I was digging through some boxes of old papers and photos in the basement looking for a particular item when I stumbled across my class pictures from my first few years of school in Denver. For all you readers who are younger than dirt, way back in the day, schools had Picture Day where they took the individual student photos like they still do today, then at some point in the year there would also be Class Picture Day, where they would call each class to the cafeteria one at a time, place us on risers and take a picture. I don't have any class pictures after the Denver years. I'm not sure if they didn't do this in the south, or if my parents just didn't bother buying the photos.
Here's my Kindergarten class from Shaw Heights Elementary School in Denver.
I had a red plaid dress with a white collar that I always wore with red tights. For years I looked at this picture and thought that was me all the way on the left in the front row. Then one day I really looked at the people in the photo and realized I was wearing a light blue dress that day and sitting on the second row, second from the right. That little girl on the first row could be my twin, though.
Here's my first grade photo from Juchem (pronounced Yo'-kum) Elementary School.
Okay, now I get why I was so confused! That's me in the red plaid dress with the white collar and the red tights, on end of the first row. I was undoubtedly sick. I spent a lot of time in hospitals throughout my elementary school years and that's my "I'm not feeling so good" look. I had three teachers I thought were beautiful, and Mrs. Hasty was one of them.
We moved a lot because of my dad's job. I went to 11 schools, and by first grade I'd already made my first school transfer. I was lucky enough to be able to stay at Juchem Elementary School all the way through first and second grade.
I was feeling better for my second grade picture. I'm at the right end of the first row, wearing the pink dress and sweater. I loved that dress! My mom made it for me; one of the few dresses I had as a child that wasn't a hand-me-down from my older sister. The dress was a darkish pink and Mom added a heart-shaped pocket out of pink and white striped fabric. Then she made a pinafore out of the striped fabric. It buttoned in the back and had slits in the side to thread the ties on the dress through. I still have that dress in a box somewhere. My little sister wore it and my daughter wore it.
At some point during third grade we moved to Montbello, a suburb of Denver. My first third-grade teacher didn't like me for some reason. She was one of those teachers who had her pets that she was nice to, and to everyone else she was as mean as a snake. She actually had big floor pillows that she let her favorite students sit on and she gave them candy and let them eat it in front of the rest of the class. She was particularly mean to me and I was the least offensive child ever, so I can only guess my mom had butted heads with her. When I transferred to Montbello Elementary School, my new teacher, Miss Walton, was so beautiful and so nice - I loved her! I remember she taught us The 57th Street Bridge Song
by Simon and Garfunkle and whenever the day started dragging, she'd have us all singing, "...feeling groovy!"
Miss Walton was Mrs. Johnson by the time we left Montbello and moved to Texas when I was in 4th grade. (My Texas 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Rogers, was the third beautiful teacher I had.)
What I love about this picture is that I'm standing next to my best friend, Heidi Vieregge, right smack in the middle of the picture, and neither of us had told our parents it was class picture day because we wanted to wear our favorite dresses. As you can tell, we were not girly girls. In fact, if it had been allowed back then I'm sure we both would have been wearing blue jeans and tee-shirts, but it would be a couple more years before girls could wear pants to school (and even then it had to be a pantsuit). Heidi's favorite outfit was a comfortable, faded play dress. My favorite was a purple corduroy jumper that I loved to wear with a red shirt and red knee socks. Has there ever been a child who didn't think at some point in their life that red and purple was the most wonderful color combination possible? I love that the photographer didn't try to hide us two ragamuffins in the back of the class. My mom was not happy that I "forgot" to tell her about picture day!
I think out of all the teachers I had at Shaw Heights, Juchem, Montbello, Schanen and Sanders Elementary Schools, Miss Walton was my favorite. She made such a happy classroom environment that I smile whenever I think of her.
Who was your favorite elementary school teacher?