Friday, January 18, 2013

3rd Grade in Kansas

We traveled a great deal in my elementary years.  My father's job with Standard Oil of Indiana looking for oil strikes demanded the moves.   We pretty much were in Kansas for the earlier elementary years - moving to Nebraska in my 4th grade year.

Frankly I am confused about where and when we lived in certain towns during those years.   I do know that my Kindergarten year was spent in Dodge City (see more in the future).  And we returned to Dodge sometime after that for a while.  Little brother Pat was still a baby on a bottle when we returned to Dodge, so it must have been sometime in 1948 -49.  I do know it was summer.   In between/or before our return/and after for that matter, we parked our bones in Syracuse, KS and Meade, KS.  Pat was born while we were living in Meade – but a few miles away at the hospital in Fowler, KS.  I guess mom had had enough of birthing at home.
In Syracuse – my 3rd grade year – we went to school at the local elementary.  I remember NOTHING about that year really – a few points follow.  My mom’s story was that I could print so beautifully that the teacher did not want to teach me to write – cursive.  So I didn’t.  Does that story sound somewhat phony to you?  Me too.  Mothers will be Mothers, and that is what she told me.
I was in the high school band during my 3rd grade year.  Band met in the gym under one of the baskets – the “conductor” stood beneath the basket and we rehearsed.  Brother Jim was in this band too as a 4th grader.  I can only guess the quality of the organization if  3rd and a 4th grade cornet players were included on the roll.  My 3rd grade teacher would release me to walk to the gym for rehearsal.  I’m sure it was a quality rehearsal with all the bells and whistles.
There was no air conditioning in the gym.  C’mon folks this was about 1949 or 50.  It was hot in the gym.   One of my fondest memories was sitting on the back row of that band with other cornet players.  I learned so much from them.  You want an example?  I can remember on more than one occasion, while the director was doing something else since the cornets were so fine that we needed little extra attention, the older boys taught me a trick.  You lay your hands on your lap, palms up – close together.   Now spit on each hand and wait.  Eventually a fly will roost on the spit and  WHAMMO!! You slam your palms together to kill the fly.  They were quite good at that while I lacked certain coordination.  As you know I never was much of an athlete.  Band was good.
Sometime during our stay in Syracuse, the band marched in a parade.  I can see the parade route in my fertile mind.  It started in front of the school on top of a hill and went straight down to the city center.  The band lined up to march – it was very nice weather – perhaps Christmas or Homecoming, who can remember that much.  The band lined up to march.  The director had me go stand on the curb as the band marched off down the street.  I stood there with my King cornet, full regalia uniform and watched them fade into the distance.
If I had any pride or brains….I would have dropped out of band that very day.  Jim, the 4th grader, marched down the street.  I bet he was really cute.  He had a Reynolds cornet.  I stood and waited.  If there were a climax to this adventure, that has faded.  We moved in time to start the 4th grade in Nebraska (that stone will come later). 

more will follow, night.

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