Breland: School nurse brings back old memories

Published 10:38 am Friday, August 20, 2021

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It is strange that back-to-school and hurricanes seem to come at about the same time of year. Both are big activity events. Going after school supplies, uniforms that fit and getting haircuts! There is also shopping for supplies needed for a possible storm.

Going to school puts me way back into a very happy past. Looking for possible hurricanes makes for a sad adventure now!

For us, school supplies were provided by the state, so there were no buying sprees ahead of time. No uniforms; we wore our regular clothes. Girls wore dresses and boys wore pants and shirts.

Like many who are now my age, at age 6 we went to first grade and that was our first time in school. No kindergarten at that time; it came along in later years.

I looked forward to school and was not disappointed. Lots of children were very afraid of school because they were only used to being at home. It was a different time and place for me … a dream come true. However, I was not crazy about my mother leaving me there with all these people I did not know, both pupils and their mothers.

It wasn’t many days until things were pretty normal. There were always 30 to 32 children in each class, with no aides as assistants. Teachers seemed to have no problem teaching so many students at once. I look back at all the wonderful teachers I studied under during my school years.

One teacher in either first or second grade had a little house inside her room and the students could play there. I was not in that class and always envied them.

Elementary girls looked forward to recess to play hopscotch on the school sidewalks. Boys played their own games, such as marbles. I played marbles at home with my brother, but never at school with the boys. That was not allowed.

World War II was still ongoing, and many things we find now, were not available then. The country was suffering from the effects of war and many mothers went to work. That was the beginning of a new way of life.

In the sixth grade a band was started at the school and I was able to learn to play the trumpet. Instruments were rented from the school and we paid five dollars for rental on the trumpet for the year.

We had tryouts for places to sit in the band. The better we played, the farther up our seat. I was always last in the row. One day during tryouts, the band director looked at my horn and said, “No wonder your playing is not good. You have a spit valve that is open.”

He wrapped it shut with a rubber band. I moved up three seats and felt so much better about my playing. We watched movies in the auditorium at special times during the year and plays were held regularly. I took “Expression” classes from Mrs. Hallie Love.

Those were very simple school times. If you got in trouble, either the teacher or the principal would give you a spanking. There was good order.

Children and parents are so different today. Now most little ones have been going to daycare while mother works, before they go to pre-kindergarten. They learn about school so early. Spankings have been out of order for quite a while.

This year is certainly sad with the viruses continuing. Some students are in school and others home schooled. Parents hardly know what to do.

The only thing we dreaded about school was seeing the school nurse coming into the building. Oh horror! We prayed we didn’t need a shot, but often we did … and we got it! We grew up healthy with good remembrances of school.

Bob Ann Breland can be reached by email at