Friday, January 21, 2011

AND NOW HE GOES TO SCHOOL, part 2; by Ada Campbell

Eleven o'clock now. I put the potatoes in to bake, and wondered what to do next. Mending? No, that was too poky. Neither did I care to finish up my ironing. I looked outdoors. It was a glorious day; I might as well start now and walk slowly over to school. It seemed a bit foolish, going so early, but I could wait on the stone wall across the street.

It was good to be outdoors—the house had been so quiet all morning. Almost there, I caught sight of the stone wall. There in the warm September sunshine sat three other mothers ahead of me!

When it was almost noon, a late comer dropped down next to me. “You have a youngster starting in today?” she asked.

I talked about Sandy. Then she told me that Geraldine, who also began today, was her sixth child. “And I don't know what's got into the kid that I had to bring her here today and come after her. She wouldn't run along with the other children at all. That's what comes of spoiling the baby! I told her I'd come this one day; but I've got too much to do to traipse after that young one very long. It's a blessing when they get old enough to be off to school,” she said. “Then you can really get something done at home.”

At this point my earlier acquaintance, Margaret's mother, motioned across the street. The children were coming out; at least our first graders were. They were shrieking with joy! Sandy rushed across the street, bringing me a paper. On it there was drawn a round swirl of orange crayon. It's a ball, mother—we drew balls! And we had a good time!”

In a week I had myself disciplined to the extent of letting Sandy make the school trips by himself. The first day, I glued myself to the window and watched. From twelve o'clock until ten minutes after was a long time, but finally Sandy came running. He was pleased with himself.

And then be began to learn things! Important things. That he must put on his own rubbers, for example. How to play a game with twenty other children, and not take the center of the stage for himself. When to speak up, and sometimes to keep still. These were the things my Sandy needed to know, because he has to live in a world full of people and this is the time for him to learn about them.