It has been a long week. Even though this first week is only three days, as we start the Wednesday after Labor Day, it seems like it has lasted forever. I am not used to sitting at a desk for hour after hour. However, I do like Friday mornings as this is our day for assembly. All the grades from Primary through the fifth grade will file in to our room, right after the Pledge of Allegiance. Mrs. Lurvey will discuss a few items she has marked down through the week and then the fun will begin.
Today the music teacher comes. She travels from school to school and brings her talent with her. I think this must be a real challenge as the piano is old and some of the keys are chipped. We have the American Song Book handed to us and we are allowed to raise our hand and ask for a special song to sing. I don’t raise my hand as I like them all. However, once in awhile I get nervous as I am not used to Mrs. Lurvey yet and I haven’t discovered where she keeps the strap I’ve heard about for years. One of the bigger boys always raises his hands and requests “Tavern in the Town”. I bet we sound like a bunch of people in a tavern because the bigger boys really sing loud on the chorus, but the worst part is they substitute their own words for some of the words in the chorus. They hold their books in front of their faces and when it comes to “do not let our parting grieve thee”, well you just know what word they substitute and I look at Mrs. Lurvey to see if she has heard them. Her face looks the same, so I guess she has heard it all and nothing much bothers her, as long as everyone is singing.
Sometimes the boys and girls sing separately. The girls sing the part that says, “Rueben, Rueben I’ve been thinking” and we go through the chorus and then the boys sing back “Rachael, Rachael, I’ve been thinking” and of course, they sing as loud as they can to make as much noise as possible.If I dared raise my hand, I would request “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” because that is a pretty song, but I will go along with “Old Black Joe” and “Swanee River.”
All this time, the music teacher has her back to us and only responds to requests by turning the pages of the song book. I wonder if she enjoys coming to our school as she says very little and I notice when the singing is done, she sweeps her songbook into a black bag, gives every teacher a brief smile and out the door she goes. She probably is thanking God she made it through another session.
This is the first time I have been at assembly and stayed right here in the big room when it was over. I look at the lower grades and remember how nervous I used to be when I had to march in here! Last year it seemed so simple. I was a Junior Crossing Guard and wore a white band across my shoulder that came to hook on the white band around my waist. I got out a little earlier at the closing of school to help the town kids cross the busy Route 26. Last year when school came to a close, we walked single file to Terrill’s store along Route 26 and each of us got a Dixie cup with a movie star’s picture in the cover to celebrate. I think those days are gone forever.
However, I am no stranger to my new teacher. Mrs. Lurvey came into the middle room to teach writing last year. I sat in the front seat of the row and had my ink bottle in the little hole and that long dreaded pointed straight pen. I hated that day. I got so tired of making little ovals on a line and she kept walking up and down the aisle and always pointed out to me that my ovals were not even. Well, of course they weren’t even. I couldn’t see what ovals and letters had to do with each other and besides that ink dripped everywhere. My writing class always ended the same way. She always stood in front of me, pointed at my ink covered hands and wrists and with a flourish, pointed in the direction of the hall fountain and basin, all the while shaking her head.
So here I sit in the big room, wishing I were sitting on a rock at Twitchell Pond with a fish pole. But I am not and as I look at Mrs. Lurvey, I know she is not the kind of teacher who forgets a thing. As I said, it may be a very loooong year.