Thursday, July 11, 2013

Elementary Schools

Ranchvale Elementary School
I actually attended two elementary schools, the first was Ranchvale Elementary out in the sticks north of Cannon AFB.  I attended first and second grades there and remember it for lots of reasons.  The first is that it was a self segregated school, not black and white as you might imagine, but Country and Base.  There were the country kids and the base kids, and we stuck to our own kind.  For some reason the Country kids were given higher status.  It could be that they and their parents were not moving away anytime soon, and the faculty kept that in mind, it could have been that they had more money, it could have been blow back from the whole anti military climate of the time, but for the kids it boiled down to one thing, they had horses and got to ride them, and we didn't.  We base kids felt like the red haired step children because we weren't from around there...The irony for me years later is that "Yes, yes I was from around there, my Mom was from Amarillo, not 100 miles from Ranchvale Elementary School, and while my Dad was in the Air Force he was every bit the country kid that they were, horse included.    It was several years too late by the time I connected the dots.  But other cool things happened regarding Rannchvale.  The seeds for the first episode were sown in my first grade class when I sat in Lona Starky's room.  She would later remarry Dwight Waldo and change her name accordingly.  That is how I met her the second time years later when Steve and I got married and moved into the Waldos  fourplex apartments and she became our "landlordess"  We have maintained our friendship over the years and I just saw her a few days ago.  I also have had a friendship over the years with Susan Brockmier who had become the principal of Ranchvale Elementary and I had the supremely weird privilege of helping her paint and decorate her office at my old school.  Weird because I was back as an adult in a school I had not been in since 1974, and in the principals office on equal footing with the principal herself....yup, weird.
Sandia Elementary School
     The Elementary school I spent the bulk of my time was Sandia Elementary.  It was a one story building about 7 blocks from my house.  I remember when we moved to the neighborhood Mom driving us along the route in our new black Buick Regal and pointing out street names and landmarks so we could find our way home.  There was a big playground with swings and monkey bars and the forbidden "wall" and "Tower"  The wall was a large undulating ladder made out of welded steel rods about 4 yards long and 8 or 9 feet high.  It was hard to climb because of the undulations, and not all that much fun.  The tower on the other hand was just that. A good 15 feet up in the air with a chain ladder on either side and a welded railing surrounding the platform.  We were expressly forbidden to play on these two pieces of equipment during school, but that did not stop us from getting our fill of them both  during the summer or in the evening when everyone had left the school for the day.  I often wondered why they would install such tantalizing structures and then forbid us access to them.
     Inside the school was a paved courtyard called the patio.  After lunch we were corralled in the patio before going to our classrooms and we would hover around the edges to stay in the shade, the boys on one side and the girls on the other.  It was in the patio that I did my stint as a "Jump Rope" monitor in the sixth grade.  I handed out ropes to the younger kids, helped them jump rope and then made sure the ropes got put away at the end of P.E.  It earned me a "Principals award for leadership" which I still have to this day, somewhere...
   Corporal punishment was still practiced in my school and I got swats a couple of times, both for talking.  Seems a little extreme now that I think about it, but I had been warned.  In Mrs Anderson's 4th grade class if she had to get on to you for bad behavior your name got written on the board.  If she called you out again you got a mark by your name.  Three marks before the week was out meant you had to stay behind on Friday and get swats on your butt with a big wooden paddle.  Nobody wanted to get into Mr. Simpson's 6th grade class.  As the only male teacher in the school it was known that his paddling was the worst of them all. 

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