School - Grandparents Day

Some years ago when a grandson was in grammar school, the class had Grandparents Day. Grandparents were supposed to describe the many ways in which classes differed from the present. (Or not quite the present. The class was about 20 years ago.) Probably the best part of the day was when the students asked questions. They couldn’t believe our answers.

Here are a few samples.

Did you have air conditioning in the class rooms? Sure we did. We opened the windows. Well, did you have fans in the rooms? Only one grandparent said she did. She came from India.

None of the grandparents ever had buses to take them to school. EVERY student in he class was bused.

Some of the things we talked about surprised the students. The only students who ever wore sneakers to class came from the very poorest families. The rest of us carried sneakers only on the somewhat rare days that we had gym classes.

We had separate entrances to the building for boys and girls. The thing that absolutely astonished the students was our description of the telephone system. We were beyond the time when you picked up the phone and told the operator the name of the person to whom we wished to speak. But when we said we had “party lines” it took a lot of explaining. “Do you mean some one could listen in to your conversation?” AND EACH PARTY ON THE LINE HAD A DIFFERENT RING!

Some of the grandparents had attended one or two room schools with multiple classes in each. I must confess, I still have difficulty in understanding how one teacher could handle students in four or even eight different grades in one room.

And then there were such issues as outdoor privies, and students being assigned to cut wood for the potbellied stoves in some buildings during the winter.

The Grandparents Day was probably as interesting to the grandparents as it was to the students. If you happen to be invited to one, don’t miss it.

Sherman London
Southbury, CT © 2014

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