Mommy’s Piggy Tales: Fifth Grade

Once again, it was time for my sister and me to share a classroom. Fourth and fifth grades were combined. Not only that, but I had the same teacher in fifth grade that I had had in fourth grade. Fortunately for me, I liked him. Going to such a small school meant that my classroom teacher taught everything: art, music, physical education, and all the academic areas as well. This year, the fourth and fifth grades had a spring concert. We sang groovy songs such as “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song.” Slow down, you move too fast… I learned how to pluck out a few notes on the bass and I played the recorder.

Music was an important part of our life. My sister and I took piano lessons from our teacher’s wife. Mom would have “opera days” where we could only sing, not talk! Dad, the pastor, would take the whole family to the nursing home to sing at the services he held there. After the service, he would encourage us to shake hands with the elderly residents, which I am embarrassed to admit that I hated. I was shy, and it was hard to go up to a stranger to shake hands, especially if that stranger was old, in a wheelchair, and not very responsive. Back then, the nursing homes we visited were not nice places to spend the last years of your life. Even as a child, I understood that this made our visits, and my father’s ministering, a very important task.

Being part of the pastor’s family in a small town also meant that we were invited to every baptism and every wedding. It seems like I went to hundreds of weddings when I was young. My sister and I had a box full of wedding napkins, printed with the names of the bride and groom, that we had collected. Weddings were not as fancy as they are now. Often the reception was in the gym at our school, otherwise known as the parish hall. Silver tarps were laid on the floor to protect the wood. Ham sandwiches, potato salad and butter mints were served.
Other weddings were held at the VFW hall, especially if there was going to be dancing. A large military airplane with a hole in the windshield was outside the hall, and we kids would tell stories about how the pilot was still in the airplane!

Life in a small town was good. And it was about to change.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting many pictures of my childhood. Most of my childhood pictures are at my father’s house, which is 350 miles away from where I live!

Janna of Mommy’s Piggy Tales began a project to share our youth with our children. Every Thursday, I will tell a story about my childhood as if I were telling it to my children. At the end of this project, I’ll have a collection of stories about my childhood for my children to keep, and hopefully treasure.

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10 Replies to “Mommy’s Piggy Tales: Fifth Grade”

  1. Oh…I just burst out laughing….go look at what my post is called this week and the video that I put on it!!!!!!This is just a precious post. My sister had a class that was half one grade and half the others…I got to be in the full class of six graders.I love the stories of being a PK…and life in a small city.So enjoyed!!!!!!!!!

  2. You're such a great writer I haven't even missed the pictures – your descriptions are great!

  3. I had never been in a nursing home until I was in my teens. Our youth group went to visit with them once or twice. I went because I knew I should, but I too hated it there! I could hardly stand the smell, it grossed me out and I was always happy to be back outside in the fresh air afterward. I always felt so awkward too, I never knew what to say or do!Well thank you for sharing your sweet memories with us!

  4. Your word pictures are perfect! I don't have any pictures of this time of my life either. Don't feel bad! Don't you love the random memories of childhood that we have? I love the stories of the man in the plane being shot! (well, not really the man being shot as much as the stories that kids make up!)

  5. You may not have pictures, but you sure paint your posts pretty. I can really visualize what you're saying!

  6. I was in a 4th/5th split too – got to be with my best friend.I had to smile because I also wrote about music for my 5th grade year.Loved your story!

  7. I am really loving your Piggy Tales stories, you do paint very vivid pictures! And now I am singing "Slow down, you move too fast", We sang that in school all the time!

  8. I love that you guys had an opera day. How fun is that. I might have to borrow the idea, I love to sing (badly, since I cannot carry a tune). Have I mentioned how cool it is that you're bringing us in to your childhood? "You got to make the morning last…" Be singing that one in my sleep. 😉

  9. Our class was 37 pupils: just for one year, so we never shared! I remember having to make Christmas ornaments for the local old people's home every December and before the end of the school year we would have a sports day with a local school for mentally disabled children.

  10. Opera day. Oh, that sounds so fun! And I love this post concept – I have been a bad blog reader lately, and so missed the earlier ones. Lovely. Nice hook at the end too – can't wait to come back and find out HOW small-town life changes!

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