Friday, February 18, 2022

Grades Five through Nine

My entire group of classmates from the small elementary school went to the Junior High School, along with youngsters from several other areas. It was a real awakening for some of us. You see, many of the kids from my area were Irish and Italian. Some from other areas were of various ethnicities such as German, French, Polish and Jewish and there were also many colored kids. Yes, we called them colored in those days. What a blend of races and colors then came together and we very easily learned about each other. One thing I remember today is that there weren't any Hispanic, Chinese or Asian kids in the mix. The diversity also included kids of very low income to very wealthy families. I definitely remember that it didn't matter who you were, where you came from, what you had or didn't have, what mattered was the fun and learning experience. The learning was not just about school subjects either. It was acceptance of our differences and respect for each other. BUT! This school was different! WE had fun - all of us - together. The teachers were exceptionally tuned in to our age group and what we needed. As we progressed from 5th grade to 9th grade we were definitely prepared for the real high school wake up. There we each went in different directions but the mold was formed. We were well prepared. More ethnic groups and nationalities joined us in 10th, 11th, and 12 grades. Times were different then. It was a multi-ethnic and multi-racial high school in a good way.

In this Junior High School there were opportunities for wood shop, art, dance, orchestra, band, chorus, volleyball, track, debate, and so many clubs that were open to everyone as "electives." We had gymnastics. (Open showers too!) Home economics was a favorite for boys and girls. The school had several authentic working kitchens for that class so we could work in small groups. We actually learned how to prepare meals and then set tables properly and eat what we made! The first thing we all did in sewing was to create our aprons - on the many treadle machines. That taught us to measure, cut, and sew. The health classes were divided - girls learned about puberty and our bodies with posters being flipped by the gym teacher (instructor) but we only learned about the female things. The boys had similar classes that pertained only to the male. Compared to today it really is laughable now, remembering those flip charts!

Well, I'll let you go with the above thought. I sure could write a book of experiences in that school!  It was SPECIAL and really formed me.

Lifelong Friends Joan & Gere - 1952


  1. It sounds as if you had a PERFECT school experience. Wonderful!!!!!

    Thank you for sharing these memories...

    Gentle hugs,
    🌸 🌸 🌸 🌸

  2. Very nice read! Sound like you had a great time! Very nice photo also!

  3. Oh my gosh...I remember those gym suits. What nightmare fashion!!
    We had Hispanic and black. Then, high school was more diverse...even Pakistani siblings!!

  4. So, is it actually Gere? You and your friend are so darn cute in your gym suits. I enjoyed this post so much.

  5. Good for you that you enjoyed your experiences