Kindergarten Memories of an Owl Coin Purse and a Blue-Eyed Crush

Dressed for Aloha Day parade during annual Alo...
Dressed for Aloha Day parade during annual Aloha Week festivities, October 1973 (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

One of my first memories in school was of my mustard color owl coin purse. Lunch cost a quarter back then and my dad would stuff that coin purse with quarters, and so I’d wear it on a silver ball chain necklace and it would bounce back and forth atop my chest as I ran.

One day, my Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. A. mentioned that I shouldn’t put so many coins in there. I didn’t understand her concern. My dad’s logic was to pack it with lunch money, so I wouldn’t forget.

Now that I’m a teacher myself, I can see the concern of theft, or even losing it, but that was then. . . it was such an innocent time, so I never worried about such things.

Mrs. A was the sweetest teacher, and it’s because of her I think I admired the teaching profession and I still refer to her as a big factor as to why I became an educator. She was my 1st grade teacher too, and so the transition from home to school was very comfortable, and I loved my teacher. I used to bring her a gardenia from our yard, she was that special.

It was cold in the mornings, and I’d sit with my friends, Jennifer and Patricia, sipping hot cocoa in those white styrofoam cups. Jennifer, was a freckled red head, gangly girl, and Patricia, an African American girl, with braided pig tails, who was taller than the teacher. Mrs. A, was a short Japanese woman, with glasses and wore short aloha print dresses every day. We were an eclectic lot, growing up in Hawaii. I had a crush on a little blue-eyed boy named David. I had never seen bright blue eyes like his before. I had the typical long, straight black hair with oriental bangs, but my mom cut it short like Dorothy Hamill in time for picture taking.

There was such diversity in my classroom, and I didn’t realize that it’d have an impact on me until much later as these friends moved away.

What I discovered was that I lived in a town next to military bases, and a lot of kids at school where military dependents, and so when their mom or dad deployed, the whole family moved. I realized that I’d be friends with these kids for 3-4 years and then they’d move. I had local friends to hang out with, but for some reason these military dependents fascinated me. This was way before social media, and keeping in touch meant writing letters. Eventually, that didn’t last very long and we lost touch.

I didn’t get self-conscious and heartbroken about friends leaving until middle school, but what I remember most about my earliest memories of school was the innocence.

Mrs. A would pin notes to our shirts or jackets at the end of the day. When the bell rang, we’d freeze where ever we were on campus. and wait for the flag to lower. Then we’d listen for a whistle, stand in line and get dismissed to our awaiting parents in the parking lot.

Man, times have sure changed. Today, I’m sure a parent would complain about that sharp object being pinned to their child’s clothing. After all, it is a needle that could hurt the precious little child.

Good times, good times. . .What are your first memories of going to school?

Prompt #1: The Writing on Learning Exchange: Learning About School « Classroom as Microcosm.