Sunday, November 9, 2014

Saturday #44 on a Sunday--A Piece of Me

My Saturday got away from me yesterday--kids' chores, big school project, and a few football games as added distractions (Go, Devils!).

I didn't keep very many treasures from my school days. I wasn't very sentimental, and I didn't think those random pieces of construction paper would ever matter to me much as an adult.
There was one exception. Fourth grade Idaho history notebook. I've saved the entire notebook, intact, since I graduated from Mrs. Swenson's class at Morningside Elementary. I remember finding the small scrap of oddly shaped vinyl somewhere equally as odd, and thinking it looked like Indian pottery, I glued it to the cover. I remember coloring the cradleboard and baby and thinking I had the most beautiful baby name--"Springtime." Most vividly, I remember the assignment we had to color the mountain bluebird. I had a great idea. I would cut tiny feathers from a magazine (the only one we had at our house at the time was TV Guide and I searched every page for shades of blue), and ombre the color from tail to head. It would be beautiful.
I started out so small. But I was nine years old, and an art project that took hours was not my thing. The feathers got bigger and bigger, the colors less carefully chosen.
I remember being disgusted with myself when I placed the eyeball--too sick of the whole thing to fix it.

That bluebird is dozens of scraps of my nine-year-old self. And now, I love it. I love the memories it awakens--doing a Basque dance with a few of my friends for the class talent show, recess, wearing my first store-purchased dress for class pictures that year (Mom had always made mine, and my Aunt Garna bought me one that year--a floral print with a burgundy vest that I was very proud of.).

I hadn't thought of my Idaho history notebook in years, to be honest. On Thursday night, Micah was working on some homework, and he told me that he had chosen the state of Idaho for his state report. He pulled out a packet of papers and began asking me questions.

Suddenly, I remembered my Idaho history notebook, and that it contained all of the answers.

I sent him up to his room to wait while I dug through my single box of childhood memories--a big clear tub jumbled with ID cards, snapshots, newspaper clippings, my Merrie Miss banner, and brittle prom corsages. At the bottom was my notebook. Triumphant, I walked into the boys' bedroom bearing the answers to all questions Idaho.

We carefully turned the faded pages and I shared with my boys memories of fourth grade. Coloring the state horse to look like (as I titled the page) "My horse Lady." Fringing every inch of the state flag with schoolhouse scissors. Showing them my beautiful mountain bluebird--Micah exclaimed, "That's really cool, Mom!" He didn't even notice the unevenly cut feathers or missing scraps of paper. I smiled to myself.

Carefully turning the creaky pages, he found the facts page and began copying down the answers--star garnet, Gem State, syringa, Esto Perpetua--written in my best fourth grade penmanship. "This book is a gold mine, Mom! Thanks!"
It was a magical, circle-of-life moment. So much more personal than a Google search, my fourth-grade self was teaching my fifth-grade son all about the state that I love. Never did it enter my mind when I saved those beloved pages that my children would learn from them as well.

And I can still rattle off all 44 counties in alphabetical order, just like Mrs. Swenson taught me.

Ada, Adams, Bannock . . . 


  1. Bear Lake, Benewah, too! :) Does he need anything sent from up here for his project?

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