Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Monday, April 19, 2010

School days

My sister and I were talking yesterday and she reminded me of something that I had forgotten about school.

We were wondering whether Downing school had put in a cafeteria or if, as I was thinking, the children that could still went home for lunch, and the others brought sack lunches like I did when I was a child.

We were also wondering about bus service. When I went to school, only the kids that lived out in the Sunset area came in by bus, and, of course, they HAD to stay for lunch. I wonder if because of the times that changed and those who live closer to the school are now riding a bus. I know where we lived in Cincinnati, the children rode a bus and the school was only 1/4 mile away. Seemed like a waste of tax money to me. Let them walk. It would be good for them. Apparently, because of the threat of child kidnapping, they had to have bus service for the close-in children as well as those who lived outside the state required 2-mile radius. The use of bus service for children who lived within the 2-mile zone was up to the school district. I digress.

Then I recalled that there was a kitchen in Bingham -- I went there for several years between attendance at Downing -- and on rare occasions Aunt Nelly would cook. Even though it was a good 15-minute walk home, I usually went home for lunch. After I got my bike, I could do it in five minutes. I didn't like staying for lunch. I don't know whether it was because it was boring, or whether it was because of bullying, although I could give as well as take back in those days, even though I was probably the smallest kid in the class.

I recall that once a year they had a PTA dinner. It was always spaghetti, and I recall Aunt Nelly sweating (not really) away in the kitchen making the dinner. The dinner was held in the room adjacent to the kitchen. The kitchen was in the basement, and that adjacent room was an auditorium of sorts. It had a stage at one end, and then there were two doors that went into the kitchen in the other end of the room. When I was at Bingham it was used for a classroom, Grade 4, Mrs. Kline. That was before the addition in the back was finished. When that was finished, I don't think it was used for a classroom any more, but for an assembly room.

Still no library.

I wonder where the two older schools house libraries, or if they do. Aren't they required in schools now days? And are cafeterias also required?

When I head home and visit Downing, I'll get you all caught up on those things. In case you're interested.

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