The transition from kindergarten to first grade was a big change, but I do not remember being particularly intimidated by it. It was time to learn how to read. We used the Dick and Jane books. We practiced writing using those sideways legal-sized (actually larger, I think) sheets with the dotted lines in between the solid lines and the empty area for drawing a picture. We filled in mimeographed worksheets (oh, that smell – it almost made up for missing the heavenly fragrance of liquid starch used in finger painting). We graduated from giant conical crayons (hated them) to regular crayons (more memories of pleasant fragrances). We drew pictures on cheap brownish paper and cut out shapes from construction paper.
Our teacher was Miss Christian. She was young, sweet, and to us, beautiful. We regarded her with a little bit of awe (think “Little Rascals”). I started out in the second reading group but was soon moved up into the first group. It gradually began to occur to me that I could do this “school stuff.”
Miss Christian got married over the summer; her married name sounded like “Rokay.” It was a huge piece of news to her former students. “Former students” – hah! We felt more like abandoned children who had been kicked out of their comfortable home in first grade into the more ordinary, less thrilling world of second grade.
Mrs. Lundgren was my first teacher in second grade. She was nice enough, but she did not have that special aura that Miss Christian had. She only terrified me once, and that was when she was teaching us to sing by ear and made us sing our names exactly as she sang them.
Halfway through the second grade my family moved from San Bernardino to nearby Highland and I switched schools from Davidson to Warm Springs. My new teacher was Mrs. Leeman. That year she was teaching a combination second and third grade class and I would have her again the next year for third grade. She was a very special teacher and I will write about her in a separate post.