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Monday, August 1, 2016

SCHOOL PICTURES

My goodness don't THESE kids look like they will change the world????

The Kindergarten class seems so long ago...prolly because it was soooooo long ago! My (few) memories are of how nice Mrs Lemon was and how I was teased at home about my attraction to Victoria for what seemed like decades!

I am ashamed to say I can't identify everybody, either because they didn't stay in Middletown or because I am mentally challenged. Each smiling face has a future lived in the following 46 years, some more interesting than others I am sure!

One of the most traumatic instances I recall was a hail storm that I got caught up in, running home from school, thinking I was gonna die! I had no idea what death was or what that meant. All I knew was I didn't want to find out quite yet.

I look into those young eyes and wonder what hopes, dreams, and realities have occurred through the years. I know not every child pictured is still with us. I know not every innocent kid, frozen in time, had a good life. I know not every youngster would want to revisit the past. What would we say if we could have a few minutes to chat with our younger selves? Are we happy with  how we turned out? Did we pause at a fork in the road and wonder what the OTHER choice would have brought? For sure we wouldn't have voted for Nixon.....

The First Grade picture is much more clear. Most of the happy faces you see there stayed in the school system and, like it usually happens, we all went in different directions socially. Some played sports, some were academics, and some (like me!) didn't try as hard at edumacating as we should have.

I remember the desks that still had a spot for an inkwell. I had an unfortunate (or FORTUNATE, which ever way you look at it!) incident around this time that I wrote about [here].

By second grade, life had gotten a bit better for Little Thomas, as I had friends that made it more fun. Paul and Joel were a big part of this school year and going forward. We may have gotten in trouble occasionally, may have not understood WHY we were learning what we learned, and we may have enjoyed recess more than the classroom, but we survived Mrs Schench and the Flood as we moved on to the third grade, prepared to take on the world! It was soon after that I had to start wearing glasses. I felt ugly and the first day I showed up with them, I cried like the insecure child I was.

By this time, we were all pretty much adults.... or so we thought! I had recovered from my unrealized infatuation with Allison and had a meaningful relationship with Yvonne - which at THAT age meant I could say HI and not feel all stupid. Diane was always the "dreamgirl" for me back then, but her future was much better and brighter with Tony. Mrs Megenity was a cool teacher that made class better and when I graduated, it meant going back to a former school and enjoying Mrs Kirkman. She was an understanding and friendly teacher. My time in the fourth grade was fun. I recall kickball games at recess, having my hat stolen and all the running around trying to retrieve it, and feeling like I was part of a group that cared about each other. Good times....

Childhood these days is far different than the laid-back early 70's. We had few concerns back then. Did we have enough money to stop at the candy store? I don't remember much homework, or much drama with school. I wonder why I didn't enjoy it more in later years. I feel for the kids of today as they have so many distractions. Life was simple and stress-free when I was their age and it doesn't seem likely to return to that any time soon.

I've daydreamed what differences there would be if I could have a do-over. Deep down, I know I could have done more to make my life more fulfilling and joyous at that age. As a kid, we don't have enough life experience to teach us about the things that seemingly wreck our little lives. We don't have the perspective to know when a problem was minor as they ALL seemed like the end of the world. We didn't have the knowledge to overcome the obstacles thrown our way, unless we had understanding parents that would guide us.

I think the best advice I could give myself, besides investing in Oracle, is to just enjoy those early years. They go by so fast and once they are gone there is no going back. A one-way ticket to more responsibility, more pressure to do well, and less time to just sit back and be a kid.

I would hope I'd listen to that.....and don't get those platform sneakers with a matching hat.... I just looked silly, not cool.




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