Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Long Story of Memories

It’s funny how once I started thinking about things from childhood, more and more memories came flooding back. Memories from each grade—memories of my teachers, my classmates, friends and enemies, people I loved, people I hated.

Maybe it’s strange, but I remember all of my teachers. I may not remember how to spell all of their names, but I remember all of them.

I remember Miss Simeone, my kindergarten teacher, and how I thought she looked like a larger-than-life, dark-haired Barbie doll. She always had fun activities like “Switch-a-Roni” and various sing-alongs to teach us new skills. I remember the first day of school and how she spent as much time comforting crying children as she did comforting crying parents. That was also where I met Jason, who would become my first little boyfriend.

There was Ms. Salek in first grade, who always did a funny dance in her chair when we would sing, “Hooray for God, Hooray for Me.” Mrs. Jandritz was the other first grade teacher, and I remember that I was upset I wasn’t in her class—until I realized how neat Ms. Salek was.

I was in Mrs. Bellezzo’s main class in second grade and went to Mrs. Gunther’s room for math. Third grade was one of my favorite years. Mrs. Bernadine Caldwell was fantastic and I actually stayed in touch with her, even after my family moved. Mrs. Kehoe was the other teacher, and I remember going to her room for the religion class—that was also when we had to memorize the Apostle’s Creed. Yikes!

Fourth grade was wild. Ms. Paolicchi seemed like she had landed on earth from somewhere else. Not in a bad way, though. She was stuck in her ways, for sure, but she had incredible enthusiasm for teaching. Ms. Ceranek taught the advanced fourth grade reading and science. I remember a story she shared about frozen blueberries and how they reminded her of her father.

Fifth grade was a blast, but kind of traumatic. Jason dumped me that year for Danelle. I recovered, though. Hello! We were only ten! I got over it and set my sights on Raymond. It was okay—he would give me neat little gifts and try to hold my hand. It was fun, but sometimes he wasn’t very nice. I didn’t complain too much when he moved to Florida at the end of the school year. The best part of that school year was being on student council. I was a nerd, even back then!

Sixth grade was different. We got to change classes more often. I was in Mrs. Pawlak’s class, but went to the other teachers—Miss Ragano, Miss Killeen, and Mrs. MacLennon—for reading, social studies and science.

Then seventh grade rolled around. I knew my family was going to be moving, so I tried to make the most of the time I had left. Sister Otilie was my main teacher, but there was also Sister Jean Michael and Ms. Zygowicz. And there was the basketball coach, Mr. Zarconi, who inspired me to play and play well. And to have fun. My playing was cut short a few months later when I hurt my knee, but I remember the role he played in giving us clumsy kids the confidence we needed.
There were other people in the school. Miss Lubbock, Mrs. Gleason and Mrs. Carli in the library. There was a variety of music teachers over the years—Mrs. Swantek, Mr. Brown, Mrs. Rae, Mr. Bosen, Mr. Barcanic. The gym teachers—Mrs. Harper, Miss McCormick and Ms. Westendorf.

I remember Ms. Snopek, the principal, and how she would scare students with the idea of a “spanking machine” if they got poor grades on their report cards. Mrs. Ketter was the assistant/secretary/nurse, all rolled into one. She bandaged up more scrapes and cuts than I could count—and that was just on me!

When Ms. Snopek left, Ms. Gawlik became principal—not the former fifth grade teacher. This was a scary woman who the students—and some teachers—were terrified of. There was a negative shift in school spirit and morale when she came on board. But I remember the new secretary, Mrs. Cholewienczki, who was the mother of one of my classmates and was super-nice to everyone.

I also remember Alfonso and Pete, who did the maintenance and janitorial work around the school. They were the best. Alfonso taught us how to do fun things like have garbage can races down the hall. And he taught us the importance of never, ever putting soda cans in with the garbage that was being incinerated. Pete was more subdued, but always there. I remember his plaid shirts and baseball cap.

I don’t know why or even how I manage to remember all of this…all of this and still so much more. There’s a reason I remember. Hopefully, I’ll discover that reason. I believe it goes far beyond just memories and how they shaped my life. There’s got to be something more.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

A little (huge) part of me will always be in love with Jason Anari.