Sunday, September 8, 2019

Country Roads

My youngest sister, Alisa, works for Twin Falls School District as a secretary extraordinaire, and this year she transferred to Sawtooth Elementary, the grade school all four of us Tucker kids attended.

She invited me to tour the school with her after classes dismissed for the Labor Day weekend, and this short visit flooded me with memories.

First of all, everything is so much SMALLER than I remember! The cafeteria, the library, the halls--all shrank over the past 35 years.

I remembered hours spent at the conference table in the office learning French.

I remembered the hall with original wood paneling (still intact) hiding the closets we turned into a darkroom to develop photos from our pinhole cameras and a computer room housing the school district's first computers (an original Apple and Commodore 64, which we programmed to repeat the word "HI" in columns and in rows across the screen.

I remembered second grade and the missing partition walls in the 70s when cluster grouping was the cool thing and I got both Miss Poppewell for reading and Mrs. Braunwort for Math.

I remembered acting out Rumplestiltskin in that third grade classroom and walking out mazes in the snow during lunch recess.

I remembered being bullied in fifth grade and getting disciplined for a time my mouthing off led to a kid shoving a cupcake in my face.

Most of all, I remembered sixth grade and the best teacher I ever had (for a post about Mr. Tickner, click here). I flashed back to competitions and stories and tests and cheating (got caught) and exactly what the clock looked like when the principal announced Reagan had been shot. I talked to the teacher who occupies the classroom today, and I tried to explain to her what an incredible experience I had had in that room. Instead, tears choked my words and I couldn't speak. What a joy it was to return to that sacred space of my memories.

Teachers are invaluable in kids' lives. I hope you treat them as such--and one day soon I hope to be back in the classroom sitting behind the big desk handing out candy bars for 100% grades on Social Studies tests.

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