Life Replays: Remembering 2nd Grade

Last night I attended Open House at Issa’s school. She began second grade, Tuesday. My second-grade year began 32 years ago at North Hill Elementary, which is in the Rochester Community Schools District and to the west of where I currently reside.

What has me recalling those days when I was nearly eight? Issa’s teacher asked parents to recall and share two different memories — favorite subject and favorite memory– from second grade. We didn’t have to speak in front of a classroom full of peer parents. Whew! But, we did write these memories — in marker —  on big, yellow sheets of paper plastered to dry-erase boards at the front of the classroom. So, the teacher has us all on record.

Fave Subject in 2nd Grade

Remember that shopping mall scene in A Christmas Story? Ralphie waits in Santa’s lap line for hours. He wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas; and Santa is his go-to-man for making his dream reality. When it’s his turn, his mind goes blank. This happened to me as I approached one of the big, yellow sheet on the dry-erase board. I settled on a subject and and stepped forward to write. Then, I froze. What was my favorite subject in 2nd grade? That was ions ago. It certainly wasn’t math. Yuck! Science bored me. The pressure was on to remember. I had to write something. So, like Ralphie, I went with the first subject that came to mind; spelling. I was and am a strong speller. But, my fave subject was and is writing.

Fave Memory

This one was easier to recall and share. In fact, I was delighted to admit my fave memory is one Issa will appreciate and relate to. My favorite memory was taking an afternoon field trip in the spring to a pond at a church that neighbored my school. I attended this church growing up. Our mission that day was to catch toads, frogs, salamanders or any other creature that resided in the pond. So, there we were with nets, buckets and other items necessary for making successful captures. We were going to take our finds back to the classroom for further study and examination. Science is Issa’s favorite subject; and she very much enjoys learning all she can about amphibians, reptiles and insects. We are regulars at several local nature centers and at our neighborhood pond.

Check this out. Two years ago, a former second-grade classmate shared our class composite on Facebook. Now, I am sharing it with you. Can you guess which one is me?

kateschannel -- Kate -- Aug. 27

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Well, here I am. The first day of school year 2011-2012 is done. It is history. Issa made it her bus stop, school and classroom on time. The morning was absent of the usual household drama about eating breakfast, getting dressed, finding shoes, or loading the backpack.

How do you feel as a new school year begins? I feel excitement, hope, motivation, apprehension and wistfulness. These emotions are similar to those I feel when a new calendar year begins. The only difference is those I am experiencing this morning are not induced by too much champagne.

Excitement. I woke without the aid of an alarm, downed two venti-size cups of coffee and showered all before 6:o0 am. This prompt, orderly, readiness for each school day will fade in about six weeks and will be replaced with missed alarms, cold coffee and sporadic showering.

Hope. Beginnings such as a new school or calendar year are all about opportunities and possibilities. All missteps, grievances, grudges, bad report cards, teacher notes and calls from school are all forgotten or put aside. Each student — including my own — are on equal footing today. Anything is possible. The same is true as new calendar years begin. I am a positive-thinker. I envision success. As the school and calendar year continues, my hope does not fade. It is constant and it is forever.

Motivation. When I enter a new situation — such as a new school year — my energy level kicks up a notch. Ambition propels me to volunteer in the classroom, host play dates, cook fabulous dinners, and sign up for after-school enrichment classes. As the freshness of each school year fades, I lapse into a more comfortable rhythm. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t succumb to laziness, serve Twinkies for dinner, slip up on deadlines or let others down. But, I think less about impressing others; and set goals that are more realistic for myself and my family.

Apprehension. The word “new” says it all. New school year, new teacher, new schedules, new friends, new lessons, etc., etc. There are feelings of unease because so much is unknown. I am unfamiliar with Issa’s teacher and schedule; and I am unsure of how Issa will respond to challenges and pressures this academic year.

Wistfulness. Time flies. As it does, my children and I continue to mature. We live, have invaluable experiences, and learn. While I would not hinder progress, I sometimes wish for power to push a slow-motion or freeze-frame button on select life scenes. Every moment experienced with my children is unique and unrepeatable. The first day of the 2011-2012 is done and over with. It is history.