|Summer AGE 5|
I started school the September I was age 5, and finished my school years the spring after I turned 16.
|About AGE 16|
|Although more modern, this bus is about the same length.|
READING: I love reading! It was my heart’s desire from as long as I can remember. In September 1960, I got a chance to start school. First I had to pass a test.
Since I was so young, not yet to my 6th birthday, the test was required to demonstrate my school readiness. I felt so privileged to be permitted to sit in a school desk, but a bit nervous about my mother not being with me. I was still very much attached to her, but didn’t want to be called a “baby” by my brothers. She told me she would wait right outside the classroom door, with the other parents, until after the test.
The teacher, Mrs. Green, gave us each a “test” consisting of several pages with pictures in groups of 4. I was with a small group of other boys and girls also taking the test. She instructed us kindly, and thoroughly, about procedures. She would ask a question, describe a row of pictures and we would circle the “correct” picture to answer her question. She had a helper that assisted her watching to make sure we were following along properly. They walked up and down the rows to ensure no one was confused, and that we had all answered each question.
I don’t really remember the picture questions, but I thought I did very well. They all seemed so simple to me. I was asked to wait to talk with the teacher and my mom afterwards. I wondered if it was because I was as smart as my parents thought, or if I had done something wrong. When all the other children and parents were gone, the teacher first talked to mom and then called me into the room and began to go through the test, question by question. I stood beside her, seated at her desk, and could see her face to face.
The one question I can remember was about 4 animals. I was to circle the picture that was not the same as the others, one that was different. There was a picture of a lion, a tiger, a bear, and a kitten. I grew up on a farm and the answer was obvious to me. The kitten was tame and the other animals were wild animals. I was absolutely incredulous that my answer was wrong. The teacher tried to explain that the lion, tiger, and kitten were all the same (because they were cats), and the bear was the correct answer. That made me cranky. That was ridiculous! My mother explained to me that there could be more than one answer, and helped me accept that another answer could be about big and small: the kitten was a baby and the other animals were “big” adults. I could accept that. She was “wrong,” too, and made better sense.
We went through quite a few more questions the teacher had wrong [in my young mind]. After I talked to Mrs. Green about the test, my mother and Mrs. Green met privately again. Except that I badly wanted to read, I was no longer too excited to go school; my day had been long and tiring. Apparently I had failed the test, but after her discussion with me, and with my mother, Mrs. Green recommended that I should begin 1st grade. She explained to my mother that I could state and defend my reasoning, and that mostly my answers were at least as “correct” as the answer key, and in some cases more so. Learning that questions have more than one “right” answer, and that I should try to think of all the possibilities began a significant change in my perspectives of others and the world around me. So began my school years.
WRITING: Pencils were not my favorite things. I didn't mind small pencils, but our big, red pencils were almost half an inch in diameter and their length and width made them heavy in my little hands. I still prefer smaller pencils; half-length is perfect. I was small for my age; in fact, for many years the smallest in my class until Wendi Wilson moved in.
|I found an similar old scribbler for beginning printing.|
As an adult I attended Lethbridge Community College drafting program and learned the formal art of lettering. I did so well that I was recommended for employment doing hand lettering on legal legends (on linen), and in the spring of 1979 I dropped out of my program to work for Brown, Okamura, and Associates at about ten dollars per hour as a junior drafts-person; an excellent wage for that time.
ARITHMETIC: I never could understand why arithmetic couldn't just be called math, or vice-versa. I loved elementary school math but did not do well in high school. It always felt like the rules were changing.
|wooden 'spoons' like these were common |
with small cups of ice-cream at social events
|front cover of book|
In 4th grade I won a prize, from my teacher Mrs. Shields, for the most books read—a book, of course, titled “Long Lonesome Train Whistle.”
|A page spread inside.|
Arithmetic and I often seem to have a less than positive relationship. It started young. I am attending college presently, and yes I am taking math classes. I still find many answers ridiculous. This semester I have needed to email my teacher almost every week. I still dispute answers and the sense of many things I encounter. Math is math—or rather arithmetic!
My patriarchal blessing promises that I will be able to complete my education to my entire satisfaction. I have always thought that would be impossible outside the eternities, yet technology and programs like “Pathways” breathe life into dreams and hopes long since laid aside. I love to learn. I love to study. Many of my ancestors have lived long and healthy lives. I could live almost as many more years as I already have. What will I study next?
Decisions, decisions, decisions! What a wonderful dilemma to enjoy.