... marbles, tracing paper and the teacher who got "told off"
Editors' note: This is the way it was in New England during the roaring twenties. Margery Carter, who is now 82, has been writing her memoirs -- or snippets therefrom -- for the past year. They are out of context, but the writing is delightful, humorous and right to the point.
The first grade was certainly a new experience for me and "London Bridge Is Falling Down" was my favorite song game. I didn't want to get caught or maybe I did. I'm hoping you the reader know or have at least had it as one of your adventures in the first grade. I still sing the song to myself and still love it. Let me know!
Well I'm in the second grade now and loving Miss Farley, my teacher. She had a collection of white art papers with pictures drawn in black outline drawings. She seemed to be interested in art and if we got finished with our morning lessons we could go pick out one of the white art papers with a black outline drawing on it, take a piece of tracing paper and dash to a window to copy it on the tracing paper. Holding it up to the light in the window was an easy way to trace it. Then we would rush back to our desk, transfer the drawing to the plain white art paper and color it up. By the way, Miss Farley had a selection of drawings we could select from. What an introduction to art! I always hurried with my lessons to get the touch of simple art. This was just about every day.
Wait till you hear about my marble playing in the third grade. I turned out to be a champion marble player. Of course, we girls jumped rope, played tag and hopscotch, etc. The most fun for me was playing marbles with aggies that looked like they were made from scraps of real marble and called aggies. Marbles were plain in all colors. Aggies, as I said before, looked like they were made from scraps of real marble.
I must speed up so you won't be bored. Now my Dad had aggies and some of the boys in the third grade class had some. They wanted to have more. I was challenged and said okay. They, the boys, dug a hole in the hard dirt in the back yard of the school and were so pleased when they beat me. Well my Dad hadn't played for 30 years but he gave me some pointers and the next day I beat them, the next day I lost and then so it went till I had won back all the ones I lost and I was feeling no pain until disaster struck.
We always went home for lunch and there I was swinging my bag of aggies and half running up the hill where I lived. Suddenly the bag of aggies flew out of my grasp and landed in the water drain and down in the water hole. I went numb. How could I have been so dumb? I was devastated and down in the dumps. It was all my own fault and I didn't tell anyone what happened. I told my Dad and he just said that it's a boy's game and he didn't want me to play anymore. I took to jumping rope again and keeping the secret. I felt terrible.
Spring arrived and my next problem I heard about was my teacher wasn't going to promote me to the fourth grade. I told my mother and she wasted no time going down to school to see my teacher. It turns out I hadn't paid attention and she thought I needed to do the third grade over again. Well she didn't know who she was talking to. My mother informed her if she kept me back she would be fired. I was sitting through all of this and very scared. My mother told the teacher that her father was one of the biggest taxpayers in Melrose and it could be arranged. I was so upset with her speaking up to the teacher I wanted to hide.
Well I got promoted to the fourth grade but not with the class. I was in the teachers' room with five other children for special catch up tutoring to eventually go into the fifth grade. The five other children were the smartest ones in my third grade class, I thought. Well we were tutored and had homework. We all went to the Roosevelt School to the fifth grade when school opened in the fall. I'll report on my success in the fifth grade and how grown up we all felt in my next month's report. The fifth grade was very exciting and I loved it.
Februry 6, 2004