Dear Maddie and Granddaddy,
I am learning how things change over time. In my school we use white boards and computers. I have a lot of teachers, and I go to P.E., Art, Guidance, Music, Library, and Computer. I sit at a table, not a desk. What was first grade like for you? Please write back.
Love, Lily Grace.”
Here is our reply, in care of her teacher at the school:
“Hi, Lily Grace,
We loved to get your letter! You will have fun learning about how school and first grade was very different a long time ago.
Your granddaddy went to a consolidated school out in the country in Mississippi. It was not a “one-room” school, but a big school with all grades in one school. It had an auditorium where all the kids in the school met for an assembly every morning. The school principal would make announcements, and there was a devotional, a short talk given by one of the church ministers from the community, and everyone recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Granddaddy’s birthday is November 27, so he was only five years old when he started first grade in September 1938.
I went to a large elementary school in Kansas City, Missouri. It had grades kindergarten through sixth grade. Since my birthday is December 20, I started kindergarten in September 1943, when I was only four years old, and then I graduated to first grade when I was five.
I remember learning how to read. We had a little book of stories about Alice and Jerry, who were a sister and brother, and they had a little dog named Jip. The book used simple words like Look, See, and Jump, and the pictures really told the story.
Your granddaddy and I did not have cafeterias in our schools. Granddaddy brought his lunch to school, and I walked home for lunch every day.
We did not have computers or dry erase boards. We had big blackboards on the walls, and our teachers used white chalk to write on the boards. Then they used soft, gray, flat erasers to clean the writing off the boards. Those erasers would get very dusty. The teacher would choose a child to go outside and “dust the erasers” by pounding them on a rock or a brick wall to get off all the chalk dust. That was a fun job, and we children loved to be chosen by the teacher.
We know you are learning a lot now, and we are happy that you are enjoying school.
We love you!
Maddie and Granddaddy
(Madelyn and Robin Young)”