My strongest memories of the first day of school are also my oldest memories. I was the youngest in my family, so I grew up watching all my big brothers go off to school and I couldn’t wait for the day when I could join them. I remember when I was going into first grade my mom had taken us shopping for new school clothes. My brothers, appropriately, got new Umbros and t-shirts. I, on the other hand, got a wool Minnie Mouse sweater with matching pink and purple polkadot leggings (pictured above). I was SO excited to wear that outfit that I insisted on wearing it on the first day despite the fact that it was early September and still very warm out. My mom relented and I wore it and I was so hot all day, but at the same time, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so cool again in my life.
Mary: September, 1957, first day of first grade, walked to school with 2 big brothers and then left alone in a classroom of 75 children and one scary nun. I knew my friends Helen and Frank who lived on my street, so that was good, but the class was so big I hardy knew how to find them.
One girl was crying and wouldn’t/couldn’t stop in spite of being ordered to by the teacher, who was becoming more and more annoyed (I thought I saw smoke come out of her wimple, although I didn’t know it was a wimple at the time) and the kids were growing more and more nervous until–suddenly–crying girl made a run for it! Off she ran, out of the room toward the back stairway to freedom! Off ran the good Sister, furious that she had already lost control. Seventy four 6 year olds sitting with hands folded on their desks, hoping Sister wouldn’t return, but alas, return she did, with crooked wimple, beet red face, exclaiming “The little brat kicked me!” Yikes! At least that’s how I remember my first day of school. (P.S.–The “little brat” spent first grade in public school)
Steve: I would rate my feelings toward the first day of school as neutral, leaning towards negative. It was the best school day of the year other than maybe the last day, or maybe the day before Christmas break, or some random day like Acceptance Day or Purple Gold Day. It was the end of summer, which was heartbreaking, but you couldn’t help but be excited for the first day. What will your new teachers be like? What will the girls look like? You got brand new clothes for at least the first three days and the workload will be light. The first day of school is great.
But, sadly, the first day of school passes, and soon it’s like you never left. As a kid I unfortunately regarded school as a punishment rather than the gift that it was. But I still don’t see how you’re going to convince a 9-13 year-old otherwise (that’s the age group I’m thinking of because the summers before you were expected to have a job were the best). When you spend your summers out in the woods biking, fishing, rope-swinging, catching frogs, vacations down the shore boogie boarding, eating ice cream, catching crabs, and suddenly you’re stuffed in a classroom and forced to learn…I think I’ve explained enough why my feelings lean toward negative.
Colleen: Believe it or not I’m pretty sure the only “first day” of school I can actually remember might have been my first day of school ever. I have a vague memory of being upset because my mom left, and a boy came over and showed me a book to help make me feel better, and it worked. I honestly think I might have been 3 years old, so I guess it really goes to show a little kindness goes a long way!
And a personal funny memory of a first day of school – one of our neighbors had an exchange student from Spain. However, just before school started the neighbor went into the hospital and needed emergency surgery. So, I had to be become the exchange student’s “parent” for a few days. This included the first day of school and helping the student to ride the school bus. I took my newfound temporary responsibility very seriously. So, after the high school student boarded the bus I actually followed the bus to the school to make sure he was okay, hoping not to be seen, the whole time laughing to myself.
Theresa (not pictured): One of my sons wasn’t thrilled about going to school. When he came home on his first day of school, I told him I bet he had fun and that I missed him. He didn’t even answer me. On the morning of the second day of school he told me “Mom, I won’t go to school…. You’ll miss me too much and I’ll worry about you.”
Hartley: I had to call my mom regarding this. My memories are mostly me being nervous, but she recalls me being excited — I always liked school. However, she agreed with my recollection of being nervous for college. I must have blocked this out, but the first college I attended was in the middle of Massachusetts, and it was really close to where my aunt, uncle, and their kids live, so my mom planned on my family staying there the night before move-in day. But apparently I was so nervous I made us stay at a hotel down the street from their house so I could, I don’t know, lay my clothes out the night before and be assured that no little kids messed with them? Like I said, I must have blocked it out. Too nervous.
What are your memories from the first day of school? Any good stories your kids brought home? Let’s talk! PS. Check out some first day of school pictures below!
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