Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Desk cleaning time

There's something enjoyable about cleaning out a desk. 

You find all kinds of things in a jumbled desk drawer that you thought you'd lost forever.

I'm thinking now, however, about the desk cleaning times I remember from school.

Didn't we have to clean out our desks once a month? 

And on the day we cleaned out our desks we received a brand new pencil, right? 

And it was worth the cleansing because we always found the lost red crayon, or the lost piece of chalk, or maybe that lost work book page we were supposed to take home and get signed, didn't we?

Ah, those were the days!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pictures on Windows

I was just reminded of something about which I wanted to comment on a couple of weeks ago, but my fuzzy mind just didn't remember to do it.

I was reminded by a Facebook posting about how happy our Halloweens were as children in Runnemede in the late 40s, early 50s.  No problems with poisoned candy or needles in the chocolate or anything like that.  Just fun for all, even the adults, I assume.

Well, I was reminded also that the windows on the Pike were painted (by the 7th and 8th graders) with Halloween pictures, you know those typical cemetery pictures, witches flying through the air, etc.  And then a few days after Halloween they were washed away and a few weeks later, right after Thanksgiving, the students got to do it again, only the second time they painted Christmas scenes, such as a Manger scene, Santa and his sled and reindeer, A Midnight Clear with a lone star shining on an old barn, etc.

I couldn't wait until I was in 7th grade so I would be one of the "volunteers" who painted those scenes.  By that time, however, they were no longer painting the windows on the Pike, or I was in Bingham in 7th grade and only the Downing School kids had the privilege of doing the painting.  I'm not sure why I wasn't a painter, but I don't remember that I wasn't a painter because of my inept art skills, just that the windows were no longer being painted.

Maybe that was for the best.


Friday, November 4, 2011


As much as I loved school, I also was very happy for a day off now and then, especially when I was a child (younger than 13) and getting in the Thanksgiving mood.   Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, by the way.

Anyhow, I recall that November was a great month for days off from school -- official days off, that is.

The first weekend in November was the NJ State Teachers Convention, and we had Thursday and Friday off.  Then came Election Day, or in rare years Election Day came first.  I am assuming we had Election Day off back then because (1) more people voted, and (2) the polling places in Runnemede were, at that time, in the schools.  Then, there was Veteran's Day, and since we haven't celebrated Veteran's Day on the actual Veteran's Day since I can't remember when, I also can't remember what date in November that was.  And finally we had the day of Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving off.  What a great month.  As I figure it, that was almost as many days as we had off in December for Christmas, and yes, it was called Christmas vacation back then. 

Grand total for November?  6 days off.
Grand total for December?  Depending on where Christmas actually fell anywhere from 5-8 days off.

Yes, I loved those two months.  Then we had January and February and March.  The only days off we had then were Lincoln's Birthday (Feb. 12) and G. Washington's Birthday (February 22).  No Monday holidays back then and thus no Presidents Day.

I supposed school children are still reveling in the days off in November, as I did as a child.  Good for them.

Grace Downing School, Runnemede, NJ