Sawdust and a Bucket: First Day Memories

This came 24 hours ago from a man living in the cap city region of New York state:  “I’m reading your blog today post while waiting for the incoming freshman class to wander, meander, stumble, and eventually find their way into my classroom for their orientation. OK Back to work! (signed) Chris.”

God bless Chris, he’s a teacher. I know this,even though the two of us have never met.  

And God bless his incoming freshmen class. Today it was their first day of school.

From time immemorial the Wednesday after Labor Day was the first day of school for most everyone – until in recent years those cruel horsemen the retailers decided to push Christmas shopping every earlier, using powerful reins to cruelly yank the whole calendar back toward early fall,  the bit in our poor mouths tearing at our delicate cheeks aaaargh!

But back to the first day of school:

Can you remember it? And if so what do you remember?

I remember standing between my mother’s legs as she tried to contain my curls in 1,000 tiny elastics, little fat milk bottles smelling faintly of cheese, the sawdust brought in by the custodian to mop up the breakfast some poor child

I remember that the simple sight of the lunch my mother had packed me brought tears to my little eyes.

I remember how I suffered after walking back into class from the bathroom with the hem of my dress tucked up into the waistband of my underpants.

I remember our 8th grade English teacher pronouncing poetry “poytry” that very first day and then trying to get us to do the same.

Now what DO you remember? 

I wrote Chris back and told him to be sure he ate a good lunch, because – just in case you don’t know this – if you think sitting in one of those little desks is hard,  try being the person standing in front of that big desk, who, period after period , day after day,  has to make the magic happen. 

A prayer for all the teachers then, at the start of  another year!